One of my favourite romance books ever hit all the cliches and kept on running.
Wallflower heroine who
Owned a bookstore and loved romance books
Mercenary hero (back when they were allowed to be mercenaries, instead of now when they have to belong to a secret government agency to commit random acts of murder)
Alpha (misogynistic) hero
She's a Virgin (capital V)
Marriage of Convenience
AND there's a Secret Baby
Bonus points for: her spunky best friend, foreign locale and a band of mercenary 'brothers' he'd give his life for. Oh, and cool nicknames too.
I mean, honestly - does it get any better??? All of this in a category too! Not even single title.
I rarely re-read books. There are so many new books out there and I remember the old ones too well to use up my time that way. But I still re-read this book every couple of years. It hits all the highnotes for me. Her vulnerability, his heroism, caring sex combined with post-coital where-is-this-going confusion, and he gets handed a little bit of humiliation as the price for being a jerkwad.
She grows from a woman who is afraid of living life into someone willing to take chances and stand up for herself. He grows from an asshole into a p-whipped Good Guy[tm] who's willing to change his entire life to make his woman happy. It's such mid-80s goodness I could totally barf.
I still can't forgive my high school friend for borrowing it, NOT READING IT, AND never returning it. I mean seriously, if you're going to lose my fave book ever, at least read it first. It took nine years for a re-issue and guess what, I don't loan it out. Ever.
In fact, last year, I got my bi-annual compulsion to read it and could not find it!!! I have a lot of books, it seems inevitable that some would get lost, or I'd misplace a few by thinking I held on to them when I'd actually taken them to the used book store a year ago. I knew that was not the case with this book. It is simply not possible that I would have let it out of the house again.
I sat on the ground in the bedroom and looked at every single book in my bookcase - and really, it is time to get rid of about a hundred of them - and I still couldn't find it. Luckily my local library had it in their collection and I was able to scratch the itch within a week.
Once again, it did the job. Crisis averted. Day saved.
The author has gone on to do some truly horrific work. Proof positive that even best-selling authors need to stretch their craft and grow beyond the box readers want to put them in. But no matter what came after, I'll always be grateful to her for those 250 pages of pure, unadulterated gold.
Oh, and I found my copy six weeks later, under a dresser that doesn't have room for things to fit under it. Go figure.
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