How to write a Tami Hoag novel, in Ten Easy Steps!
1. Introduce your heroine. She is tough and independent. She works in a field usually dominated by men. She is unfeminine and thus, doesn't have a man. She is TOUGH (make sure to say this a LOT) and has a Dark Past.
2. Introduce your hero. He is a very masculine MANLY MAN. He is dangerously handsome. And dangerous and flawed. He has a DARK PAST.
3. Introduce the Second-Tier Female. She is beautiful and feminine. Give her a minor plot line. She will be useful in making the Heroine look like an Unfulfilled and Unfeminine Woman.
4. Introduce Second-Tier Male. He is Handsome, but not as Handsome as Handsome Flawed Hero. He is an Important Person. He is Mysterious.
5. Have your Tough Heroine meet your Flawed Hero. Introduce SEXUAL TENSION. Have your Flawed Hero talk in cliches and bad come-on lines that should make the Heroine cringe but Oh He Is So Handsome and Dark. SEXUAL TENSION.
6. Put them all in Small Idyllic All-American Town. Introduce Colorful Characters.
7. MURDER one of them. Small Idyllic All-American Town is shaken to the core. TO THE CORE. Have someone say "Things like that don't happen in this town!" repeatedly.
8. Have Flawed Hero and Tough Heroine run around Small Not-So Idyllic Anymore All-American Town trying to find clues to the murder. THERE IS SEXUAL TENSION.
9. Add a couple of SEX scenes. Make sure to use the words "Most Feminine Part of Her" and "His Throbbing Manhood" and "He/She Should Not Have Given In". It will be HOT.
10. CLIMAX. Tough Heroine finds the Murderer, he kidnaps and tortures her for a bit, and she is rescued by Flawed Hero because it is True Love After Two Weeks.
OK, in all fairness, Hoag isn't a terrible writer. Just mediocre. And it's not as horrible as most romances. The SEXUAL TENSION is hilarious, but I guess it works if that's your thing. The book is kind of comforting in a way, the sort of thing you read when you're really sick or really bored and don't want to think too much. It's painful, but in a fun way, and it's good for a laugh. So if you need something to read while waiting at the doctor's office or whatever, go ahead. But don't say I didn't warn you.