Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Prudence and the Mustard

Noelle writes:

For years I’ve been trying to find a book I owned probably 15 years
ago, and I hope someone can put me out of my misery. I’m starting to think
this book never existed.

The book could have been a Harlequin publication, possibly published in the
late eighties/early nineties. I think it was pretty short and might have
been red, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. (Of course I can’t recall
anything about the title, so I’ve come to refer to it as The Mustard Book.)
(Explanation to follow.)

I remember the heroine being described as cautious and a bit of a prude, so
because I don’t remember any of the names in this book, I’m going to refer
to her as Prudence.

Now, Prudence has a young daughter, probably 8 or 9 years old, and has just
divorced her husband. The marriage was an unhappy one for Prudence because
her ex was a total d-bag. I don’t believe he hit her, but he certainly
treated her poorly. After the divorce, she and her daughter moved into a
place by themselves and I think the ex is mostly absent.

Prudence first meets the hero in a parking lot one night. She’s just come
out from some mystery building (maybe her office?) and when she goes to her
car, she discovers she’s got a dead battery. The hero notices her distress,
checks and confirms it’s a dead battery, then offers to take her home on
his motorcycle. Unsurprisingly, she declines the offer, but eventually his
charm and unassuming smile win her over and he takes her home. (To HER
home.)

As I said, I don’t remember any of the names, but because the hero drives
a motorcyle, I’m going to be unoriginal and call him Harley. Harley has a
daughter of his own, a spunky girl of sixteen or seventeen whom he adores. I
believe the mother abandoned them.

There are a few specific scenes I remember:

Prudence and Harley go for a ride on his bike and the song “Slow Hands”
comes on the radio. I think Prudence mentions her love of the song (having
something to do with her ex-husband’s decidedly UN-slow hands), so Harley
pulls over and they dance and neck a little.

Another scene: Prudence and Harley share lunch together. This scene is
either at his place or hers and they’re alone, eating sandwiches at the
kitchen table. Must be roast beef or bologna, for Harley winds up with a
blob of mustard at the corner of his mouth. Prudence points this out, but
Harley plays dumb so she’ll be forced to wipe the mustard off for him.
Needless to say, the moment quickly takes a turn for the sexy. (Hence, The
Mustard Book. AKA, “Must Have Been the Mustard”.)

One more scene: Harley has a pregnant dog and the dog happens to have the
litter of puppies while Prudence and her daughter are visiting. It was a
Tender Moment over which they all bonded.

That’s about all I remember. I don’t know how it ends (aside from the
obvious HEA), but I believe Prudence has misgivings about their relationship
and I think Harley has to convince her to take a chance on him. I hope
someone knows what book I’m talking about; I’d love to be able to read it
again!

Someone knows this. Excuse me, though, I need to get a sandwich.

 

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  1. 1
    Kara says:

    I”VE GOT THAT BOOK!!! It is called The Bad Boy and it is a Harlequin Temptation. I am almost sure this is the one you are talking about. Meri is an English Teacher…has a night class…Brew is in her class but she doesn’t trust him because he rides a motorcycle and looks like a “bad boy.”  She goes out to the parking lot like you said…battery dead…he comes to the rescue…they meet up with his daughter that night.

    She has issues because she had been attacked in her classroom.

    He has to get her to trust him…trust intimacy.  She lives in a house on her Grandmother’s property…high society…wouldn’t approve of Brew.

    If this sounds like the book you are talking about (which I am pretty sure it is), I will send it to you…no problem!!!

    ktulanko AT aol DOT com.

  2. 2
    robinjn says:

    I think Kara is right, and I think I’ve read this one too.

    submit word half54. Um, not any more. More like 95% 54

  3. 3
    Peyton says:

    Did anyone else read the Mustard scene and think Glee?

  4. 4
    Liz says:

    now i am…i absolutely love Glee.  it is my favorite show of the season, and i am absolutely pissed that it will not be on for awhile.

  5. 5
    Noelle says:

    Kara, you are my sunshine today!  I looked it up and yup, that’s definitely it.  How could I forget that cover art??  The only thing missing is the mustard.  Thank you!

  6. 6
    Chicklet says:

    Fifty minutes from post to answer! Dayum, the Bitchery is goooooood.

