GS. vs. STA: Heroines Who Don’t Want Kids

Bet MeGS vs. STA is “Good Shit vs. Shit to Avoid,” and is all about books of a particular trope or type that you adore or think should be tossed out the window at the nearest opportunity, just as soon as the car slows down enough. M. is looking for books wherein the heroine, like Min of Bet Me, doesn’t want children.

Okay so I have been a long time lurker, occasional poster, but this Bitch
needs some help. Thanks to your lovely site, I have discovered that I LOVE
contemporaries. Like a lot. Before it was all historicals, but thanks to
Jennifer Cruise, Lisa Kleypas, and others, I’m in love.

So my deal is, personally, I don’t want kids. Like at all. I respect people
who do, and those who don’t, but personally, having kids is just not what I
want. That is why I fell in love with Min from Bet Me. Finally! A heroine
who just wants a man, a dog ( and cat) and a house for the rest of her life.
A message that you can live fulfilled without kids. So I wanted to know if
the Bitchery knows of any more romances ( or fantasy or romantic fantasy or
fantastical romance or whatever) in which the heroine just doesn’t want kids.
No epilogue about how she is happily pregnant or adding to her family of 5.
(The books can be historicals, but I just thought it might be easier to find
contemps of this nature.)

I have been craving books like this and realized that if anyone could help
me it was the Smart Bitches. ( Sorry in advance if this HABO subject has
already been hit up)

This topic comes up every now and again in romance, because there are some times when, as you read, it seems in every other romance there must be a baby-epilogue, or baby-logue, with pregnancy and glowing and 2.5 children in the future. Which books feature heroines and heroes who are not interested in having children, whether it’s a major topic point or not? Which ones did you like best?


Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Kalen Hughes says:

    Victoria Dahl’s wonderful contemps seem to be child-free (I don’t remember discussions that anklebitters were verboten, but you never see any and they never moon over having them).

    Bella Andre and Jami Alden also do super steamy contemps with no babies at the end.

    And I made a conscious decision to keep the main couple of my second historical (Lord Scandal) baby-free. It’s OOP, but I know you can get it used for like a penny, and maybe still as an eBook on Amazon.

  2. 2
    Maggie P. says:

    Shelly Laurenston has a contemporary supernatural called Pack Challenge where the main characters explicitly do not want children, and don’t change their mind in the epilogue.
    Edit: Also, it’s really funny, I really enjoy her work. I have not had my coffee yet so I somehow manage to forget that last bit.

  3. 3
    R. says:

    Anyone but you by Jennifer Crusie features a heroine who’s 10 years older than her lover. Neither of them want children. It’s a fantastic and fun book!

  4. 4
    John says:

    While I cannot think of any specific Good Shit, Shit to Avoid would be -

    Debbie Macomber.  She kind of straddles the fence between women’s fiction and romance, but it’s all contemporary from her…and definitely NOT the best if you don’t want kids.  Her books are good at saying that the classic Suburban Home/2.5 kids/Husband scenario isn’t for everyone, but it always seems like that’s the thing for her heroines. 

    I’ll watch the thread for suggestions – The baby ideal throughout an entire book makes me cringe.

  5. 5
    Isabel C. says:

    Good HABO subject! I would love to find some historicals with non-kid-wanting heroines, myself. Or more paranormals—and I’ll have to check out Laurenston.

  6. 6
    Donna says:

    Shelley Laurenston – now why didn’t I think of her yesterday when we were discussing LOL moments!

  7. 7
    katt says:

    JD ROBB.  Eve Dallas is rather like me, holds one if she must but it will probably be at arm’s length!  Nora Roberts (as JDRobb) has apparently stated that if Eve ever decides to have kids, that will be the end of the series. .. but at the moment, the series is about 30 books of kidless murdersolving with great characters.

  8. 8
    katt says:

    Also Janet Evanovich = hilarious.

  9. 9
    Ros says:

    If you’re looking for category romance, I would recommend the Modern Heat line (sometimes, though not always, published in the US as Presents Extra).  These books feature much more realistic contemporary settings than Modern/Presents books, and very often have a HEA that doesn’t involve marriage or kids.  I don’t know that the heroines specifically don’t want kids, just that the subject tends not to come up nearly as often as in other category lines.

  10. 10
    KimberlyD says:

    Graceling by Kristin Cashore features a hero/heroine who don’t want to get married. They come to the realization that being together doesn’t mean they have to get married. I’m pretty sure they’re both against having kids (themselves) and that they stay true to that throughout the whole book. Cashore’s third book (which will feature these characters) will show us if they end up getting married or having kids. But I don’t think they will on both counts.

