Well, getting back into mainstream romance novels in a way one might imagine I would. I haven't read too much in the way of suspense or action-adventure type romances. But I had heard of Suzanne Brockmann's Jules Cassidy character, found a secondhand copy of Hot Target, and started reading the Troubleshooters series from there on. Then I went back to try to find the earlier books. It is entirely typical for me to start a series on book fifteen or twenty, then skip my way back and around. Some of the events in this series would have made much more sense if I'd read the series completely in order, but I can appreciate how the author sets up future developments. I was quite happy that I was able to find the majority of the books at the library -- so, so rare considering what I have been reading.
As for Jules -- what a little scene stealer he is, even in the earlier books. He develops from just being a rather flamboyantly gay minor character into being an action hero in his own right. The major male characters in Brockmann's books really don't seem to have too much in the way of flaws, and Jules follows that alpha male hero path to that extent. Robin certainly has plenty of flaws, but becomes something of an action hero himself, albeit an untrained one. The sex scenes between Jules and Robin are passed over rather tastefully -- I definitely could have handled more description of what the characters were actually doing. There were some intriguing hints that Jules enjoys being submissive in bed, at least some of the time. That actually threw me a bit, as he was being written as a very dominant character otherwise. This is where I would have done better with more graphic sex scenes, as it would have shown more about the character if it showed what exactly he was enjoying. I finally imagined it as Jules loving to be taken (and enthusiastically participating), just like many other M/M romance novel heroes, and that worked for me. I understand that many female readers would have had trouble with the scenes being as detailed as the heterosexual sex scenes, but I thought there were some missed opportunities there.
Here's one of the good quotes from the rocky beginning of Jules and Robin's relationship: "You," Jules said, "are one hell of an actor." Hot Target
In general, I can see how the series would be so very popular with women readers. The things that I had trouble suspending disbelief for were things that I imagine would provide great gratification to many women. This includes the way the men talked about their feelings and discussed their relationships with their fellow soldiers and/or teammates. Also the way they broke into tears easily, and the way they started thinking of romance in the middle of, say, a firefight. I would imagine soldiers to be more focused on the actual battle at hand and less so on their feelings for their significant other. It's not at all atypical for a straight romance to show men thinking about love as their top priority for largish sections of the book, but I've been reading so few books like that lately. In many of the books in this series, the fraternization really crossed the line, too. The men's effectiveness was notably hampered by how distracted they were by the women. Jules actually got rather less distracted from his duties than many of the other heroes did. The action-adventure hero feats I could more easily suspend disbelief for, just kind of rolling with the "they're highly trained professionals" theme.
But major kudos to the author for introducing M/M romance to mainstream readers. She's certainly doing her part to help change attitudes, or make people think twice. Some of her agenda is heavy-handed, but it's understandable why. It isn't that I disagree with the agenda -- to the contrary -- but it could have been put across more subtly. But cheers for parents and allies being able to take it that step further.