Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Virgins are So High Maintenance

Bitchery reader Janie writes:

I read a book in 2000 I believe and I’ve been trying to find it since. I think it was written in the 90s, but here’s a detailed summery of it. I hope someone can help! I’ve been searching for it for close to 10 years!

I don’t know if I’m mixing my books but this girl who lived with her aunt or uncle[George?] and is given to the king to marry his son. She refuses so the king ties up her and drags her by the neck to marry her to his son by proxy because his son is still away in battle. When he comes back he is told he is married. He’s excited to goes to meet his new wife. He sees her tied up and the servants are hitting her. He was outraged and demanded an explanation. They showed him the scratches and bite marks she inflicted on them while they were getting her “ready” for him. He unties her and see the rope burns on her neck and is even madder at his father. He cut his arm
or palm and put the blood on the sheets to make it look like as if they consummated the marriage when they didn’t because she was understandable disagreeable. He left and was doing stuff in his kingdom when he witnessed a guy dressed as a clown steal like a hunk of very good cheese. The heroine sees this too.

The guy managed to slip past the guards and change into normal looking attire and got away with the cheese. The heroine promised not to rat him out if he delivered a message to the princes’ cousin whom by the way the prince hated a LOT because he was kind of a reason I can’t remember. The thief/jester/clown/ becomes good friends with the heroin and is sympathetic. She arranges to meet the prince’s cousin in some kind of tomb or an underground garden or something like that and wants the cousin to deflower her to spite the prince. He prince sees the thief hurrying to deliver the message and intercepts it. He goes ahead of time and throws his cousin in the dungeon and takes his place. He brings her lilies or jasmine or some nice smelling flower. So after the deed is done she leaves unaware that she was just with her husband and sorta feels guilty.

Then there is something about a bejeweled sword that heroins aunt or uncle wants or something like that. So she dresses up like a guy and goes to a tavern and low and behold she sees the prince and a fight breaks out. The prince figured out it was her before the fight so tried to protect her, but she wouldn’t have it. He made a comment about how his wife had blood lust/ was bloodthirsty because she was enjoying the violence.

Then there is a scene in the library where the prince is coming on to her and he’s naked and she throws a knife at him. He falls asleep naked in the study or library and his father who never showed any form of love because he thought it was weakness was so scared he was dead but he was breathing so he covered the prince up and left. The prince and the heroine at one point were fighting side by side and ended up defeating some enemy and they found the sword together. They escaped through some underground tunnel when they were invaded and they forgot all about his cousin still in the dungeon.

The last scene was: They were in bed and she was telling him about how she regrets she didn’t lose her virginity to him and he’s like “how did you
put it, hurry up and do it already..” or something like that.

I hope someone has read this before, because it’s a great book!

Pesky virginity with cheese thief?!  Anyone read this one?


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  1. 1
    StephS says:

    Boy howdy!  That’s some book.  Hope someone identifies it because I want to read it! 

    My favorite bit from the description above was this:  “The
    thief/jester/clown/ becomes good friends with the heroin and is sympathetic.” 
    Yes, but take away the heroin and I bet he’s a lot less sympathetic!  (I know that was a typo or spell-check fail but I couldn’t resist!)  :-)

  2. 2
    M— says:

    Amanda Quick’s Desire has some elements of your story, but I don’t think it’s a match. (Google Preview

    The lady of Desire decidedly does not wish to get married, but she’s the ward of a Duke and he’s not about to put up with that sort of behavior. He wishes to marry her to his eldest son, a bastard who has been living as a mercenary. The son is happy to settle down, and Desire is rich location known for its flowers, which the lady has been distilling and selling as expensive perfumes. Personality clashes result. There are some shenanigans with smearing the bridal sheets with blood, as there was no consummating that went on that night, but the solution involved slaughtered chickens, not cut hands.

    I recall a cut hand supplying the bloodstain for proof-of-virginity from Elizabeth Lowell’s Enchanted (Google Preview), but I think that cut resulted from the bride trying to stab the groom on their wedding night.

    Gaaaah no comment preview option! I have my fingers crossed that I coded the HTML correctly.

  3. 3
    AgTigress says:

    Negative information, I know, but most definitely NOT Amanda Quick’s Desire, which I know very well indeed.