    I know I know of more books but I can’t think of them right now. If I do, I’ll be back!

  11. 11
    edieharris says:

    As someone in the same situation (the don’t-want-/can’t-have-kids “situation”), I’ve often sought out books like this, with varied success…

    Julie James has three contemporaries out, none of which include kiddies or the prelude to kiddies, and her most recent doesn’t even include the requisite “marry me and maybe someday spawn my children” scene (which I find refreshing). She’s an incredibly witty and intelligent writer, and I’ve reread her work many, many times.

    Kresley Cole writes contemporary paranormals (but her backlist includes historicals, as well) and is best known for her “Immortals After Dark” series. While the idea of children and, in one book, pregnancy, comes into play, it’s tastefully done, and not every H/h pairing indicates that child-bearing/rearing is in their future. Again, refreshing, considering how often the trope of will-my-baby-even-be-human? comes up in paranormal romances. Plus, Ms. Cole’s writing is hilarious and gripping.

  12. 12
    Randi says:

    OMG, Shelley Laurenston ROCKS! Everytime I re-read that series I laugh out loud. I luf her.

    She also writes under GA Aiken-but the dragon series does have lots of baby dragons involved.

    coming88: I hope Shelley comes out with 88 more books!

  13. 13
    Melissa says:

    Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress and Night Huntress World series – vampires can’t procreate so no babies in this series

    Patricia Briggs – Alpha and Omega series – werewolf females cannot have children

    I will second Pack Challenge by Shelly Laurenston – both the leads never want kids

  14. 14

    As a single woman who does NOT want kids (it’s not that I dislike them, I just don’t want my own), I looooved Bet Me.  Speaking of Crusie, didn’t they not have kids in The Cinderella Deal either?  It’s been a few months since I read it.

    I’m fairly new to the genre, but I’d imagine there are more no-kid contemporaries than historicals, because in the “olden days” it was expected you’d start a family.  However, Bryn Donovan’s An Experienced Mistress doesn’t involve children, and in Laura Kinsale’s Lessons in French, they have a baby, but it’s only mentioned very briefly at the end.

    And A-freaking-men on the awesome Julie James (a fellow Chicagoan!).  Practice Makes Perfect rocked my world and was deliciously kid-free.

  15. 15
    Julie says:

    Jayne Ann Krevtz/Amanda Quick/Jayne Castle seem to be pretty baby free.

  16. 16
    De says:

    I clicked on the comments to come say Shelly Laurenston and Pack Challenge.  And it was the second comment in.

    iirc, her book Hunting Ground(?) is childfree.  It’s been a while, but I think they’re all dead, so children kind of aren’t an option.  Of course being dead doesn’t mean you can’t have a long and happy life.

  17. 17
    Ros says:

    Okay, now I’m at home with my netbook here are some Modern Heat titles that don’t feature kids: Kelly Hunter’s ‘Exposed: Misbehaving with the Magnate’; Natalie Anderson’s ‘Pleasured by the Secret Millionaire’ (she definitely doesn’t want kids); Lucy King’s ‘Propositioned by the Billionaire’.

  18. 18
    SylviaSybil says:

    Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series.  Out of five couples, one has children and another one had a child many years ago.  The remaining three couples are happy together without children.  One of the women is in her 40s and happy with her fulltime-plus career.  Another couple discusses it briefly; he says he dreamed they had kids and she stares at him in horror before he reassures her it was just a dream and a metaphor for them being committed to each other.

    Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series.  (Warning: it actually starts with a short story in On the Prowl.)  Female werewolves miscarry at the full moon.  The hero actually says he’s grateful she’s a werewolf; he’d rather have her than have her children while she dies.

    Meljean Brook’s Guardian series.  Guardians can’t have children.  They can retire and become human again, but out of ten novels and novellas only one couple reproduces.

    Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series.  Vampires can’t reproduce so there’s no danger of the heroine getting knocked up.  And she’s terrible with small creatures anyway.

    Linnea Sinclair’s books.  She writes sci-fi romance, and out of the seven couples I’ve read, none of them want children or have even mentioned the possibility.  Although the ones who have cats treat those as their babies.

    Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series.  Female werewolves miscarry during the full moon.

  19. 19
    tricia says:

    OH YES PLEASE. Bring them on!

  20. 20
    Lynnd says:

    In historicals, the only one I can think of is Sherry Thomas’  Not Quite a Husband – the heroine is unable to have children, but it didn’t seem to be a huge issue or regret (I loved the epilogue).

