MELJEAN: How old are you now, kid?
MISSY: Nine. And you are a liar.
MISSY: You said this was my first Silhouette Desire. It’s not. I read two before this one: Rare Breed by Janet Joyce and Through Laughter and Tears by Marie Nicole.
MELJEAN: Oh, yeah! You read them in Auntie Joy’s tent-trailer when you were camping on the Oregon coast that one year.
MELJEAN: But this is the first one you really loved. So much that you used to sneak it down to Auntie Joy’s basement to read every time you visited her.
MISSY: Well, she was the only one who bought the Desire line.
MELJEAN: And then you stuffed it down your pants one day and stole it.
MELJEAN: You little dork.
MISSY: Shut up. Let’s get on with it, huh?
MELJEAN: Alright. So what book is this?
MISSY: Whenever I Love You by Alana Smith (SD#10).
MELJEAN: Why the italics? Usually you use capitals for titles.
MISSY: It’s too confusing, what with our names all in caps and shit.
MELJEAN: You have such a dirty mouth. Let’s take a gander at the cover and back copy.
Hers was the face that launched a dream of love…
She was Treneau Cosmetics’ goddess of beauty, Diana Nolan, the company’s newest rising young executive, suddenly plucked from behind the camera to star in front of its relentless eye. But the sharpest eye of all belonged to Paul Treneau, the dynamic young cosmetics czar who spirited her away to his Hawaiian paradise, “on location” for love. He said it was business. Yet the woman who had inspired a multimillion dollar ad campaign had ignited in him a spark of desire fated to blaze out of control.
MELJEAN: How odd that the last sentence didn’t end in an ellipsis.
MISSY: She’s sooooo pretty.
MELJEAN: You do realize that you have a weird fascination with black-haired women named Diana?
MELJEAN: Think about it. Who does she remind you of?
MISSY: …….Wonder Woman?
MELJEAN: Uh huh. And didn’t you want to be the little half-lizard girl that Diana, the black-haired villainess from the V miniseries took up into her spaceship?
MISSY: And Diana Lynch from Trixie Belden was one of my favorites. I liked Trixie better, though…..Holy Lesbian Tendencies, Batman!
MISSY: So I grow up to be a lesbian?
MELJEAN: Nah, more bi, but heterosexual by default.
MISSY: What the hell does that mean?
MELJEAN: Well, I am married to a man, and I am monogamous.
MISSY: Hmmm. But do you think about it?
MELJEAN: Sure. I find a lot of women attractive, sexually and otherwise. I’m okay with fantasizing about it now and then. It’s not like I lie in bed and sob while masturbating, thinking about the lost lady-loving opportunities. Don’t worry, kid. We’re totally happy the way things are.
MISSY: Is he cute?
MELJEAN: Ah, yeah. With really muscular man-boobies.
MISSY: Hmmm. Good. But did you ever…like in college…?
MELJEAN: This is not the time, kid. Let’s talk about the book. Where’s that excerpt?
“Don’t Refuse Me, Diana!”
came the hoarse whisper as his mouth covered hers.
Diana’s arms slipped up his neck, her fingertips becoming lost in the soft maze of his hair and her body molding itself to his lean, hard form as she dwelled in the passionate ecstasy of his kiss.
Paul lifted her within his arms and carried her to the bed. The robe dropped from her form as a guiding pressure eased her onto the bed. From somewhere outside of herself she watched, thinking all of this might very well be a dream. Had she only wished it so?
If it’s a dream, please let it linger, she silently begged. And if not, no reservations, no regrets…
MELJEAN: Ah, there’s the ellipsis.
MISSY: Why are you thinking about the ellipsis? They’re totally going to get it ON!
MELJEAN: Yeah, this is part of what SDs delivered: a hotter love story, and usually consummated on-screen. Not as much fade-away as a Harlequin Presents.
MELJEAN: Shall we start reading?
Delicate silver threads of pale moonlight covered the room like fine Belgian lace, the soft glow resting on two figures in an enormous bed.
Beneath the brass headboard, wide-awake jade eyes studied the tawny head nestled on the opposite pillow. With a low moan, the large man rolled away, releasing the tense figure lying in wait.
MISSY: **stunned** They…they…have already had sex!! Before the book even starts! They’ve already done it! Without knowing each other!! It’s a heroine who has had a one-night stand!!
MELJEAN: Why is his hair “tawny”? Is it just me, or does the word “tawny” bring to mind a woman dressed in a spandex Jane Fonda workout outfit, wearing leg warmers and tights, with huge Farrah Fawcett hair? “Hi, I’m Tawny!”
MISSY: Shut. UP! Do you hear what I’m saying???
MELJEAN: Yeah, but it’s not such a big deal now, kid.
MISSY: Really? Oh my god, I can’t wait until I’m older.
[THE QUICK-AND-DIRTY VERSION]
Diana runs away from the bed. “Oh, why did I give into my sensual impulses again!”
The next day…
(In the boardroom of Treneau Cosmetics) We need to find a model to launch our new campaign!
(On a picnic with her photographer friend)
PHOTOGRAPHER: Let me take some pictures of you, Diana. (aside) God, she’s hot, and she can be my ticket to photographer stardom!
DIANA: Oh, you’re so silly! But I’ll sit here and think of the guy I humped last night, and you will take an amazing pic of me!
COMPANY GUY: Check out these photos!
PAUL: I’m the uber-mysterious CEO of my company, and no one ever sees me except this Company Guy…and who the fuck is that?
