If you have a vampire, and you're just trying to survive the vampire: Horror. If you're going to blow the vampire up: It's urban fantasy. And if you're going to have sexy time with the vampire: It's paranormal romance.
Paranormal Romance is the subgenre of romance where, instead of being a Fantasy with a romantic subplot, the relationship is brought to the front and the heroine finds her true love when supernatural forces are involved.
So instead of the motley cast of misfits heading out on a journey to slay the Evil Overlord with two characters suffering from UST, the heroine gets zapped back in time. She's lost, lonely and confused with no known way of getting back. To add to her worries, she doesn't realize she has romantic feelings toward that man standing over there with the top hat and monocle. Using sci-fi and fantasy to create an exotic location for your romance story is fine, provided that the budding romance between the two lovers is the main plot point. The story can even take place in the Standard Fantasy Setting.
That being said Paranormal Romance can be combined with any other genre out there. Stories can blur the line between focusing on the relationship and focusing on the setting, plot, and action.
Common plots include:
- The heroine gets sent back in time and falls in love.
- The heroine moves into a Haunted House and falls in love with a ghost.
- The heroine or her true love has ESP and we get to see how having ESP can both help and hinder the path to true love.
- In Twilight, Bella is a human torn between loving a vampire and a werewolf. Since the series is a huge seller inspiring truly frightening amounts of fannish devotion, this led to Follow the Leader, making Twilight the Trope Codifier.
- The Vampire Diaries
- The Cornersville Trace Mythos
- The Dark Hunters
- The Alien Series
- The Host
- Black Dagger Brotherhood
- Immortals After Dark
- Wicked Lovely
- Sookie Stackhouse
- Hush, Hush
- Night World