What’s a villain?
In detective, thriller and horror stories, there are obvious villains – low-down disreputable characters, sordid underworld characters, people with a vendetta, generally nasty creatures – or even genteel characters who turn out to be not what they seem.
But in a romance novel? It’s more subtle, I think.
The ‘villain’, I think, is not an obvious one, but just someone who endeavours to keep the hero and heroine apart – for whatever reason.
Personally, I don’t like villains, per se. I think there can be people who are vindictive, jealous, scheming – whatever. If that makes them a villain, then so be it. They can add to the tension – what are they going to do next to put a spoke between the hero and heroine?
But I don’t think that every romance story necessarily needs a villain. The tension between the hero and heroine can be as powerful (or maybe even more so) than anything created by a villain.