  7. 7
    veronica says:

    After Noelle mentioned the cover, I had to look it up too.  Priceless.

    http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/w/roseanne-williams/bad-boy.htm

  8. 8
    Kara says:

    Noelle…like I said…if you want my copy you are more than welcome to it…just email me.

  9. 9
    wendy says:

    The bike has a radio?????

  10. 10

    Oh my God, that cover is BUTCH as all get-out! He looks like one of the T-Birds.

  11. 11
    Erin says:

    All I can think of is “THEY GOT…THE MUSTARD…OUT!”

    Thanks for the earworm, y’all!

  12. 12
    DS says:

    wendy said on…
    12.11.09 at 01:04 PM

    The bike has a radio?????

    That was kind of my reaction—unless they have helmet speakers which would probably get in the way of dancing and making out on the side of the road.

  13. 13
    Jinni Black says:

    If I’d been on the computer when you posted this, I could have answered this one.  Hail to the bitchery! 

    It’s scary how many of these stories I remember, but before I could drive (in the mid 80s), I could only get my mom to take me way out to the used bookstore (in Bloomfield, CT – we lived in West Hartford) once a month or so, and I’d stock up on these – Temptations being my favorite (more than Silhouette Desires – which I stopped reading when they got shorter and the heroes went crazy Alpha).  And I’ve read more than a few more than once.  I’ve donated most or swapped them, but I still remember most.

  14. 14
    Suze says:

    Oh, I remember this book!  Brew’s daughter turned out to be gifted in English, and while babysitting, wrote a poem to amuse the little one, and it was lovely.  I don’t remember it clearly, but it was about raindrops, and “I held in my two hands onehundredand one of them.”  It was this poem, and accompanying drawing, that tips off the teacher that the daughter is gifted.

    It was a charming story.

  15. 15
    PK the Bookeemonster says:

    Was I the only one who thought of a Beatles influence?  Prudence (Dear Prudence) and Mustard (Mean Mr. Mustard). ‘Course I’ve got them on the brain since I received the collection on cd for my b-day—the hubby scored some good points for that gift. :)

  16. 16
    Chicklet says:

    All I can think of is “THEY GOT…THE MUSTARD…OUT!”

    “Once More, With Feeling” reference for the win! o/

  17. 17
    Jo. says:

    All I can think of is “THEY GOT…THE MUSTARD…OUT!”

      “.. and I’m not wearing underwear…”

    Hee hee hee.

  18. 18
    Mala says:

    I recognized the description of Prudence and Harley the MINUTE the teenage daughter was mentioned but couldn’t remember the title either, and then Kara came through with the win! I loved that book! I have no idea why I got rid of it, probably one of my many moves, but the raindrops poem still rings a bell to this day! And I loved that heinous cover because Brew looked like Billy Hufsey, who played Emilio on Days of our Lives.

    And I also remember that Brew aced a spelling test except for spelling commitment with three t’s!

  19. 19
    Deb says:

    Oh, you say their names are Meri and Brew, but they’ll always be Prudence and Harley to me.

  20. 20
    Julianna says:

    His name is Brew?  How butch is that.

  21. 21
    teshara says:

    I’m going to have to agree. Brew? Seriously?!

    You can almost forgive the radio thing because in the late 70’s-early 80’s I remember some company working on a prototype bike with a radio.

    It would be built into the panel above the rider’s crotch with a small set of speakers. It worked like a regular radio when parked and when driving around there was a connector wire like on headphones that plugged into it.

    I’m not sure anyone actually manufactured such a beast.

  22. 22
    Suze says:

    Brew was his nickname, because he was the brewmaster for a microbrewery, which was a hot new trend at the time.

  23. 23
    mingqi says:

    Wow, I can’t believe how fast you guys all are! 

    Anyways, I love Noelle’s description and the new title and names for the characters-  Prudence and Harley are so much better than Meri and Brew

  24. 24
    GrowlyCub says:

    I loved that book and recognized it right away as well. :)  It’s upstairs under the Ws… :)

  25. 25
    Randall says:

    The bigger, cruiser motorcycles, the ones that have everything and are basically cars on two wheels often have radios.

    Check out this page, for instance, which is a review of one such system.

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