  21. 21
    DreadPirateRachel says:

    I want to hear of more historicals that don’t end with babies. One thing that always, ALWAYS makes me crazy is the scene in the historical novel when the hero realizes that he “lost control” and maybe knocked up the heroine. At this point, he gets instant wood just thinking about his child growing inside her (and that’s always the phrasing, too). Creepy, antiquated, and patriarchal. Also, eww!

    It seems like the only historicals that don’t end with reproduction seem to think that they need to make excuses for the heroine; she can’t have kids or some equally disempowering situation. Grrr! Why can’t the author just leave it alone? Just don’t mention babies and let the readers complete the fantasy however they choose.

    End of rant.

  22. 22
    Caroline says:

    If I remember correctly, “Who Wants to be a Sex Goddess?” by Gemma Bruce has no mention of babies and takes place at what may be considered an adult summer camp.  And it’s SO delicious.  Delicious man, delicious characters.  So delicious in fact that I lend it to all my female friends…well, at least I did until the last person kept it for herself.  I have to buy it again because I love it, so much so that this will be the third copy I’ve bought.

  23. 23
    SarahB says:

    Ann Aguirre’s series don’t have kids and don’t seem headed that way any time soon.  The Sirantha Jax series is sci-fi romance (start with Grimspace) and Corine Solomon series is paranormal romance-ish (start with Blue Diablo).

    The Downside series (paranormal/urban fantasy) by Stacia Kane is great and there are no kids.  Starts with Unholy Ghosts.  Standard warning: the main character is a drug addict.  MHO: So what. 

    I also just finished the first 2 books in the “Study” series by Maria V. Snyder.  These are fantasy/romance.  Start with Poison Study.  No kids so far, and I can’t see one appearing in the last book of the trilogy, but can’t promise.

  24. 24
    Krista says:

    I’m surprised no one mentioned Charlaine Harris. I mean, Sookie is obviously not going to be having any babies any time soon, what with all the vampire/were banging. Lily Bard, iirc, isn’t interested. Harper Connelly doesn’t seem to care about kids (though I haven’t read the most recent one yet). Aurora Teagarden is fine up until the last book.

    Also, Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan books don’t talk about babies at all. Granted, they’re not ‘romance’, but they’re good, and there are some romance elements.

  25. 25
    Jazzlet says:

    ‘I also just finished the first 2 books in the “Study” series by Maria V. Snyder.  These are fantasy/romance.  Start with Poison Study.  No kids so far, and I can’t see one appearing in the last book of the trilogy, but can’t promise.

    No kids in the third book either :)

    The Ann Maxwells that I have read, such as The Diamond Tiger and The Ruby don’t have kids.

    Great topic.

  26. 26
    Kristina says:

    re: Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld Series.  The two main Werewolf characters actually have twins now but there are many other characaters in this series that headline books that do not and dont plan to have kiddos.

    Also, slam her as you will, the Anita Blake character in Laurell K.Hamiltons books does not want kids.  There is a scare at one point with her many lovers but it all works out (no babies).    AND>……. I just re-read that whole series through over the summer (up to Skin Trade) and the smexing up of everyone seems to be easing off.  Starting to return to classic Anita which is a very happy thing for me.  **steps down from soap box**

    BTW, one more for the “No Thanks” club regarding kiddos.  Love kids, but only other people’s kids in one hour increments…. and we’ll just leave it at that. 

    spamword:  party33………. sigh, yeah that was a good party.  But 35 will be even better.

  27. 27
    Kristina says:

    Doh!  forgot to mention before I got on my Anita crusade…..

    Kelley Armstrongs other series about a female assasin is blessedly kid free.  She is an ex-police officer that now works as a hit man for the mob and is a vigalante (sp?) in her spare time.  First book is Exit Wounds, 2nd is Made To Be Broken.  Both awesome books.  I’m really hoping this series continues.

  28. 28

    I thought of another one: she’s more women’s fiction than straight-up romance, but Stacey Ballis’ protagonists are often pretty open about not wanting kids.  They’re also not skinny and enjoy good food, a la Min in Bet Me!

    federal25: It’s not a federal offense if you don’t want 25 kids!

  29. 29
    Ros says:

    For historicals, what about Mr Impossible? I don’t think Daphne is ever broody in the slightest.  And also, from what I can tell she and Rupert haven’t any children by the time of Last Night’s Scandal, set at least 10 years later.

  30. 30
    FD says:

    I’m commenting purely for the recs ‘cos this is a subject near and dear to my childfree heart.
    I’m really bummed that despite my preference for these books, I can’t think of anything that hasn’t been recced already.

    Also, it sorta feels like from reading the suggestions, that it’s now ok to have heroines who don’t want kids, but mainly only in paranormals.  Subtext: There’s something otherworldly about not wanting to reproduce? *sadface*

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