I get that current Harlequin titles are designed to shove in certain keywords to raise sales. I do. But aside from sounding same-y and somewhat silly, the real problem is that it makes it nearly impossible to remember which title went with what story.
Which, I know: Harlequin’s business model has historically been built around BIG SALES NOW and then the books disappear from the shelves and are replaced by the next crop. You aren’t SUPPOSED to remember the titles and go looking for old ones you remember fondly. But…now that you can backorder them for months from Amazon or the Book Depository, or download out-of-date ones onto kindle, wouldn’t it make more sense to make the titles a little more memorable?
All of which is a long lead-in to my point: I loved A Not-So-Innocent Seduction, but boy, I do not love that title. If I’m not actually looking at the cover I cannot even remember what it is called, and I finished it five minutes ago. Christ.
Published: April 2014
Reasons I Might Actually Remember This One: The heroine was a secretly-rich flower child who travels around in a vintage volkswagon van named Bessie, and the hero was a boringly responsible hotel owner-manager who was kind of a jerk but in an understandable (because of his past) way. HOW COULD I NOT REMEMBER THIS ONE? Although I may have to make up a private nickname for it.
“You are determined that I will obey you, so you stretch out on your back and force me to service you.” (p. 96)
That goes on for several pages, and I love it, because it reads exactly as though Zoe has read way too many bodice-rippers. They do it again near the end of the novel, too. It’s hilarious both times.
But aside from the hot sex, they keep clashing because she has secrets and he has…a stick up his arse.
“Wait,” Liam said, lurching to his feet and grabbing her by the shoulders. “I told you I love you. Doesn’t that warrant a response of some sort?”
She smiled at him politely, as she would a stranger. “Of course, it does….Go to hell, Liam.” (p. 175)
Her father shows up and she confronts him, and she can finally see that he really can’t control her anymore, and the threats (to have her arrested, to keep her away from her mother) are just the blusterings of a bully. She leaves Liam behind (since he basically just called her a thief) and returns home, able to visit her mother now that her father’s been defanged.
And then Liam shows up in her repaired van and grovels, and they ride off for an extended road trip, because he’s finally realized he can take time off without the world collapsing. Yay!
Vintage Volkswagon Van (Bessie)
Guitar-Playing Flower Child
Limitless Platinum Credit Card
Lavish Hotel Setting
Responsible Head of his Family/Business Empire
The Odd Couple
Romance Novel Sex (Viking Variety)
Controlling Bastard Businessman (the heroine’s father)
Huge Oirish Family (the hero’s siblings and mother)
Secretly Wealthy Heroine