12 Men You'll Find In Every Small Town, According To Romance Novels

You’d think small towns would have a shortage of eligible bachelors, but that’s definitely not the case in romance novels. No matter how small the population of the town where the heroine lives, she always manages to find her happily ever after with her perfect match. (It’s a little unfair, really.) If fiction is to be believed, tiny towns are just brimming with hot, single dudes.

Across romance series, though, small-town leading ladies are wooed by a surprisingly limited group of men. I don’t mean to knock the genre — romance storylines are often presented in novel ways — but it’s hard not to notice how regularly certain characters pop up. Plentiful as leading ladies’ suitors may be, these guys frequently fit into one or more of the familiar archetypes. If romance novel hero bingo doesn’t already exist, it should; it would be ridiculously easy to play.

Lessons learned from romance novels don’t have to accurately reflect real life to be a lot of fun, though. So, with that in mind, I’ve put together a list of a dozen types of men you’ll find in every small town, at least according to romances. Maybe the small town dating scene really is all it’s cracked up to be.

The Town Doctor

Somehow, the town’s only doctor’s office always has a palpitation-inducing, single M.D. Between his white jacket, stethoscope, and bedside manner, the heroine finds herself lovesick and breathless. Luckily for her, he makes house calls.

The Local Veterinarian

When the main character is an animal-lover, she’s sure to be swept off her feet by the gorgeous man taking care of her beloved pet. He, of course, goes above and beyond his job description, and she can’t help but swoon when her dog/cat/whatever likes him as much as she does.

The Wounded Warrior

Soldiers apparently find small towns to be the perfect place to recuperate when suffering from an injury, whether emotional or physical. Commitment issues seem to be a nearly universal side effect (in romances, at least), but of course the leading lady happens to be the cure. As they fall in love, he starts to heal.

The Firefighter

Sparks fly whenever the protagonist meets her match in a local firefighter. His selflessness, courage, and ripped abs are almost too hot for her to handle, and the fire doesn’t burn out.

The Lawman

Even quiet, small towns need law enforcement, which works out well for the women who live there. The men always wear their uniforms especially well, and they usually get a chance to swoop in and save the day, too.

The First Love

Running into your ex is unavoidable in a small town, but in fictional ones, it’s almost never a bad thing. Even though the former lovers may have bitterness between them at first, there’s also usually a lingering affection that ends up growing into much, much more. The third time is supposed to be the charm, but in romance novels, two chances are usually all it takes.

The Retired Pro Athlete

In romance novels, moving to a quieter place is a frequent next step for pro athletes after they get out of the game. After all the fame and glory, plus a nearly endless string of meaningless flings, they think they’ve seen it all. What they’re not prepared for is having a new lady sweep in and turn their lives on end. That’s exactly what happens, of course, and the next thing they’re determined to win is her heart.

The Single Dad

Doting dads who’ve loved and lost get a second chance in romances. They might think they only have time to focus on taking care of their little ones, but the protagonist proves irresistible. She manages to make the whole family fall in love with her.

The Business Mogul

Romance novel heroines have a weakness for men in suits. Wealthy business execs often get the girl, even when they come into her small town with plans to develop it and destroy something important to her. Of course, once he's wrapped around her finger, she makes him reevaluate.

The Movie Star

When the hero is a big-time actor, he usually arrives in the middle-of-nowhere town to film his next blockbuster or to relax between movies. Either way, he finds a new leading lady and uses all his trademark charm to win her over.

The Computer Geek

Tech-savvy romance heroes never fit the nerdy stereotype. Instead of holing up inside and spending all of their time staring at a computer screen, they somehow find the time to work out and wow the ladies.

The Contractor

The heroine’s relationship with her contractor usually starts out as a strictly business one. Soon, though, he’s not just there to work on the house. By the end of the book, it’s clear that the house will someday belong to the two of them as part of their happily ever after.

Image: New Line Cinema