Harlequin Mills & Boon: Lesbian Virgin Fiction?

From very alert reader Cora comes this bit of HILARITY. This month’s Mills & Boon Newsletter highlights some of their recommended titles, including Kathleen O’Reilly’s Sex, Straight Up, which is being released by M&B as Intoxicating!

That’s all well and drunken fun but… what’s this? Looks like The Virgin Secretary’s Impossible Boss got a whole new workplace problem.



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  1. 1
    Ari Thatcher says:

    OMG! Maybe it’s only a D/s thing they have going on, with roll reversal.

  2. 2
    June says:

    Holy sh*t, Carole Mortimer is still writing Harlequins?  Those were some of my first romances. Back in like the

    late seventies or so


    God I’m getting old.

  3. 3
    JenB says:

    Ok, I feel really stupid for asking this, but what makes y’all think she’s a lesbian? I’ve stared at the cover and the book description for 10 minutes and still can’t figure it out. :(

  4. 4
    Lynette says:

    Don’t feel bad JenB, I’m doing the same thing. LOL.

  5. 5
    June says:

    The actual title is the Virgin Secretary’s Impossible BOSS.  But the promo sent out says it’s the Virgin Secretary’s Impossible BRIDE.

    Maybe the boss is a tranny.

  6. 6
    JenB says:

    Lynette – Oh, good. Hopefully someone will come along and enlighten us soon. I feel so dumb! lol

  7. 7
    Arresi says:

    It’s the title.

  8. 8
    JenB says:

    June – OH!!! Duhhhhhhhhh. I didn’t even see that. Wow. I’ve been picking apart a book for unnecessary commas all day and didn’t even see a giant word like BRIDE. *headdesk* Thanks!

  9. 9
    Snakeling says:

    Maybe it’s the guy who is a secretary and a virgin, and the woman who is the hot’n’sexy billionaire boss. I’d love to read that, actually!

  10. 10
    June says:

    I would totally read that book too, Snakeling.  In fact, I would prefer it!

  11. 11
    mingqi says:

    JenB, I was also staring at it for the longest time trying to figure it out!  I guess the publishers were using a computer-generated program to make up a title and it went awry.

  12. 12
    Carin says:

    OK, I was totally stuck, too, til reading the comments.  And, Snakeling, I’d read that book, too!

  13. 13

    Man, I would TOTALLY read The Virgin Secretary’s Impossible Bride, and I am disappointed to hear that this book does not in fact exist.

    I don’t know about the rest of you folks, but I’m smelling contest fodder here. I’m thinking 100 words on what exactly the impossible bride is!

  14. 14

    I would read that other book! Both the one with the guy virgin and the one with the women!

    The current version, not so much.

    [Also, thanks to you guys, I’m getting a copy of PREGNESIA to love and cherish forever]

  15. 15
    marley says:

    is it just me or does that title remind you of the “random romance title generator” a little too much?

  16. 16

    I think this is one of those things where the punchline is “The doctor is a woman!” Men can be both virgin and secretaries, and most men are the first for somewhere between ten and ninety years of their lives.

    But this gives me an idea…

  17. 17
    Lizzie (greeneyed fem) says:

    June, I just wanted to let you know that some regular readers of this site know and love trans individuals—I’m one of them, and encountering the casual use of the word “tranny” can feel very threatening and ugly.

    I’m sure your comment wasn’t meant meanly—but it’s just as easy to say “trans man” or “trans woman” as it is to say “tranny.” It’s an incredibly loaded word, and it can be incredibly triggering, especially for trans women who have been the victims of hate speech or violence.

    I don’t want to derail this thread, but this is the second time in two days that I’ve seen this word used in a non-trans online space, and it’s really jarring and awful to be on a website I love, and suddenly get jolted into feeling unsafe.

    For anyone who’s interested, a good read on this topic is “Is ‘Tranny’ Offensive?” on bilerico.com (I tried to link to it, but the link was getting blocked for some reason).

    /derail over.

  18. 18
    June says:

    Lizzie—-  my apologies.  I didn’t realize that was a loaded word. I have actually heard it used by friends in the GBLT community.  Oddly, I don’t think I had ever heard the term “trans man” or “trans woman.”  But thanks for enlightening me.  Knowledge is all!

