In the romance genre, it doesn’t matter what sub-genre you’re writing your characters, the two folks who fall in love, should have a HEA or Happily Ever After. It’s one of the defining characteristics of a romance novel.
Of course all rules are meant to be broken and some are broken quite well. Heather Webber’s Lucy Valentine Series is a wonderful romance series but there’s no HEA. This is often the case with a character driven series and the reasons should be obvious – if the characters get together in the first book, there’s no reason to buy the second book.
That being said, 99% of romance stories do have a HEA and it makes sense to become skilled at writing them. Why? Because a bad ending ruins the entire book for your reader. Bad endings have motivated me to completely eliminate a writer from my list. A book MUST have a satisfying HEA if you hope to sell well and garner another book contract.
This exercise is simple. Grab a romance novel from your bookshelf. If you don’t have one, and you really should be reading romance often, then grab a non-romance book from your shelf. It must be fiction.
Rewrite the last page. Write a HEA that you want to read. This may take some time to brainstorm. That’s okay. Give yourself a day or two, no more, and brainstorm a different ending – one that’s still ends happily.