  4. 4
    Elizabeth says:

    Holy cheese-stealing clowns!  I have no idea what book this is, but I am finding a copy as soon as someone figures it out!

  5. 5
    Courtney says:

    Is it Lady Fortune by Anne Stuart?

  6. 6
    dillene says:

    I’m pretty sure that I was tripping balls when I read that . . . no, I just read it again and it’s the same.  I have to know what this book was.

  7. 7

    Now with extra cheese!  God, I love this site!

  8. 8
    Susan/DC says:

    The word “cheesetastic” was clearly invented for this book.

  9. 9
    Carin says:

    You know, I think I read a book where (unbeknownst to the heroine) it was actually the hero who took her virginity.  I’m quite sure it was NOT this story.  Who would have thought THAT would be a multiple use plot device?

  10. 10
    Anj says:

    That device was definitely used in a Terry Goodkind novel (Sword of Truth series, no idea about actual title). Which is NOT romance… but the heroine and the hero have sex and she doesn’t know it’s him. Because it’s not supposed to be him (for some reason it can’t be?). And they don’t talk while they do it. And it’s dark. But he knows it’s her because he just KNOWS. And he planned it that he would sneak in and take the other guy’s place.

    Anyways, no idea about the book but I’m really curious. I will totally read it if somebody can correctly identify it.

  11. 11
    Elyssa Papa says:

    I wonder if the HABO is Shadows and Lace by Teresa Medeiros?

  12. 12
    hagelrat says:

    Awesome, if you find out what it is post it, i’d love to know.

  13. 13
    Mary Stella says:

    I know it isn’t the Elizabeth Lowell book.  I’ll wait with the others to find out the answer so that I can read the book myself.

  14. 14
    nbm says:

    The trick where the girl’s actual husband sneaks in and replaces her intended partner?  That’s an oldie but goodie; I don’t think it was new when Shakespeare used it (for example, in Measure for Measure). An unexpected partner is substituted for the expected one.  It’s called the Bed Trick.  Ooh, a little research points out that you could consider the story of Jacob, Rachel, & Leah a Biblical bed trick!

  15. 15
    rhelease says:

    I’m going for one of the old Catherine Coulter books. There’s one (I believe it’s The Rebel Bride) where the heroine loses her virginity to her husband in some woodcutter’s cottage, but thinks he’s a highwayman or some such, feels guilty, ends up pregnant, sleeps with the husband (when she’s told she’s pregnant by a maid) and makes sure to cut herself and spill some blood on the sheets so he thinks she’s still a virgin… Really complicated plot with at least one near-rape scene, and probably not the right book, but it reminds me of it.

  16. 16
    ashley says:

    wow. that was the most ridiculous romance novel I’ve ever sort of read by sinopsis. that was like a parody of a romance novel lol.

  17. 17
    Elizabeth says:

    I don’t think it was new when Shakespeare used it (for example, in Measure for Measure). An unexpected partner is substituted for the expected one.  It’s called the Bed Trick.

    Yeah, it was a classic in Shakespeare’s time.  He has an inverted Didn’t Know It Was the Husband bed trick in All’s Well That Ends Well, where the husband doesn’t realize he’s sleeping with his wife.

    Another modern romance that did something similar was Judith Ivory’s Beast, where the heroine is engaged to the hero without meeting him, has an affair with the hero without realizing he’s her fiance, and then has to go marry the fiance without realizes that he’s her lover.

    I really wish I could help with this book; it sounds fascinating.  Like the fairy tales (The Goose Girl, anyone?) and YA fantasies that I read as a kid, but in crazy romance novel form.

  18. 18
    Randy says:

    That’s it.  I’m getting a glass of wine and curling up with your description.

    If anyone finds the book, I’ll be in the throws of the best synopsis I’ve read a long while.

    If I’m asleep and my breath smells like cheese (and wine), don’t wake me.

  19. 19
    Christina says:

    Sounds like it has a Tori Phillips flavor to it, but I haven’t read it. GL!

  20. 20
    Sandra Rosa says:

    Not Lady Fortune, although that one does have a jester, but he’s the main hero!

