See sections 1.3.6 on "Popular Romance" and 4.3, on "The Dragonslayer in Modern Historical Romance." Subsection 184.108.40.206 deals with "Teresa Medeiros's The Bride and the Beast (2000)" and 220.127.116.11 with "Gaelen Foley's Lord of Fire (2002)."
the happy ending in romance should not be confused with a mere fairytale "...and they lived happily ever after". Instead it is shorthand for Our Love Will Overcome All Further Obstacles. (303)
References to the motif of the dragonslayer can be found in more or less all formats and subgenres of romance. [...] Yet these references are usually kept short and seldom cover more than a sentence or two. As far as I could determine, up to the mid-2000s the motif appeared only in one subgenre as a structural element and thus as part of the story itself: in historical romance. (306-307)
With the allusions to wolves, lions and other predators, another motif is introduced to popular romance, namely that of the animal bridegroom (AaTh 425 and variants). And which animal, which wild animal bridegroom could be more dangerous and present a greater challenge than a wolf, a tiger, a lion? Only one creature: the dragon. And it is in exactly this form that the motif of the dragonslayer is most often used in popular romance. (317)