Cupid wasn't always portrayed as the little cherub we know now. In earlier myth he was a beautiful young god in the services of Venus.
Many stories have been written about the love between Cupid and Psyche, going back as far as the fourth century BC.
Psyche is the youngest and most beautiful daughter of a king and queen. Her elder sisters marry, but Psyche is unable to find a husband as she is so beautiful she is regarded as a daughter of Venus. She is worshipped as a goddess instead.
Venus becomes angry at this worship of Psyche and sends Cupid to revenge her. Instead, Cupid falls in love with Psyche. However he is not permitted to love or marry her as he is a god and she is a mortal. He also cannot let Venus know he loves her enemy.
Psyche's father consults an oracle to find out why Psyche has incurred the wrath of the gods and is told Psyche will not find a human husband. Instead she will wed a horrible dragon-like creature.
Psyche is taken to a high hill to meet her fate in a wedding/funeral ritual where she is taken up by the wind Zephyr. Zephyr takes her not to a dragon-like husband but to Cupid.
Psyche wakens in a beautiful place where she is taken as lover by a man who will not reveal his face. Although he is supposedly a monster, she begins to look forward to visits from her unseen husband and becomes pregnant. To assuage her homesickness, Cupid, still unseen by Psyche, sends Zephyr to bring her sisters for a visit. Jealous of the luxury in which she lives, they remind her that her husband is a monster and will surely kill her and her child.
Psyche decides to uncover her husband's identity and sneaks in one night with a lamp and a dagger. She is so startled to see a beautiful man instead of the monster she expected that she wounds herself on one of Cupid's arrows. He flees and she begins to wander the earth looking for her love.
In her wanderings she comes under the power of Venus who arranges for her to be tortured. Then Venus sets tasks for Psyche to accomplish-impossible tasks which she manages to complete.
Meanwhile Cupid flies off to find Psyche. When he finds her, he takes her to Jupiter who, in exchange for favours from Cupid, agrees to allow Psyche to drink from a cup to gain immortality. Now Psyche and Cupid can marry.
So, all you fellow romance readers, the genre apparently was alive and well in the fourth century BC. Those gods and goddesses have love stories just as entangled as we mortals do.
When you celebrate your Valentine's Day, toss a wink to the little cherub to let him know that you know he's not all he appears to be.