There are some things which are guarantees in a romance novel, and if the reader doesn't get them she (or he!) will feel cheated. Naturally a happily-ever-after is expected, along with a believable emotional conflict, a satisfying climax and resolution, and characters you can root for.
Then, depending on the genre of novel, there might be other expectations; the 'Presents Promise', for example, guarantees sizzling passion, lots of emotional intensity, and plenty of glamor and luxury.
I love writing for Harlequin Presents, and I try hard to fulfill the Presents Promise in every book–but at the same time I like to challenge myself to push in different directions, to think outside the box, and to bring in themes or elements that might not be in every romance.
The Darkest of Secrets contains what some might believe is a 'taboo' in romance, or at least something you don't read about very often. I won't give away what it is, but my heroine Grace Turner has a dark secret in her past, hence the title! And while my hero Khalis Tannous is swept away by her from the beginning, his emotional journey involves coming to terms with the woman he put on a pedestal… and realizing she doesn't belong there. As for Grace, she must learn to forgive herself before she seeks anyone else's forgiveness.
What do you think about taboos in romance? Is there any issue or plot element that is a deal breaker for you as a reader, or do you like books to push the boundaries a little? Sometimes it depends on my mood–occasionally I like a comfort read with no surprises and
at other times I like to be a little more adventurous.
Let me know what you think, and I will give away two copies of The Darkest of Secrets to two random commenters.
Update: The giveaway is now closed. Please check the comments to see if you're a winner! ~Amy