Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Pert Breasts or Toupee Tape?

From Mara, a wardrobe malfunction about to happen:

I’d like to appeal to the collective knowledge of the Bitchery. I’m
looking for a book (a Harlequin, I believe) that I read in the mid-to-late
90’s or early 00’s.

It was about a pair of twins (identical, of course) separated in
toddlerhood by divorcing parents. The story follows the twin who ended up
with Mom, who later remarried, I think she grows up in Florida? In the
States for certain. She is a model whose career is destroyed when she is in
a car accident and has to relearn how to walk. She also loses her fiance
because of this (because he’s a jackass and leaves her not because he
dies).

She goes to England where her father and twin live and some strange man
accosts her on the street calling her by a name that’s not hers and
insisting that he knows her and why is she being so cruel to him? She is
understandably confused. And then somehow she discovers that her stepfather
isn’t her real father and that she has a long lost twin.

The twin has been engaged to the man who accosted the MC but was injured or
something when she fell down the stairs at the same moment that MC was in
the car accident. Twin broke off engagement and got “engaged” to original
fiance’s brother (cousin?). Fake fiance falls in love with MC who is in
love with him! Angst ensues.

For some strange reason I also remember some scene near the end where the
twins are dressed identically and the author describes their dresses as
being held up only by the pertness of their breasts or something. I remember
waiting for them to breathe injudiciously and have their tops fall down. And
fake fiance can tell the twins apart because they smell differently or
something.

Anyone know what book I’m talking about?

You know what they say: you marry the one who can smell the twins apart, right? Right.

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  1. 1
    ShellBell says:

    Sounds very much like a book by Harlequin/Mills and Boon author Carole Mortimer. Will need to see if I still have it on my bookcase for the title.

  2. 2
    ShellBell says:

    Can’t find the book on my bookcase but I’m pretty sure that this is the book I am thinking of. Everything in Mara’s description, apart from the ‘pertness of their breasts’, points me to this book.

    Forbidden Surrender (1982) A novel by Carole Mortimer

    The physical resemblance between Sara and the wealthy Marie Lindlay was striking, and their new-found friendship looked as if it was going to be just as close. But Dominic Thorne, Marie’s fiance wasn’t going to rest until he had received a satisfactory explanation for their likeness. His investigations revealed that the two girls were in fact twins and although neither girl knew of the other’s existence, they had curiously shared similar experiences in their lives.

  3. 3

    Wow, the Bitchery was right on it! I think this was my favorite HaBO to date; I totally want to read about these perky-tata’d women and their olfactorily blessed partners.

  4. 4

    I remember this one (including the pert breasts and the dress)! I agree—Forbidden Surrender by Carole Mortimer.

  5. 5
    Vicki says:

    Yeah, Forbidden Surrender. I read that, I totally wanted to smack the hero for his manipulating ways and, yet, I couldn’t put it down.

  6. 6
    Ros says:

    I wish that clothes shops would label dresses according to whether they need pert breasts to stay on or not.  It would save a lot of wasted time in the changing rooms for those of us who droop.

  7. 7
    Amanda says:

    And here I was sure that it was the Parent Trap.  Except instead of camp it’s car accidents.

  8. 8
    PetiteJ says:

    I must track this down and read it.  Although it sounds like it has a more alpha-male hero than what I typically prefer, it also sounds like a sufficiently wacky story with mistaken twins.  I love screwball comedy and hope it’s like The Palm Beach Story.

  9. 9
    Barb says:

    @PetiteJ—Alas, Carole Mortimer books are never screwball comedy.  They are angsty,  with 80’s heroes who are sooo overbearing you want to smack them and then smack the heroine for putting up with him.  Approached in the right frame of mind her books can be a hoot, but the author did not intend them as comedies.  Hope this helps.
    And yes, I read entirely too many of them back in the 80’s and came to the conclusion that Mortimer hated women, else she would not have had them put up with so much ill-treatment in the guise of true lurve.

    Need99—that’s how many strong backs needed to help dig us out of all this snow!

