“Damnation! You’re a little witch. You know how much I want you, have wanted you since I first saw you at the Chapel Royal all those years ago.”
Eleanor wrinkled her faintly freckled nose. “I’m not sure that’s acceptable. She might have to rethink that. There’s a taint of obsession to it, and it’s not entirely natural. You’re a good twelve years older than I am.”
“So, I was twenty and you were eight. What does it signify? I knew from the first we were fated to be together.” Lionel ran his fingers through his hair in exasperation. If an ordinary man did such a thing, it would stick up every which way, but he only succeeded in making himself look even more handsome, if that were possible.

The above scene is from my WIP, Third-Rate Romance. As you can probably tell, it’s a spoof of some of our favorite romance clichés. The Regency protagonists, Lady Eleanor and Lionel, the Duke of Cleves (who doubles as the spy The Bluejay—and isn’t he beyond irritated that The Hawk and The Falcon are already taken) are conversing as they wait to be written into another ridiculous or anatomically incorrect position.

Their poor aspiring middle-aged author (Huh? What’s that you say about a roman a clef?) is in the middle of three different books. Her characters can’t wait for her to leave her computer so they can behave, or misbehave, as they wish. Just as she has influence over them, they decide to get her out of their hair and get themselves published.

The young virgin-older rake scenario remains ever popular, despite what happened to Diana and Charles. Much was made recently over the age difference between Josie and the Earl of Mayne in Eloisa James’ perfect, pleasure-inducing Pleasure for Pleasure. Ms. James made a convincing case that fresh, tart-tongued Josie cleansed Mayne’s jaded palate. But the innocent heroine-worldly hero trope of historical romance has driven some authors to write contemporaries. The lady can have a “past” and not suffer for it.

Are you tired of that feisty-yet-untouched girl who somehow manages to disarm Satan’s disciple? What’s your favorite pairing? I still love Avon and Leonie in Heyer’s These Old Shades.