An Editor’s Favorite Trope: Rejected Fated Mates

If you’re a longtime romance reader like me then you’re always on the lookout for something new. Whether it be an exciting new take on a favorite trope (like maybe a vampire motorcycle club) or something completely out of left field (like crocodile humanoid aliens on a desert planet), nothing beats discovering a new book, series, or author that really grabs your attention.

I’ve long been a fan of any trope that incorporates fated mates. Having one person out there that you’re destined to be with no matter what? Um, yes please. But it’s a relatively recent development that romance readers have started to see more and popularize stories that subvert the typical fated mate trope by way of rejected fated mates.

At first, I was hesitant to read one of these stories. It didn’t really make sense to me that a fated mate could be rejected. After all, if it was possible to reject them, then how could they be fated? Ultimately, though, my curiosity won out and I took the plunge into my first rejected fated mates story.

And I was blown away. The rejected fated mates trope has a lot going for it. First of all, there are tons of opportunities to intertwine other tropes into a fated mates book. Any species that exists (or doesn’t yet exist!) in the world of paranormal romance can make space for fated mates and rejected fated mates. Fae, vampires, werewolves, humans in mystical societies…and in any world you can weave in enemies-to-lovers, grumpy/sunshine and so much more.

Something I’ve always appreciated in romance is a good grovel. You know, the hero makes some grievous mistake and then has to make up for it with some major declarations. Anyone else thinking of Heath Ledger’s stadium song in 10 Things I Hate About You right now? That is, and will forever be, my high bar for groveling. The rejected fated mates trope, though, sets the groundwork perfectly for groveling. After all, rejecting your fated mate is definitely a grievous mistake.

Aside from excellent groveling, though, this trope allows for a lot of character development. In a traditional fated mates story the mates meet and, while there may be issues of timing or location or relationship status, they usually get together early on and face all subsequent challenges as a mated pair. In the rejected fated mates trope, the protagonists inevitably need to work through problems on their own. Not only that, but the fact that they’re still single forces them into a lot of introspection. Ultimately, when they resolve all their issues and get together, their relationship feels so much more rewarding and satisfying because they really had to work hard for it.

Like any trope, though, there are variations that I don’t like as a reader. I don’t usually like it when fated mates reject each other and then mate with an entirely different character. However, if the heroine, for example, has some higher purpose beyond her fated mate, then I think it can work.

This is something that I love about the romance genre as a whole. There are tons of tropes that most readers are familiar with, but inevitably writers come along that are able to completely subvert readers’ expectations. If you haven’t picked up one of these stories, I highly recommend them.

**Please be advised that Harlequin does not currently publish paranormal romances and is not looking for submissions within that subgenre.**