Okay, you guys — I apologize in advance for recycling old posts, but I’ve recently been reminded about Missy, and I’m thinking she needs to come out of the closet again. But — I also don’t know my schedule this week (methinks it will be one of THOSE weeks) so I’m taking the lazy way out, and reposting a few of these.
And, double loser Meljean, how sad is this? I went back to copy the post from the old blog, from May 2005, and found 204 spam comments, and three reader comments that I hadn’t noticed before (or responded to). Sorry 🙁 Cindy, Jill Monroe, and withoutwit, I sucketh.
Memory Lane: Meljean’s first romance novel (more after the jump)
I’ve been thinking a lot about reader nostalgia (my own) lately. There are times when I’m not certain if I like a book because of my fond memories of it, or because it actually was very good.
My first introduction to romance novels was through Harlequin Presents. I’d picked up a few of my grandmother’s before (mostly Harlequin Romances, but the pictures on the front were from the sixties and very cartoony, and usually with nurses and doctors (I think grandma maybe had a doctor fetish now that I think about it)) but had never bothered to read them (plus, I would have gotten in trouble for reading them–no, I was supposed to stay out of the room with the shelves packed full of books and be a good girl and watch He-Man. Which I did–but I also snuck into that room and swiped a book).
That book was Carole Mortimer’s ONLY LOVER. Published originally in 1979, it made paperback in its current form in 1982. I picked it up and read it under my covers when I was eight. I was born in 1977, so it was six years out of date, but still relatively contemporary.
I loved the book, and kept it as long as I could but eventually it was lost or traded or borrowed or something, and along with many of the other books I loved, went the way of Crystal Pepsi. However, since I was wondering, I got online at Thriftbooks and bought it, along with several others I particularly remember loving.
And (try to contain your excitement) this is the conversation I had with 8-year-old Missy as I read the book again:
Hmm. I’ll leave the cover snark to the Smart Bitches, because they are much, much better at it than I am. But…uhhhhn.
MISSY: I don’t remember it having a cover.
MELJEAN: You’re right, kid. The copy you had was sans cover. Maybe grandma swiped it from an illegal not-really-destroyed bin anyway? Grandma, really!
GRANDMA’S GHOST: Wasn’t me. There isn’t a doctor on it, Missy.
MELJEAN: I’m not called Missy anymore, Grandma.
GRANDMA’S GHOST: No, because you had to hide your name because you write those naughty books. You should really only read Betty Neels and the nice, decent Regencies.
GRANDMA’S GHOST: Oh, dearie, it’s alright. Have a cinnamon roll.
MELJEAN: **stuffs her face, immediately feels better** Onto the back copy!
Dare she strike a deal with this man?
Farrah knew her father’s career would be ruined unless she intervened–and swiftly. One simple, human error shouldn’t be held against him, she decided. And she was sure that his employer, the handsome dynamic Joel Falcone, would understand…
But Joel’s hardheaded response shocked her. He would help her, on one condition: that she pretend to be his lover!
Farrah felt uneasy at the cold calculation behind his offer. And even more uneasy at how disturbingly attractive she found him. Yet she had no choice….
MELJEAN: **bursts into uncontrollable laughter**
MISSY: Oooooh, this sounds so exciting!
MELJEAN: God, kid. “Handsome dynamic”?
MISSY: **nods enthusiastically** I dunno what that means, but I will read this book, I will! I will even sacrifice my beloved being-with-my-horse time to read it!
MELJEAN: Alrighty, then, on with the excerpt that lured you in!
“Your body is lovely–and I should know”
Farrah shivered at the seduction in Joel’s voice as he went on. “I wanted you that night. A fleeting emotion but true nonetheless.”
Disbelieving, she stared into the sleepy passion of his narrowed eyes. “You wanted me?” she repeated tremulously.
“Yes.” His hand covered the nervous movements of hers. “Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t.” He smiled mockingly. “I don’t usually make love to women I find unattractive.”
She gasped. “But you didn’t make love to me!”
“No, but I could have. It was too soon, that’s all. It wasn’t the right time for us.”
“It will never be the right time!” Farrah cried indignantly. “I won’t be used in this pretense!”
