It seems to me the hardest part of writing a romance is perfectly balancing the heroine and the hero to eventually form the perfect couple. Of course, they cannot be perfectly matched in the beginning because there would be no conflict and thus no story. Immediate sexual attraction is fine and practically required, but must be resisted for a while.
The onus does appear to be on the heroine, however. She must be smart, have an interesting career (unless she is Amish and even some of those women work outside the home), attractive or capable of becoming attractive, likable, and have a problem to overcome that is serious but not too serious. The perfect heroine must be independent, strong, able to resist the hero initially, and capable of saving herself. That's quite a load for any woman to carry.
On the other hand, the hero must be hunky, if not handsome, then rugged, maybe surprisingly masculine under a nerdy exterior. His problem can be more serious, womanizing or PTSD, but something the right woman can fix. He might start out obnoxious or arrogant and then change his ways, leeway not usually given to the female character who must be likable from the very start. She can save him, but he can't save her. And oh, he has to be good in bed and a bit sensitive beneath that rough exterior. Abusers of any kind need not apply.
I don't think I've ever created the perfect couple but came closest with Merlin and Jane in A Trashy Affair. She meets him head on and staunchly resists being rescued in this case saving her job and the local environment. He rescues her anyhow, and she salvages him from a sad and bitter life. Okay, they have their first sexual encounter fairly quickly, but there is that attraction no matter how much Jame wants to deny it.
Every other book I've written, I've gotten comments about the heroine. Goals for a Sinner-I would never treat Connor that way! Wish for a Sinner-Nell is too weak to tame Joe. Kicks for a Sinner-Howdy deserves someone better. And even in Trashy-Nell gets on my nerves. No comments like these yet for Paradise for a Sinner, The Convent Rose, or A Taste of Bayou Water, but I am waiting.What I have observed is that if the reader really loves my hero, she doesn't so much like my heroine. Jealousy, perhaps, as we project ourselves into their roles.
If any of you have read all or some of my books, I'd love to know who is your favorite couple and why. And for you, a Valentine's gift. The Convent Rose will have a free week on the Kindle from February 25-March first. The book features the first of my cowboy heroes and a heroine his complete opposite. I'd like to know what you think of them, too. This will probably be my last "free" book of the year. I mean I really need to make some money from time to time, not because I'd only write for money but because it is nice to know people will pay for your work even if you don't make a fortune. So enjoy this final offer. I hope you will follow the rest of my series even if you must buy them.