The genres of romance and erotica can often be blurred together or confused for each other. A romance novel by definition depicts stories of heroes and heroines involved in marvelous deeds and exploits designed to help the individuals come together as a couple madly in love forever and ever. Whereas, erotica goes beyond simple romance often entailing graphic descriptions of sexual acts between the main characters, sometimes with other characters. Erotica does not always involve romance; sometimes it is the result of a mystery or fantasy.
A romance novel is always about the journey towards love regardless of how easy the path is or whether to road is littered with trials and tribulations. Erotica is not always a journey towards love; sometimes it an exit strategy, a manipulation, or a betrayal. Erotica is not all about happy endings but instead about one blissful moment. Romance does not always result in orgasm where erotica guarantees it.
Erotic novels tap into forbidden fantasies, dark wishes, even darker desires or fears. Erotica often seeks to walk the line between dangerous and deadly. In a sense erotica is more realistic regarding the depths of the human psyche while romance novels are nice easy forms of escapism. Romance looks at all of the tamer, finer points of relationships; the thrill of new love, the instant attractions, the flirtation, the chase, and the conquest. Erotica sometimes travels that same path but offers a glimpse of the passion, anger, and often obsession that prudent people keep securely locked under their exteriors.
So, when searching for that perfect novel, keep in mind what you are looking for; happily ever after or happily right now.