When reading romance, I tend to stick to historicals and paranormals, with a handful of contemporaries thrown in for a dose of "reality". Generally speaking, though, I've never been much of a fan of romantic suspense or contemporary westerns, and I'm not sure exactly why. I mean, I love mysteries and thrillers, so romantic suspense should be a natural fit. And, I quite enjoy historical romances about cowboys and the open range, so why would moving those things to a contemporary setting cause me to shy away? I really don't know the answer. I do know, however, that I recently completed two trilogies that may make me take a second look at more titles I might otherwise have given a pass.
The first of the two trilogies is R. C. Ryan's Montana novels: Montana Legacy, Montana Destiny, and Montana Glory. Although the three love stories were good and strong, the books also had additional elements that made me want to keep reading. Because, really, there are a lot of good love stories out there, most of which don't wear cowboy boots. The primary thing that made me keep reading beyond the first book was the cast of supporting characters and what I hoped would be a secondary romantic plot thread that wove between the three novels. I appreciate a good will-they/won't-they plotline, but with romance novels being bound to the HEA ending for the hero and heroine, I have to hope for a B plotline that allows for a little more doubt and mystery, and I certainly got that here. I also liked the fact that, rather than just relying on the fact that our three heroes were cousins in order to justify the writing of a trilogy, Ms. Ryan also provided the reader with a story arc that spanned the entire trilogy, as well. And, it was a story about a lost treasure, which made the little kid in me dance with joy.
The second trilogy is Roxanne St. Claire's Guardian Angelinos romantic suspense trilogy. And, while I enjoyed it quite a bit and really liked the characters ? both central and supporting ? I occasionally found the plots a little over the top, especially that of the second book, Shiver of Fear. Overall, I think the first in the trilogy, Edge of Sight, was my favorite, but the heroine of the final book, Face of Danger, was probably my favorite character throughout the three books. St. Claire, too, is an author who creates supporting characters who, while interesting in their own rights and often vital to the plot, never cross the line and hijack the story from the hero and heroine. I probably won't be picking up a lot of romantic suspense when I'm looking for a mystery or thriller, but when I want a romance where there's a chance for gun play and a possibility that things might literally blow up, I now know there's some good stuff out there.
Thanks to both Ms. Ryan and Ms. St. Claire for helping me to expand my reading horizons. The only downside is that now I'm never, ever going to read everything I want to in one lifetime.