3 Favorite Paranormal Romance Themes in Science Fiction Romance
I read a lot of paranormal romance (PNR) and science fiction romance (SFR). Certain themes (some people call them tropes) in romances call to me, no matter what flavor of romance we're talking about. I bet you have your favorites, too. I grew up reading science fiction, but those familiar themes that lured me into the paranormal world. Here are 3 favorite paranormal romance themes in science fiction romance, and some recommendations.
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Theme 1: Enemies to Lovers
Enemies-to-lovers tales abound with the emotional journeys I love. This theme is closely related to the villain's redemption. In both cases, it's deliciously slow journey for the lovers to recognize their mistakes, own up to them, and do the right thing. Thank you, Jane Austen, for writing Pride and Prejudice to show us the way.
However, I'll be the first to admit this theme can become a train wreck. It's damned hard to believe people who were personally horrible to each other have suddenly discovered love. And I freely admit that I'd rather read a treatise on cockroaches than read even the first chapter of a bully romance, or even worse, the “falls in love with rapist” plot that was so popular in the 1970s.
If good enemies-to-lovers stories are your cup of tea, I recommend Anna Hackett's Return to Dark Earth. It's part of her Phoenix Adventures science fiction romance series (see the Amazon series page for the full list). You don't need to have read the rest of the series to enjoy this one, but she writes great characters and action-adventure plots around the romance.
I'll also recommend Nalini Singh's fabulous Psy-Changeling series, where she spent eleven(!) fantastic books setting up the villain she redeemed in Heart of Obsidian, book 12. It's a precious book in my collection titled “Re-read When in Need of Hope.” If you're a PNR fan who hasn't read this series, you're in for a treat. It's the perfect crossover from paranormal to science fiction romance because it has elements of both. Start with Slave to Sensation to read the whole series (here's the Amazon's series page).
Theme 2: Soul Mates
The concept of the perfect match goes by many names. For example, soul mates, or fated mates, or simply The One. They're the bread and butter of the shifter world, and commonly found in the vampire world, too. In my Ice Age Shifters PNR series, it's a compatibility and fertility indicator, rather than a biological imperative or only one in the world. Surprisingly, this concept also turns up in science fiction romances. Not in the cheesy “Mars Needs Women” kind of way, but in the wondrous way of discovering love and connection are possible with someone who isn't quite human.
If you love bread and butter (may with some sugar and cinnamon on top—nom-nom-nom!), check out S.E. Smith's Cosmos' Gateway series. It's another blend of paranormal romance and science fiction romance, and several of the stories involve alien soul mates. The series is loose enough to pick up those you like, but you get updates on previous characters if you read them in order. Start with Tink's Neverland and Hannah's Warrior. Here's the Amazon series page. They're currently free to read in Kindle Unlimited.
The incomparable Susan Grant has a two-book series in the shared “Intergalactic Dating Agency” universe that involves fated mates. Hawk: Sky Mates (book 1) has alien mates, plus a delicious dollop of forbidden romance. The hero's home planet absolutely forbids the match. Falcon: Sky Mates (book 2) also has alien mates, but this time, the home planet wants this hero to bring home his mate no matter what.
Theme 3: Family of Choice
My all-time favorite, go-to comfort read. I believe most readers can relate this one. When home is the worst possible place for a person to thrive, they leave. If they're lucky, they find new people to create their own support network of friends and lovers who provide for each other what the original home couldn't.
Author pal Susan Hayes' smokin' hot The Drift series is all about finding your not-lonely place in the universe, and finding love with one (or several) of the people in your new world. Underneath the romance, the characters grapple with the responsibilities of freedom and family and fight to uncover the secrets of their origins. Start with Double Down and All In. Here's the Amazon series page for all 10 books. And if you like those, Susan has started a new spinoff series, Haven Colony, with Her Alien Mates, which is on my TBR.
Author pal Cynthia Sax's Cyborg Sizzle series is the search for family on a grand scale. Humans create cyborgs to fight wars, then treated them as disposable commodities. Unsurprisingly, rebellion is the first order of the day, but it starts with finding like-minded cyborgs and ordinary humans who love them. Releasing Rage and Breathing Vapor start this often funny and very sexy nine-book series, and introduces the various cyborg models. Here's the Amazon series page for all nine books.
I know not everyone is on Facebook, but if you are, check out the “Sci-Fi and Fantasy Romance” group. Members are about 50/50 readers and authors, and well moderated so it's actual discussions and recommendations. It's like walking into a science fiction and fantasy romance club, as opposed to being assaulted by bright, flashing lights and vendors shouting at you. It's a great place to ask for recommendations for your own favorite themes. Here's the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1433523283574154/