She was a blonde with ocean-blue eyes. She couldn't resist his chiseled body or his dark hair.

"Please don't leave me," she begged.

"I must — You're un-romantic," he said, and then he blew out of town on I-15.

Salt Lake City ranks dead last for romance among 236 cities across the nation, according to Amazon.com, which evaluated the cities based on the number of romance novels and relationship and sex books sold on a per capita basis since Jan. 1.

Also rating sexless in the city are residents of Pomona and El Monte, both in Southern California. Amazon's survey of per capita sales included cities with at least 100,000 residents.

Three cities in Virginia ranked in the top 20 — proving the state really is for lovers. Alexandria was No. 1, Arlington came in at No. 9 and Richmond was No. 19.

Some local booksellers accused Amazon of being superficial in its rankings. Jenn Northington, marketing manager of The King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, says her store doesn't sell grocery store-style romance novels, but Salt Lakers still pine for a good love story. An example is the success of "The

Last Cowgirl," a Western romance by local author Jana Richman, Northington said.

Utah-based relationship coach Matt Townsend said that because many Utahns are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, book sales in Utah may be low simply because people don't have time to read, with the demands of having large families.

"I think we're super-occupied with family," said Townsend, who runs Marriage Matters Utah. "Our discretionary time is not romantic but more day-to-day — getting the kids to the carpool."

Utahns also aren't buying romance novels and sex books because some of them feel a shame associated with sex, he said.

"A lot of it is the culture we live in, where we're not openly talking about sex anyway," Townsend said. "You know, the idea that we go buy books about it (is unusual). It's our conservative nature."


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