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Millennials say we want Tinder and 'ghosting'. But in our secret hearts we want Mills & Boon

Art from the cover of 'No Holding Back' by Kate Walker Credit: Mills & Boon

Mills & Boon, publisher of racy romance fiction for over a hundred years, knows well what women want – at least in their fantasies. And, surprise surprise, it isn’t the hyper-controlled, pre-meditated, and ultra-efficient possibilities of tech-mediated dating that we dream of.

No, it's sexy strangers appearing suddenly and out of nowhere, seducing us against our better judgement and without a careful read of his LinkedIn profile. Readers of Mills & Boon want luck, chance and fate to seal their fates, for control to be wrested by a passionate knight in shining armour. 

But fantasy is one thing and real life another, which – as its major new guide to modern romance suggests – the publisher also knows. The Rules of Romance, based on a survey of 2,000 people, is an attempt by Mills & Boon to knit together its fictional world – one of untrammelled, seemingly timeless romance – with the un-romantic...

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