Forget the spicy pirates of the Fabio days!
Today’s lover of paperback romances demands men of today! Men as wealthy as Warren Buffet, as jet-setting as Aristotle Onassis, and as Tea-Party wholesome as Scott Brown, whose Cosmo spread is just a cowboy hat away from making a perfect cover for Harlequin’s “American Romance” series.
Of course, outside of Curt Schilling or Sean Hannity, you just don’t find all these traits in one man. That’s why the match-makers at Harlequin have labeled their choices for you in taste-specific imprints like “MEN: Made in America,” “International Billionaires” and the much, much dirtier “Nights of Passion.” My big surprise: Turns out Harlequins are the only thing Wal-Mart sells that’s *proud* to be international.
Your Crap Archivist recently passed several pleasurable hours getting acquainted with the hunks of Harlequin’s specialty series on the floor of a used-book store. This Valentine’s Day weekend, why not hunker down with us and meet the virgin’s ruthless billionaire and two other sensual, unforgettable men?
The Ruthless Billionaire’s Virgin
Author: Susan Stephens
Series title: International Billionaires
Other books in series: The Virgin Secretary’s Impossible Boss; Blackmailed Into the Greek Tycoon’s Bed; The Sheikh’s Love Child; Magnate’s Mistress . . . Accidentally Pregnant!
Ideal man: “Unstoppable tycoon” Ethan “The Bear” Alexander, an ex-rugby player and “a dynamo running on adrenalin and sex”
How’s he look? “Terribly scarred” but “a compelling physical presence”; his eyes are “deep gray with just a hint of duck-egg blue” and “blazed with an internal fire women longed to feel scorch them.” Heroine Savannah “shivered at the thought of so much undiluted maleness.”
We know he’s an international billionaire because: To escape the Roman paparazzi, he forces Savannah to ride his motorcycle to his powerboat to his limousine to his jet to his palazzo in Tuscany. Also, that palazzo is a “techno-version of an ivory tower.”
But we know he’s actually a regular guy because: “All he seemed to need was a clean bed and a floor to pace — perhaps with the addition of a giant television screen in every room to catch up on any rugby matches he might have missed.”
He needs a good woman not unlike a Harlequin reader because: Only sensitive, no-nonsense Savannah can get “The Bear” to admit that his uncle used to beat him.
Page they finally get to doin’ it: 112
Pages in book: 185
Least sexy description of sex: “She loved it when his big, warm hands cupped her buttocks, subjecting her to delicious stroking moves as he prepared her.”
Sexiest description of something that isn’t of sex: “She had forgotten how much her diaphragm expanded when she let herself go and really raised the rafters.” (She’s singing.)
Baffling dialogue: “What sort of wet lettuce do you think I am?”
Wait, if he’s so ruthless, why is she still a virgin? Because he’s tormented and needs saving!
Really sad observation: At least once “Savannah” is misprinted as “Susannah.”
Before we get to the next one, it’s worth taking a moment to point out that this kind of gushy fantasy isn’t exclusive to women. Just look what boys are up to on their X-Boxes!
Anyway, here’s another.
The Fireman’s Christmas
Author: Meg Lacey
Series title: “American Romance”
Other books in series: The Christmas Cowboy, Cowboy Dad, Falling for the Deputy, The Cowboy From Christmas Past
Ideal man: Hunky fireman and widower Danny Santori, who lives in a romantic old Victorian house and is restoring a sailboat he named Santori’s Gang in honor of his four kids.
How’s he look? “. . . one of those lucky hunks with all the right equipment in all the right places.”; “all he needed was an eye-patch and cutlass and he’d be right at home on the set of a classic swashbuckling pirate movie.”
We know he’s a made-in-America regular guy because: Danny’s a fireman. Also, he dismisses juice, insisting Kool Aid is good enough for his kids.
He needs a good woman not unlike a Harlequin reader because: Only no-nonsense Tessa can babysit for him and teach him to accept that his teen daughter is becoming a woman.
The heroine needs to settle down with a hunk because: Before she finds true love she says eccentric things like, “I admire women who are completely fulfilled with their marriage and all, but I don’t want to be one of them.”
Page they finally start doin’ it: 165
Pages in book: 214
Least sexy description of sex: “For the next few minutes the sounds of nature at its most contented were echoed by the groans of desire from Tessa and Danny as they moved toward fulfillment.”
Sexiest description of something that isn’t sex: “The twins stripped faster than a porn star and dropped the clothes to the floor.” (The twins are Danny’s young boys.)
Wait, how can he be a regular fireman/cowboy/deputy sort of American man if he owns a sailboat? “The sailboat was large enough to have a cabin for overnight trips but not so large as to be overwhelming.”
If these Harelquin men aren’t your thing, perhaps you would be interested in some Beatles slash fiction. In the story “Curious Fingers,” narrator “George Harrison” describes a hard day’s night with his cutest friend:
“[Paul] trailed his curious finger all the way down my back…Until eventually it was up my ass. I’m sure you were not expecting THAT to happen, nor was I.”
Now might be a good time to listen to “Fixing a Hole” again. Anyway, since your Crap Archivist can go all night, here’s one more.
Naughty Nights in the Millionaire’s Mansion
Author: Robyn Grady
Series title: “Nights of Passion”
Other books in series: Bedded for Diamonds, The Tycoon’s Virgin, Two Weeks in the Magnate’s Bed, Purchased for Pleasure
Ideal man: “Workaholic man-god” Mitch Stuart, pet-loving millionaire from Sydney apparently just a couple zeroes away from qualifying for “International Billionaires.” Currently “on sabbatical” from women because recent paramours like “up-and-coming lingerie model Priscilla Lawson” had fallen victim to “helpless female factor,” which Stuart likens to “an airborne virus.”
How’s he look? The heroine suffers a “sumptuous shock wave” after studying his “classically-cut profile,” “coal-fringed lashes,” “hawkish nose,” “Olympian authority,” “the sizzle of his gaze,” and “the precise cut of his trousers.”
He’s still a regular guy because: He hates cats.
He needs a good woman not unlike a Harlequin reader because: Only no-nonsense pet-store proprietor Vanessa Craig can help him handle his difficult mother…and teach him that cats aren’t that bad!
Page they finally get to doin’ it: 69!
Pages in book: 189
Least sexy description of sex: “As if on direct dial, the tips of her breasts picked up, tightening to responsive beads beneath her t-shirt.”
Runner up: “Having peeled off his briefs when he’d ditched his jeans, his unrestrained erection gave a friendly nudge and the movement persuaded her hips to part.”
Sexiest description of something that isn’t sex: Overwhelmed by the intensity of his gaze — compelling yet at the same time almost cool — she dropped her eyes and forked around her fried rice.” (She is impregnating her meal. Also, she was holding her eyes.)
Unforgivable Sentence: “The construction of the opera house had taken seventeen years to build.”
There you have it! The finest soft-core, emotion-driven objects of lady-pleasing fantasy since the glory days of Michael Bolton. For all their Olympian grandeur, these men all share one key trait, one lonely fellows might consider adopting: They all adore no-nonsense, cat-loving women.
[The Crap Archivist lives in Kansas City, where he originates his on-line Studies for the Voice‘s sister paper, The Pitch.]
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