This post comes out of a category romance I read yesterday. I won't mention names because I'd hate to have my own novels used as examples of annoying genre books, but I have to share my pet peeves when it comes to annoying romance plots.
First is the noble lie. For whatever reason one of the perfect couple (and it's usually the sighing heroine) decides they must lie for the good of all. This lie then keeps the couple apart for the length of the book. Often being solved by a deux machina in time for the requisite happy ending. Bah. Why would you want to be involved with a proven liar who sacrifices your happiness? Those heroes need to wise up and move on.
Second is the heroine who failed toddler school. She never asks "Why?" although a simple, straightforward question would resolve all the plot hiccups. Of course, the novel would be only a chapter long. Call her the self-torturing heroine, or idiot.
Third is the heroine who needs rescuing. I love a gothic romance as much as anyone, but some authors lose their gumption. Instead of sticking with the conventions of a damsel in distress story, they worry that a modern woman should rescue herself. So they pile on trauma after trauma in an effort to show the independent feisty heroine does need the hero's help. Uh, that many traumas and a normal woman would be in hospital. You really can't kiss and make it all better.
There are probably more irritating cliche plots, but these are my current top three. What are yours?