I recently read a book (ebook) that sniffed out good from the description and appeared to be just what my mood called for. A little bondage, a capture scenario (waggling eyebrows), a super big bad alpha male - pretty typical D/s formula, but it sounded yummy for a late night erotic snack. The book promised to be an exciting battle of wills with two strong characters and the naughty edginess of a woman being captured and subdued. (No, we're not talking rape - you won't find those type stories in erotic romances, because while some women may have rape fantasies - they are just that, fantasies, and the reality of rape is hideously ugly. And I don't say that blithely.)
The story started out great. The strong female character with some smarts upstairs being "caught" by the hunky guy used to getting his own way. I gobbled up the words until all of a sudden the story took a bizarre turn and suddenly the big, strong alpha male was fighting to hold back tears, conflicted over a past trauma and the female character devolved into a total putz-ass. Ugh.
I have nothing against male characters (or men in real life) exhibiting emotions or even having an emotional breakdown scene. Hello, we're all human. Some heartrending emotion can add a layer of bittersweetness and conflict to a book, making it even more memorable. I've boo-hoo'd my way through more than one story before and thoroughly enjoyed the vicarious trauma. (Errr...sounds really icky when put that way. O.o)
And this is a big however - I'm no more enticed by sniffling male characters than I am by sniffling female characters. Pages and pages and PAGES of tears make me want to bang my head against the nearest hard surface. I stuck it out with the story though, because I'm a dumbass... okay, because I kept thinking that the promised storyline HAD to appear.
It had to.
When I reached the last page and it HADN'T, boy-howdy was I irritated.
Damn it. I was in the mood for some naughty bondage and characters pitting themselves against each other with lots of raunchy, hot sex until they both realized they were in lurv and then had even more raunchy, hot sex. (Guys, stop rolling your eyes - we women love our HEAs.)
The point of this diatribe? Just to point out that writers need to be realistic in their promises to readers. Don't write up the description of your story to snag someone with a taste for five-alarm chili only to serve up jello. Yeah the chili description might sell more books in the short term but if ya plan on ever writing another book and don't want to be on someone's "I'll never buy her/his stuff again" list - then don't make promises you can't/don't deliver. There's enough diversity in taste that your story will appeal (if well written). No one eats five-alarm chili everyday after all.