Defiance squared - no, cubed - is the essential quality of a) a Romance Heroine, and b) a science fiction Hero of any species.
Here's the thing about both Romance and Science Fiction readers. We are very aware of how we differ from the majority, while at the same time feeling close kinship with that majority.
You will find the "me against the system" plot arc in long series (C. J. Cherryh's Foreigner novels, etc) and in stand alone novels, or series kick-off novels. The Science Fiction Hero is out to change the world, whether he/she knows it or not.
In the Mysteries of Pacing series (part 7 lists previous parts)
https://aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/2019/11/mysteries-of-pacing-part-7-art-of.htmlwe've looked at "how" a writer can form and mold raw material (the "I've got an idea!" flash of the complete life of a Character) into a linear sequence of Events (plot) and Lessons (story) that tickles the curiosity bump of a specific "majority."
Here is a kickoff novel with long series potential by Joel Dane titled CRY PILOT, with the sequel BURN CYCLE that I haven't read yet.
The title doesn't seem to make sense. One "cries" out for a Corpsman when a soldier is wounded. But that's not what this "cry" means.
Science Fiction fans love a mystery, so a confusing title has a solid place among science fiction novels -- unlike other genres.
So we have to look closer at this oddly titled novel, and right off we are lured into the mindset of a guy determined to outsmart the system he was born embedded into. Aha, my kind of novel!
With a carefully light brush, Joel Dane fills in the intricate and complex world building he's done to create the main Character's goal.
Maseo Kaytu is the odd name that also rivets the attention, a main character determined to survive a mission billed by the system as a suicide mission. Some "Cry Pilots" do survive the flying of these fearsome but old and decrepit weapons platforms.
The current "system" doesn't still know how to build such flying platforms, and just barely knows how to repair them. Resources to do such repairs are scarce, and the enemy they fly against is rapidly destroying these machines.
They are A.I. equipped machines, but will not fly a mission without a human "pilot" (even though the pilot doesn't do much, other than die from G-stress maneuvers.)
The enemy is the Earth itself, seething with bio-engineered, fearsome weapons left over from a doomsday war. Currently, the cobbled together system of government has fielded a counter-bio-engineered weapon designed to "heal" the whole Earth -- and it has made significant progress. Humanity is fighting for time.
Into this system, Maseo Kaytu flings his defiance. He is a criminal with the ambition to earn his way out of the sewer of the system. But there is a lot going on that he doesn't know about. Achieving his immediate goals leads him into a wider battle, and embeds him among a team of equally oddball individuals who just might have a chance - if they work together - of being part of the solution, not the problem.
So you see, this is a novel to read for the plot. But as Maseo's array of acquaintances grows, you will find him focusing on a few women, (one in particular with psi talent) and finding how Relationship is the key ingredient in a winning team effort.
This novel is science fiction in the grand manner, but uses all the modern science you could ask for. It isn't Romance, but has a nascent love story embedded in the plot.
It is a page turner, and well worth a studious read. Think hard, and you will find that to make this series a Romance, you only need to start later in Maseo's life, and trim some scenes to make room for more private adventures.