One thing I've always found curious is the reaction of other writers to age differences between lovers. Most of them accept an age span as perfectly acceptable in historical romances. If it's in jolly old England during the Regency era, then of course it's okay for a 17 year old female to find love with a decades older man. However, move the characters forward to 2009 and suddenly it's wrong and makes them out and out uncomfortable.
There is distance and time enough to justify the Regency. But put the same couple in today's world, and fears over what is and isn't socially acceptable change the dynamic. I dislike and generally refuse to acknowledge most lines and labels. Even if I didn't, books are the best place to explore, to push the boundaries. If you're perfectly content to follow the herd, then why would you need fiction?
In my novel, E-mail Enticement, a 17 year old and a thirty something fall madly in love in a hot and steamy, read it with your favorite partner nearby kind of way. He teaches her about hypocrisy and she teaches him that you're never too old to hurt. They battle community opinion and the law and learn that redeeming some things means losing others. In the story, age provides the barrier that love must overcome.
In Email, Alix realizes that the calendar is only a function of how men count time. Mother Nature gives maturity at her own pace. That's one of the reasons I wrote the story. Whether it's Regency England or modern day Myrtle Beach, one size doesn't fit all.
Love doesn't have a watch or a calendar.