  10. 10
    Meljean says:

    Oh, yeah—there’s all kind of angst in this one, and head trauma and brain surgery. I don’t know if I ever came away with a ‘hating women’ feeling from Mortimer, but she was easily my favorite Presents author for years…all due to the overwhelming angst. But then, I ate that stuff up when I was younger. And still do, sigh.

  11. 11

    My favorite beta reader calls this subgenre Twincest.

    It made me think of a Blaze I swapped with her a few months ago—Twin Seduction, I think. The freshly-clued-in-to-each-other’s-existence identical / polar opposite heroines (they each have their own book) trade places because of some nutty clause in a dead parent’s will, and the cowboy / ranch dude best friend of Twin A doesn’t realize it’s Twin B snoozing in front of the TV in Twin A’s house. He thoughtfully carries sleeping Twin B to the bed, but she’s lost in some crazy, coma-quality-dirty dream about Errol Flynn or someone she’d just been watching in a movie, and she gets so worked up she has mind-blowing sex with the hero without even waking up! Damn, I’ve been watching the wrong films.

    In conclusion, twincest romances = awesome.

  12. 12
    Estara says:

    @ Ros: Word!! Droopy breast owners of the world, unite!

  13. 13
    Beki says:

    The whole description of the book has caused the theme song from The Patty Duke Show to become lodged in my brain.  “They walk alike, they talk alike,”  They kinda even smell alike? 

    What?  Just me?

  14. 14
    Lisa J says:

    As soon as I read the description I new it was a Carole Mortimer book.  I still buy her books whenever a new one comes out.  It’s a sickness, but I love them.

  15. 15
    Suze says:

    I have a disturbing compulsion to watch all those twin shows they put on TLC (especially the conjoined twin ones).  It’s a sickness.

    My point, though, is that they interview twins and their SO’s, and in a shockingly large number of cases, the twins say that nobody, even their families, can tell them apart, but the one twin’s SO cannot stand the other twin.

    I love you to death, and I seriously dislike this other person who is exactly like you.

    Things that make me go, Hmm.

  16. 16
    Kalen Hughes says:

    My point, though, is that they interview twins and their SO’s, and in a shockingly large number of cases, the twins say that nobody, even their families, can tell them apart,

    I think people are just generally unobservant or don’t bother to take the time to learn to tell them apart. My senior class had 8 sets of identical twins in it, and most of us had no problem telling one sib from the other. Once you get to know them, the tiny differences start to leap out. It’s funny, but I was just thinking about this, cause I bumped into one of the twins last night (I always thought he was cuter than his brother, LOL!). Haven’t seen him in years and years—I’m slightly horrified to think of how many—but I knew right off the bat it was Greg (not his brother Will).

    And then there’s the fact that my friend Jess and I get asked if we’re twins all the time and we look NOTHING alike. I mean honestly. She’s pale, with straight hair and vaguely Slavic features. I’m olive-skinned with curly hair and don’t look Slavic in the least. But we’re both nearly six foot and are about the same weight. Must be twins, right?

  17. 17
    willaful says:

    “I love you to death, and I seriously dislike this other person who is exactly like you.”

    Kind of like that scene in the original Star Trek where Spock makes the two identical androids lose it by saying “I love you, but I hate you.” “But I am exactly the same as #261!” “I know—that is why I hate you.”  It always made sense to me…

  18. 18
    PetiteJ says:

    @Barb – nuts, I was hoping for screwball.  There’s so much promise if there is also head trauma and brain surgery.  I don’t know that I can read it now even approaching it in a certain mindframe.  I tend to be turned off by angsty-heroines.  Pages and pages of mental handwringing is tiresome.  I’m also tired of heroines who don’t know if the hero “likes” them or not.  Hello, he’s so horneypants for you that you both basically quiver at the mere sight of each other.  I think it’s safe to assume you have some sort of postive affect on him.

    @Cara – love the Twincest phrase.  That’s awesome!

