During bad times, we want an escape – so Americans often turn to those sordid, steamy paperback novels found on grocery store racks featuring Fabio-like men seducing scantily clad women. During the four years before the recession hit, sales of romance novels were flat, according to romance publisher Harlequin Enterprises. But in 2009, the romance category took off, with overall sales up 7 percent and Harlequin making a $3 million gain year-on-year. At Barnes & Noble, romance novels are the one bright spot, even with overall sales decreasing. Plus, it helps that they’re often $7.99 or less.