Normally, that could not happen, because older romances had a hero and a cad and there was never any redeemable qualities in the guy who did not win (either that or he was a puppy.) However, the modern trend is to write interlocked series. This means that the villain who interferes with the girl in Book One will probably marry the heroine in Book Five. So, the author has to give him a few redeemable qualities.
I love not knowing who is going to win the girl, but – outside of roleplaying games – I seldom find stories that deal with a woman picking between two men (though anime is chock full of men picking between two (or twelve) women. In WAR AND PEACE, I did not know who Natasha would end up with, but I read that over twenty years ago.
What fun this was!
(The book was DESPERATE DUCHESSES by Eloisa James. A bit bawdy for my taste, but she set it in the 1780’s, which were wilder than the Regency period. I do think she made one mistake. The one of the two men had a major skill which the reader did not learn about until the end of the book. He, and therefore the choice of the girl, would have been far more interesting had I known about this.)
PS. I haven't forgotten Politics Part Two, but this week is our VBS (Vacation Bible School) which I helped organize, so I've only had short periods of time. Hopefully, things will be calmer after this, and I can finish part two and post it.