    And the Rebel Bride book, now there’s a twisted tale…

  21. 21
    LisaLisa says:

    It’s been a while since I read it, but the description had me thinking Keeper of the Dream by Penelope Williamson.

  22. 22
    JEM says:

    Definitely not The Rebel Bride, I read that one recently. Although the whole concept of hero rape in that book was deeply disturbing, and kind of ruined the book for me. But that’s hardly what this post is about…

  23. 23
    Veronica says:

    Wow!  I hope someone figures this one our, because it is a must read!

  24. 24

    cheese stealing clown + bejeweled sword + kidnapped and tied to the bed = holy trinity of romance win. 
    i can’t live much longer without reading this.

  25. 25
    kaetchen says:

    The Bedtrick by Wendy Doniger is a *great* work on sex-plot masquerade sotries throughout history (and across the globe). So no, not Shakespeare, or even last millenium was that idea an original one :).

  26. 26
    kaetchen says:

    oops. *stories* – sex-plot masquerade *stories*…

    I hate typos.

  27. 27
    Cerulean says:

    The beginning reminds me of an early Johanna Lindsay book, maybe “When Love Awaits”? H & H are Rolfe & Leonie – but I’m not sure. I do remember a story where the heroine’s parental figures beat her to get her to marry the hero and her face was covered by a veil. The hero thought she was ugly (didn’t notice those were bruises) and he came back later and mistook her for someone else … or just realized she was beautiful. It was definitely one I read in my youth.

  28. 28
    sandra says:

    It’s definitely NOT the book you’re looking for, but in Jo Beverley’s AN UNWILLING BRIDE the heroine passes out drunk on the wedding night.  When she wakes up, there is blood on the sheets.  She wonders if the hero did her while she was out cold, but he shows her a bandage on his thumb and explains that there had to be blood on the sheet to keep the servants from gossiping, so he cut himself.  :-D That was the first Jobev book I ever read, and it’s my all-time favorite of hers.  Spamword value82, as in “I value all 82 of her books, but that’s one of her best.”

  29. 29

    omg.  i SO want to read this now!  let me know if you figure it out!
    spamword: that53 as in that’s 53 books i have on my “to read” list now.  ;D

  30. 30
    efy says:

    We NEED to know this book’s title. It reminds me of elements of early Kathleen Woodiwiss or maybe Virginia Henley.
    I looked up the recommended books on RT’s themes page – these are the best of the ‘marriage of convenience’ category. Grouped by era, I know some are wrong but do any ring a bell?

    Regency Historicals

    WHITNEY MY LOVE Judith McNaught (Pocket)
    THE HELLION BRIDE Catherine Coulter (Jove)
    A PROMISE OF SPRING Mary Balogh (Signet)
    A NATURAL ATTACHMENT Katherine Kingsley (Signet)
    THE CONVENIENT MARRIAGE Georgette Heyer (William Heineman,1934)
    A CIVIL CONTRACT Georgette Heyer (William Heineman,1934)
    SURRENDER Amanda Quick (Bantam)
    ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL Cathy Maxwell (Harper)
    THE LION’S LADY Julie Garwood (Pocket)

    Medieval Historicals

    COURTLY LOVE Lynn Bartlett (Warner)
    DEFY NOT THE HEART Johanna Lindsey (Avon)
    WINTER HEAT Denise Domning (Topaz)
    SAVING GRACE Julie Garwood (Pocket)

    Other Historicals

    FASCINATION Stella Cameron (Avon)
    A HEART SO INNOCENT Charlene Cross (Pocket)
    VOYAGER Diana Gabaldon (Delacourt)
    MORNING GLORY LaVyrle Spencer (Jove)
    THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER Kathleen Woodiwiss (Avon)
    Colonial America
    PRINCE CHARMING Julie Garwood (Pocket)
    Victorian West
    WICKED LOVING LIES Rosemary Rogers (Avon)
    Spain, France to Am. West
    THE HAWK AND THE DOVE Virginia Henley (Dell)
    SHANNA Kathleen Woodiwiss (Avon)
    17th-century Carribean-U.S.
    THE MORNING GIFT Eva Ibbotson (St. Martin’s)
    Turn of the Century

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