No matter what genre of fiction I read, I need a bit of romance in the book. It doesn't have to be steamy sex scenes or erotica or even a kiss, but I like to see even the most bitter, hard-bitten protagonist show that single moment of pause.
The brief meeting of eyes, the unexpected touch, a dredged up memory, the pain of loss, the spark of hope, or the driving need for revenge. It doesn't have to be a road to redemption, but I love that moment where something clicks and he or she is never quite the same. Maybe it's an itch that never goes away, a feeling of something important just out of reach, or of something missing. Eyes that haunt, a scent that tickles the nose, the sound of a voice, a face in the crowd, give me a slice in time that touches the most basic human need.
Get on with the murder, the mayhem, the ghost in the attic, a gun in the drawer, clues left behind, an ancient curse, alien invaders or whatever chaos ensues, but wrap that around a touch of romance and you'll get me every time.