When an author writes for the same publisher, her books tend to have a similar look, at least if the books are similar in tone and published within a span of a few years. Marianne Stillings, whose contemporary romances I've really enjoyed, has had two cartoon covers like the one for The Damsel in This Dress. Cute. I like cartoon covers, but it seems to me there's been a bit of a backlash against them, and a return to beefcake covers.
This certainly seems to be the case with Marianne's books. After two cute cartoon covers, her next book, Sighs Matter, has a serious beefcake attack. Not that I'm complaining or anything; I like beefcake, too. But I wonder why the change. Are cartoon covers really on their way out, or does Avon think the packaging on her books isn't quite right, and that she could sell more books with sexier covers? Does the switch to what the Smart Bitches call man-titty reflect the current enthusiasm in New York for hotter books? As I recall, the book was originally called Claire and Present Danger, so it appears they're playing down the suspense angle as well, in favor of a sexier title.
Beats the heck out of what the reasons behind this are. But I find the change interesting... and surprising.