  19. 19
    Tawna Fenske says:

    Holy crap, I got a little dizzy just reading the description of that one. Or maybe I’m just easily confused today.

    Nice job nailing that one so quickly, bitches.

    Tawna

  20. 20
    JamiSings says:

    @ Ros & Estara -

    Droopy breast owners of the world, unite!

    Oh that’s another one I should’ve added to my little rant in what I want in an urban fantasy romance. A heroine with saggy/droopy boobies! I mean, even the fat ones in romance novels always have big but perky boobs! I want one who’s nipples point straight at the floor and who fails the pencil test. And the man loves it cause he can manipulate them so he can get both nipples into his mouth at the same time!

  21. 21
    Suzanne says:

    Erm… smells aside, if one if from America and the other from England…they would have different accents, voila twin a and twin b easy to tell apart.

    Unless that head injury caused a rare case of foreign accent syndrome.

  22. 22
    FluExpert says:

    I remember this one (including the pert breasts and the dress)! I agree—Forbidden Surrender by Carole Mortimer.

  23. 23
    Liz says:

    And here I was sure that it was the Parent Trap.  Except instead of camp it’s car accidents.

    Lol, Amanda.  I thought the same thing.  Clearly the author was a fan of the 1998 Lindsey Lohan version.  I can’t blame her, though, since i like that one better than the Haley Mills version too.

  24. 24
    Lindsay says:

    The term Twincest has another meaning in the world of online fandoms at least, namely that “extra-special” kind of incest where twins get it on with each other (The Harry Potter fandom has scarred me for life).

  25. 25
    Ankoku-jin says:

    Lindsay beat me to it…. you’ll definitely want to be careful where you use the word “twincest” online!

    captacha says “very69”…. I don’t even wanna think about it in this context. ~_~”

  26. 26
    Spider says:

    My senior class had 8 sets of identical twins in it, and most of us had no problem telling one sib from the other.

    Good heavens, Kalen!  What was in the water there?

  27. 27
    JamiSings says:

    @Beki

    The whole description of the book has caused the theme song from The Patty Duke Show to become lodged in my brain.  “They walk alike, they talk alike,”  They kinda even smell alike? 

    What?  Just me?

    Thank you so much for getting that stuck in my head.

    But this one reminds me of one I read as a teenager. He was an identical twin and a widower with two young sons. His family hated his dead wife because they believed that a woman only really loved you when she could tell you apart from your identical twin and the dead wife never could. He ends up working for one of those “dude ranch” thingamabobs and gets involved with a woman who writes mystery novels. She can not only tell him and his brother apart but also tell the twin toddlers apart as well. They have amazing sex, he leaves her, she starts writing western romance novels with sad endings that her publisher won’t publish, twin brother comes in and gets them back together. I can even remember her saying something like “The twins who don’t even look alike!” to one of them.

  28. 28
    Mara says:

    Thank you ShellBell & Meljean!  Now I just have to find a copy of it.

    Erm… smells aside, if one if from America and the other from England…they would have different accents, voila twin a and twin b easy to tell apart.

    You’re right of course Suzanne but I don’t remember anything about accents in the book . . .  It could be there though.

  29. 29
    cate says:

    JamieSings wrote[But this one reminds me of one I read as a teenager. He was an identical twin and a widower with two young sons. His family hated his dead wife because they believed that a woman only really loved you when she could tell you apart from your identical twin and the dead wife never couldtell]
    Thats one of Jude Devereaux’ s from the late 80’s early 90’s. It’s one of her contemporary Taggert /Montgomery storys.
    Can’t remeber the name of the book (it might even have been a novella), but it was a great light read

  30. 30
    JamiSings says:

    @Cate – Yeah, I think it was part of a collection in a book. And it figures. I had a friend in high school who was constantly shoving Jude Devereaux in my hands. She’s the one who got me reading romance novels. Until then I had avoided them because my father said they were nothing but porn. He had no problem with me reading horror or murder mysteries. But God forbid if I read romance.

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