MISSY: Make love? They’re talking about sex, right? *giggle*
MELJEAN: God, you were freakishly young to be so interested in sex.
MISSY: I’ve seen the dirty magazines. I took them in a closet and looked at the boobies and wieners. And I saw a cartoon where Superman squeezes a woman’s boobies so hard, her nipples pop off and hit the ceiling.
MELJEAN: Ouch! Poor Lois. An-ee-way! This has all the indications of a 70’s/80’s Presents: the hero’s constant mocking, her indignation, his assholedom…
MISSY: My ears!
MELJEAN: Jesus, kid, you just said you looked at wieners in a closet.
MISSY: Yeah, but I didn’t listen to bad words. And what does indignation mean?
MELJEAN: You stupid little girl.
MISSY: **sobs** I’m telling Mommy!
MELJEAN: Alright, alright! Here’s a cookie. Now let’s see how this book opens.
[TRUNCATED VERSION] Joel is sitting at his uber-masculine desk when Farrah Halliday walks nervously in, and he thinks she is beautiful and looks completely innocent, although his “cynical disbelief of all women” convinces him that it is all an act.
FARRAH: (trembling inside, but proud) Oh, my daddy stole some money, but he had a good reason!
JOEL: I don’t care, you beautiful little girl you, you must pretend to be my lover until my former mistress is convinced I won’t return to her, and she sells me back her shares in my company!
MISSY: What does “arrogant” mean?
MELJEAN: It means he’s a stupid, conceited, treat-her-like-she’s-a-slut motherfucker.
MISSY: I don’t believe you! And I’m going to pronounce it “uh-ROW-gant” until I’m like, fifteen, just so that I can embarrass you in front of a bunch of people when you read the word out loud in English class.
MELJEAN: You little bitch!
JOEL: You little tempting bitch of mine! I know you are a slut!
FARRAH: No! No! I hate you! But I am disturbingly attracted to you!
FARRAH’S DADDY: He’s as old as I am! And he’s a womanizer! He’ll just take your virginity and toss you away!
FARRAH: Daddy, I love him! (aside) I can’t let my daddy know I’m doing it all for his sake!
MISSY: It’s all so romantic! Do you see how she is trying to save her daddy? Oh, and Joel is so dark and handsome.
MELJEAN: He’s 37! She’s 19! There’s something wrong about this. It’s like a daddy-fantasy gone wrong. She’s taking the place of her mother in taking care of the father. And because her father is weak and impotent, she replaces him with a sexually viable alternative.
MISSY: Is there such a thing as a daddy-fantasy gone right?
MELJEAN: You’re acting out of character! You aren’t supposed to say such grown-up things!
MISSY: Your heroine has daddy-issues.
MELJEAN: My heroine has reality issues that involve her father, and they aren’t the least bit sexual. And the other one…well, her daddy’s the devil, what do you expect? And it still isn’t sexual!
MISSY: Whatever you say. Can I have another cookie?
FARRAH: I’m a virgin!
JOEL: Like I’m going to believe you, you slut with your “unawakened eyes”! You’ve been doing that pallid Englishman boyfriend of yours for years!
JOEL: Oh, but I can’t resist you! **kisses Farrah punishingly**
MISSY: He touched her boob! And they are both aroused! This is the best thing EVER!
MELJEAN: You know, I never thought about this before, but a lot of the Presents heroes are dark and foreign. Joel is Italian American–
MISSY: I don’t get the Mafia joke Farrah made that got Joel all pissed off.
MELJEAN: –and you won’t get it for several years yet, sweetie. Now where was I? Oh, yes! The Harlequin Presents race fetish.
MISSY: Are they running somewhere?
MELJEAN: ….never mind, sweetie.
FARRAH: Oh, you treat me like shit! Go to hell!
JOEL: I’m already in hell.
MISSY: Oh, poor Farrah and Joel! They love each other, don’t they realize that?
JOEL: I love you! Oh, and you are a virgin! You saved it all for me!
FARRAH: I love you, too! I never thought it could be true!
MISSY: **happy sigh** I can’t wait to read more of these!
MELJEAN: I can’t wait to read a different one.
Up Next: Missy reads her first Silhouette Desire!