Where is the HEA?

I actually stopped reading a book this week. The disappointment was a tad overwhelming because this book started off AWESOME! Like, dance-in-the-kitchen-til-the-morning-light AWESOME. The hero was an agent...the heroine was his computer geek, couldn't-run-things-without-her, right-hand lady. Scene one, dinner party with an assassination threat. Heroine gets pulled into the field. She is going to accompany the hero as his date. The decision was a bit compulsive, but he needed someone and of course, she was there. She's trained physically... Anyhoo. VERY exciting. Hero gets attacked...shot in the chest actually...and the heroine (who didn't actually run that far away when he told her to) sees the attacker going in for the head shot. So what does she do? She kicks ass. In the scuffle, the shooter gets shot.

Scene two: At the hospital. Shooter is in surgery. Hero is in ER. He was wearing Kevlar (of course!) He hears a woman's voice. Low and behold, it's the traitorous B who almost killed him. Her son is the shooter...and guess what? It's the hero's son, too!!!! [wow, when I write it out like this, it sounds awfully cheesy] There is a confrontation in which psycho B threatens the hero (she's off the deep end, btw), but the heroine jumps in at this point and says, No. I shot your son.

There's stuff hitting fans everywhere...and the hero knows only one thing. He has to put the heroine into hiding.

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! [end of round one]

We've got a sagging middle here. I swear, I was so excited about the opening of this book. Remember now, this is all research. Any books I read [usually], I tend to study. So, I asked myself, how did the author lose me? And this is what I figured out...in this instance.

I always knew the heroine loved the hero. She'd maintained a professional distance, but her internal gave her away. This isn't necessarily a problem. Most women are more in tune with their emotions. It wasn't too far into the story, maybe a third of the way, when the hero internally admitted love for the heroine. When they 'got together' at about two-thirds of the way through the book... I couldn't get that excitement back.

They had their Happily Ever After!

Sure, there were still bad guys on the loose, but the hideaway was known only to the hero. Not even his best friend or family knew where they were. Also, the bunker had a room FILLED with computers, but the heroine [the computer EXPERT!] never even went in there. Didn't do anything during the time they were there to help find out who had hacked into the company's system. Why not?

I had to stop reading...the final straw was when the heroine went into the cave of this bunker/hideaway and...for the THIRD TIME!, mentioned the stalagmites--or was is stalactites? Seriously, she said that in her head THREE times. To me, the stinks of author intrusion. As if she didn't have the time or wherewithal to look it up...and so, made the heroine an idiot. Because, if you were curious about something, wouldn't you go to that computer room on the other side of the bunker and LOOK IT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sheesh.

Stalagmites: rising from the floor.
Stalactites: hanging from the ceiling.


There was a point to this... Oh right. I have a tendency to do this. AVOID CONFLICT, especially in the relationships I conjure up. It's in direct relationship to reading books where I groan at the stupid reasons people have conflict, BUT I read just as many books with good conflict. So, I'm going to make sure my book doesn't resemble this one....
How about you? Do you get tired of the conflict in a romance? What do you do in your writing to avoid such conflict?