I've been reading Harlequin romances since I was twelve, so they informed a lot of my ideas about what romance is. Here's a few things I learned in my thirty years of reading:
1. There's not always an immediate attraction, but there is an immediate emotional response. Whether positive or negative, the hero has a response to the heroine and vice versa. Maybe he loves the way the light hits her hair. Maybe she can't stand the way he holds his fork. Whatever it is, they have a response to each other from the start.
2. Opposites attract. But similarities make the romance last.
3. The road to romance is never ever smooth. There's always conflict and arguments and break-ups. But there's also making up and making love.
4. Sex is always amazing, but especially when it's between two people who have an emotional connection as well as a physical one.
5. The people in the hero's/heroine's lives can help and/or hurt the romance. And they may think they're doing one when they are really doing the opposite.
6. Anyone's life can be exciting and the subject of a story. Whether the character is a construction worker, a waitress or a billionaire, their life becomes more when romance enters the picture.
So what about you? What did you learn about romance by reading Harlequin novels?