CG: Diana. She’s hot.
PAUL: I want her…for the campaign. (aside) I can’t believe I found that hot chick who screwed me sideways and then ran away from me!
DIANA: I wonder why I have been invited up to the zillionth floor to meet the uber-mysterious CEO of the company!
PAUL: Guess what, Diana?
DIANA: Oh my god! You are the guy I humped!
PAUL: That’s right, and now you are a model! You’re advertising exec position has already been filled by another person!
DIANA: I guess I have no choice, since you fired me and shit.
PAUL: Let my show you my special lagoon…and I’ll show you something else, too!
MISSY: They’re doing it again! And it’s only page 48! God, I love this book!
MELJEAN: Yeah, but you know what surprises me? It’s not very detailed. For some reason, I remembered these being much less euphemistic. Check out this consummation:
His ardent, prolonged foreplay was once again wakening a deep, longing passion her body could no longer deny. Tremors of need began to consume her. Paul answered her silent plea, easing down to the cool blanket of velvet grass and carrying her with him. He lay stretched on his side, resting his head upon a bend arm and indulging himself in a brazen study of her nude, vulnerable figure, inch by slow inch. For a few torturing, delightful seconds he ran the palm of his hand over her taut breasts, murmuring in a low husky voice, “This custom is universal, Diana.” Then their lips met and their bodies collided in tempestuous desire.
In the warmth of the midday tropical sun, beneath clear indigo skies and swaying palm trees stirred by gentle trade winds, Paul Treneau reclaimed the renegade who had eluded him.
MISSY: **eyes wide** I’ve never read anything like this before!
MELJEAN: It is refreshing that there isn’t a big to-do made about them not loving each other before having sex–it doesn’t carry the same “to enjoy sex you must love or you’re just a slut” connotation. I do like that.
MISSY: Shut up! Let’s keep going!
DIANA: I’m a star!
PAUL: Diana, you are mine!
DIANA: Okay, but…I can never give myself to you emotionally…because I’ve had sex before…and was betrayed!!
PAUL: Find this asshole who betrayed her, so that she can face her demons.
COMPANY GUY: Uh, are you sure that’s smart?
PAUL: Do it!
OLD LOVER: Diana, I still love you!
DIANA: I don’t love you!
PAUL: You’re all torn up over him!
DIANA: Why’d you have to bring him here, you prick?
PAUL: Who cares? Let’s do it again!
MISSY: They are doing it again! It’s like the fifth time! And she doesn’t even know she loves him yet!
MELJEAN: Yawn. You know, this doesn’t actually give a good idea of Paul’s character. He’s just a…well, bland, rich, tawny hero. The photographer has more scenes from his POV than Paul does.
MISSY: He’s rich and ruthless and he wants her for his own. What else do you need to know?
MISSY: Shut up! They are doing it again!
SOME GUY: Stop eating peanut butter or you’ll get fat!
DIANA: Ah, damn. I’ll eat a carrot then.
SOME GUY: Hey, do you want to meet a guy from the rival cosmetics company? He totally wants you to model for him.
DIANA: I’ll meet with him, but I’m not going to betray Paul.
PAUL: You met with my competitor!
DIANA: You had me followed?
PAUL: I was worried about you! And you betrayed me!
DIANA: I didn’t!
PAUL: Why the hell should I believe you?
DIANA: Because I love you! (runs away)
PAUL: (chases after her, catches her in the street) Oh, I love you too! **kiss**
MISSY: Oh my god that was the most romantic sexiest most wonderful book ever!
MELJEAN: It was…no, I’m not convinced they are in love.
MISSY: Shut up, twit!
MELJEAN: No, really. I mean we never really get to know Paul, different non-main-character POVs are all over the place, Diana never really changes…it’s just not as effective as I remember it.
MISSY: Hey! You didn’t have this book anymore–you had to buy it again. Why did you call it a DIK in the title?
MELJEAN: Because I remembered something else I did with it.
MELJEAN: In a few months, you are going to put it in your Survival Kit.
MISSY: Oh? OH! **blushes** Okay, shut up now.
MELJEAN: Hehe. It will be the one romance book that you take with you when you decide to run away.
MISSY: But I totally want to go live in the woods and be a Wild Girl and make friends with the animals and eat plants and leaves and build my own tree house, and that is what the Survival Kit is for…it has my pocketknife and a few clothes and books on edible plants and a Walt Morey book and Marguerite Henry, because I LOVE King of the Wind–do I ever do it?
MELJEAN: Yep. You sneak out at six-thirty one morning, and lock the door behind you so they don’t know that you’ve gone right away…
MISSY: I become a Wild Girl!
MELJEAN: …you make it ten yards into the woods before you chicken out and run back to the house. The locked house.
MISSY: Uh oh.
MELJEAN: And so you sneak around the back of the house and stash the Survival Kit under the porch so that no one will see it, and try to get in through the window of the Red Room. And you get stuck.
MISSY: Oh no.
MELJEAN: And Jennifer finds you stuck half in the window, bawling your eyes out.
MISSY: Do I get in trouble for trying to run away?
MELJEAN: Nah, you make up some story about having a nightmare about goblins and trying to escape through the window.
MELJEAN: You are such an idiot. Mom and Dad never bought that story for an instant. And Auntie Joy gave you some speech about “You know how much your parents love you, right?”
MISSY: Ah, hell. Does she know I stole her book?
MELJEAN: She probably does now.
Up next: The first romance that makes Missy bawl her eyes out.