Must be my pet peeve week. Read a book last night with several of my pet peeves in it--all centered around babies. Let me start out by saying I happen to love babies in books. Unlike some readers who are put off by babies, children, animals, mother-in-laws, etc. in erotic romances, I happen to believe they are a welcome addition.
Erotic romance is what happens in the midst of all that life going on around us. Eliminating everything but the two (three/four) people in the bed presents a false picture. However, whether you want your romance sterile and lonely or peopled with family and friends, there are a couple things I find sincerely annoying.
One: If you don't use birth control, how can you be surprised by a pregnancy? By birth control, I'm include all forms of sterility, barrenness, and old age. In this scenario I talking about two 20-50 year old individuals who are healthy and sexually active. How could they be surprised at the outcome? If I read one more book where the supposedly intelligent hero or heroine says, "But it was only one time!" I'm gonna puke.
It NEVER takes more than one time to get pregnant. Whether it's the first time a couple has sex or the twentieth time, it only takes ONE time to accomplish the deed. Unless they're aliens...then all bets are off.
Two: If you know your birth control has failed, then you should expect (no pun intended) pregnancy to follow. Skipped birth control pills and broken condoms probably ought to provide a head's up, folks. Baby on board!
Rather than acting all shocked and stunned, the couple should be counting the days until they know for sure--one way or the other. Instead, in book after book, the heroine is clueless until she passes out or pukes in the morning. How is that mature?
Three: In this day and age, what male over twenty-five (in America) is unaware of the way the female reproductive system works? I don't know of any myself. No, I'm sure they don't sit around and discuss menstrual cycles with their buddies during football commercials, but I'm pretty sure they know how the system works. So how in the world would a man not know what cessation of menses usually means?
If pregnancy is going to be part of the story, at least don't make the hero/heroine so stupid the reader will be tempted to call CPS for the safety of the kid.