Shannon Stacey

Child-free heroines

Yesterday, on Smart Bitches, Sarah posted GS vs STA: Heroines who don’t want kids, seeking recommendations for child-free romances.

I like little ones in my romances. Secret babies or not-so-secret babies are a win, maybe because I think really good dads are pretty damn hot. Example? Karen Templeton’s Guys and Daughters miniseries from Silhouette Special Edition.

But, both as a reader and an author, I do like a kid-free zone sometimes, like the awesome contemporary romances of Julie James. The Christmas novella I’m working on is blissfully free of children, not only because you can’t stuff a novella with an overabundance of secondary characters, but because Exclusively Yours and Undeniably Yours were very family-focused and it’s time for a fun, sexy fling. Not saying the couple doesn’t want children in the future, but kids won’t be a part of the story.

There are two child-free heroines in my backlist. Not that there are children in all the other stories, but in these two cases, being child-free is specifically mentioned.

Eliza Jane, in Taming Eliza Jane, can’t have children. If you’ve read it, you know I had a little fun with the expectation of the Magic Seed of her One True Love. If you haven’t, I won’t say more. While they’re perfectly happy as is, I could see them perhaps adopting some orphans if the opportunity arose.

Carmen, in No Surrender, has consciously decided not to have kids. She just doesn’t see herself as a mother and has zero interest in babies. And, while her happily ever after with Gallagher is fairly traditional because that’s how I roll, I can tell you Mr & Mrs G enjoy the company of other people’s kids, but are 100% happy not having their own.

How about you? Do you like little ones running amok in the romances you read or do you prefer kid-free stories? Or a mix?

EDITED TO ADD: It just occurred to me everybody’s going to say “a mix”, so which do you think you read more of? I think, especially with my love of category romance, I probably read more books with kids than without.

5 comments to “Child-free heroines”

  1. Annmarie
      · August 25th, 2010 at 12:14 pm · Link

    I love love LOVE kids in romances. I want an epilogue with a kid at the very least in my series romance.

    I always thought it was because I can’t have kids and wanted kids so much even as a teen. I attributed my love for Secret Babies to the unfulfilled dream of motherhood.

    I like your explanation better.

    A hero’s interaction with his kid or a kid gives me one more piece of the hero puzzle. It cements my attraction to him. It IS sexy. It’s swoon worthy.

    When you, Angela James and Jane Litte (for example) tell stories about your husbands ATVing with the kids, happily taking the kid on rides at Disney, building toys for the tot, etc, my heart goes pitter patter. More clues that y’all have awesome husbands. It’s a clear indicator of character.

    I want that pitter patter when I read a romance. I want it as a side with the hubba hubba and the pant pant.

  2. Shannon
      · August 25th, 2010 at 1:55 pm · Link

    My husband is a GREAT dad! I think the fact he doesn’t start or end his day without telling his sons he loves them is one of the very sexiest things about him.

  3. Charlene Teglia
      · August 25th, 2010 at 3:12 pm · Link

    I like a mix. Because it’s realistic. Not all people want or can have kids for various reasons, lots of others do, some just haven’t gotten there yet. Cookie cutter sameness just looks like lazy characterization.

  4. MJ
      · August 25th, 2010 at 11:32 pm · Link

    I tend to stay away from kids in romances, maybe because I’m a teacher? But I’ll think twice about buying books with kids on the cover. I know I’m in the minority.

  5. Natalie J. Damschroder
      · August 27th, 2010 at 11:17 pm · Link

    Before I had kids, I read lots of books with kids in them, probably, like you, partly because so much of it was category romance.

    When I was screamingly apesh** insane during their younger years, I REALLY didn’t want to read books with kids in them.

    My tastes now run toward romantic adventure, which don’t have a lot of room for kids, but I don’t eschew them. I’m reading a lot of YA now, too–though they don’t really count as kids. :)

  • Get my latest news straight to your inbox!

    I'll only be sending newsletters when I have news to share, and I'll never share your information. You'll receive an email asking you confirm your subscription (so please check your spam box if you don't receive that). You can unsubscribe at anytime.


  • Affiliation

    Shannon Stacey is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of

    If you purchase a book listed on the site from, she’ll earn a small commission. Thank you!