Last night as part of The Great Book Purge, I picked up Tallie’s Knight by Anne Grace. It’s an older HH Regency (2001) that was pretty well-reviewed when it was released, which is perhaps why a used copy made it only my shelf. This passage on page 10 jumped out at me:
The issue of getting an heir was, in fact, the last thing on his mind, even though he was the last of a very distinguished name. Until his journey to Yorkshire it had been a matter of utter indifference to Magnus if his name and title ended with him.
The standard situation for title romance heroes is that they must have an heir in order to pass their title/property/what-have-you. I suppose the logic is that if you are inherently better and deserving of your class or station, it is your duty to continue the family line, protect the assets, etc. There are the occasional heroes in Romancelandia who aren’t obliged to continue the family tradition, but they are generally not dukes or lords. The big exception I can think of off-hand is Simon in Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I. I don’t know, maybe Magnus has a valid reason to be indifferent to the ultimate disposition of his estates and its dependents; but that indifference seems to me like a violation or negation of the social contract underlying his position in Society, which he does seem to enjoy otherwise.