Author Lauren Layne knows a thing or two about writing the perfect romance (just look at her popular Wedding Belles series for proof!). Want to know the insiders’ trick to all romances? Read on to find out! Lauren’s next book, TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH, is now available from Pocket Books! 


The romance genre gets a lot of crap from “non-believers” for being formulaic. You know what I say to that? Bring it. Bring on the formula!

Because there is a formula. It goes like this: all romance novels will have a happy ending, and you will, therefore, feel really happy after reading one. If you think that’s a bad thing, I confess you’re totally NOT going to be on my cocktail party invite list.  But anyway, I digress. There’s another element to the formula of romance novels that is absolutely wonderful, and we in the “biz” call them tropes. They’re those common plot threads/elements you see over and over in the genre, and instead of calling them formulaic or unoriginal, let’s call them what they really are: Book Crack. Magic. Everything-good-in-the-world.

You’ve got your classic tropes: Boss/Secretary. Best friends to Lovers. Older Brother’s best friend. Second-Chance. You’ve got your old-school tropes. I’m thinking specifically of amnesia stories. Why oh why did those go out of style? Screw medical science, bring back amnesia stories! Or snowbound stories! Damn the cell phones for pushing those out of style and making them “unrealistic.”

You get where I’m going with this, right? We all have our favorite tropes. That type of romance that you buy no matter how many other versions of that story you have on your Kindle. The trope I’ve been glomming on lately? Unrequited Love. Also known as the “I’ve Loved You For Years” storyline. For me, no other type of romance has the heart-in-your-throat longing of a story about a hero who’s loved the heroine all along and kept it buried deep inside for some deliciously angsty-reason.

Now, honestly? It’s tricky to get right. If the hero’s too intense, we enter stalker territory. Too desperate and he looks pathetic. Have him wait on the sidelines TOO long, and readers will write him off as passive. But when done right … oh baby. There are no butterflies like the unrequited butterflies!

The following are my top 5 of romances where the author gets the Unrequited Love story exactly right:

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Someone to Watch Over Me by Judith McNaught
Judith McNaught is the queen of romance in my books. Nobody does it like her. But when I first started Someone To Watch Over Me, I was positive it wasn’t going to be one of my favorites—more suspense than romance. Oh I had little faith. I don’t want to say such more for fear of being spoilery, but I dare you to read this and not swoon.

scandal in spring

Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
I love all things Lisa Kleypas, but her Wallflower series is my favorite. For some reason, I was prepared to like Scandal in Spring the least, but she surprised me in the best way possible. This is one of those books where you close it knowing that the hero/heroine where you close the book knowing there is no WAY those characters were ever meant for anyone but each other.

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To Love and to Cherish by Lauren Layne
whistles innocently Oh, look! Somehow my new release made it on the list?! Yes, okay, fine. I love unrequited love stories so much that I had to write one. Logan’s been in love with Alexis since the first time he saw her, and there’s nothing sexier than a man with a plan …

to wed a wicked earl

To Wed a Wicked Earl by Olivia Parker
Another one for my fellow Regency fans, this book’s especially for the impressive because Parker sets up the hero as being a womanizing rake in the book that comes before this one, so it comes as a wonderful surprise when you find out he’s had a soft spot for the heroine the whole the time. His longing is DELICIOUS.

daring to dream

Daring to Dream by Nora Roberts
The first unrequited romance I read, long before I understood what I was reading, and how masterfully Roberts brings Josh and Margo together after years of animosity and distance.

There we have it. My top 5. Now I’m dying to know, what needs to be on my list? What are YOUR favorite “he loved her all along” unrequited love romances?! Tell me in the comments section below!