  19. 19
    Lizzie (greeneyed fem) says:

    Thanks for the reply, June. It means a lot that you heard me and responded.

    It is a sticky word—like the n-word, it means different things to different people and communities. I know some trans folks do use it, but it’s not a universally “okay” word for everyone. There’s even contention about when trans women v. trans men use it, never mind non-trans folks. And I’ve definitely heard LGB folks use it in a really oppressive way. There’s no easy answer to “Is it ever okay to use?” but again, I highly recommend the bilerico.com piece as a good overview/personal perspective.

    Thanks again.

  20. 20
    Jocelyn says:

    Snakeling, you beat me to it.

    Gender equity in employment and virginity and HQN titles for the win.

  21. 21
    nekobawt says:

    “the virgin secretary’s impossible bride”? couldn’t that be an alternate title for “the proposal” (starring ryan reynolds and sandra bullock)?

  22. 22
    MichelleR says:

    I wrote Carole Mortimer a fan letter somewhere in the 80s. I remember she responded and seemed nice. Anyhow, I still remember some of her books from back then and actually remember her as the first Harlequin Presents author I’d ever read—the book was Yesterday’s Scars. That I remember this amazes and confuses me.

  23. 23
    molly_rose says:

    The only thing i found off about all that was that the hero’s name is “Linus”… imagine moaning that on the Big O :/.

  24. 24
    Lizzie (greeneyed fem) says:

    Of course, the virgin secretary could also be a man. If only men in romance novels were ever virgins. Or secretaries.

    Has anyone ever read a romance where the hero is a virgin at the start? I’m really interested. Even more interested in if the heroine was, too, in that situation. And I guess I mean non-inspirational.

  25. 25
    Lynz says:

    The only thing i found off about all that was that the hero’s name is “Linus”…

    Yeah, the name “Linus” doesn’t exactly make me think ooh, that sounds like an attractive man. In fact, it makes me think of security blankets and Charlie Brown. Not. Sexy.

  26. 26
    HeatherK says:

    I think one of Diana Palmer’s books had a virgin hero, but for the life of me, I can’t recall which one right now. And she’s got a LOT of books I’d have to comb through to figure it out. Just don’t have time for a project that big right now, though now I’m dying to remember which one it was. So much to do, so little time.

  27. 27
    Elizabeth Wadsworth says:

    Has anyone ever read a romance where the hero is a virgin at the start? I’m really interested. Even more interested in if the heroine was, too, in that situation. And I guess I mean non-inspirational.

    Well, there’s Laura Kindale’s The Shadow and the Star.  The guy is sorta/kinda a virgin (damn, I really wish this site had spoiler tags.)
    And I seem to recall that Mary Stewart’s Touch Not The Cat had a virgin hero.

  28. 28
    Randi says:

    Jaime Fraser fron Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” is a virgin.

    I think there needs to be a list of virgin heros. Anybody with me?

  29. 29
    Cat Marsters says:

    Has anyone ever read a romance where the hero is a virgin at the start? I’m really interested. Even more interested in if the heroine was, too, in that situation. And I guess I mean non-inspirational.

    Well, he’s not at the start of the book, but in Nicola Cornick’s Confessions of a Duchess the hero lost his virginity to the (older, married) heroine four years ago.  Refreshing to read it that way around.

    Also refreshing to read a historical where the servants and locals didn’t talk like Dick Van Dyke or Rab C Nesbitt (especially so because it was set in Yorkshire, where even local, practised attempts at rendering accurate dialect on the page are usually impossibly painful).  Am developing a phobia about badly written regional dialect.

  30. 30
    Lizzie (greeneyed fem) says:

    Right, The Shadow and the Star! I guess it didn’t leap to mind because the heroine is so much MORE virginal that the hero in that one—like, she doesn’t even know what sex IS. So even though he’s a sorta-virgin, she’s, like, a MEGA-virgin. And the traditional dynamic of man-being-more-experienced is preserved.

    I guess I’m curious about books where the heroine is more sexually experienced than the hero. I read historicals, though, so it’s not easily found.

    (Also, I think the set up of a female boss heroine and a virgin secretary hero could be super hot.)

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