Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Wild West Pornstache?!

Leslie writes:

I just read my first Lorelei James western erotic romance and really enjoyed
it – but it gave me a brain bug for an old, old, old-skool romance I think I
read in high school in the 1980s (because I remember getting in trouble for
having it after a piece on 20/20 or somesuch program about how racy romances
were getting).

I keep thinking it is a Diana Palmer, but I have been on her site and cannot
figure out what it might be. It is not a series title, but may be from one
of those lusty 1980’s imprints. I am pretty sure the cover is a step-back
with a really pink sunset.

Okay – it involves big-game hunting in Montana or Wyoming, a red-headed
heroine (or I may be confusing that with another one from about the same
time), and an uber-alpha hero with a Marlboro-man-style pornstache (that I
believe he uses on the heroine’s nipples). I am pretty sure the heroine’s
daddy is a major tool and that there is a Big Misunderstanding. There may be
hot sex on a fur rug and in a sleeping bag (maybe with daddy in the next
tent?), as well as lots of rugged wilderness and unbridled manliness and
guns – full-on Reagan-Era romance.

Pornstache? Oh, if that pornstache is pictured on the cover, I hope someone not only identifies the book but hooks us up with a link to the cover. There is nothing better than a romance novel pornstache, unless it’s of course accompanied by a romance cover model mullet.


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  1. 1
    Maggie P. says:

    I don’t think thats a Diana Palmer, she is not big on the hot sex. I am (somewhat) ashamed to say that I have read most of hers and that doe not sound familiar.

  2. 2
    Jennie says:

    It sounds like one of Janet Dailey’s “Americana” books.  I don’t remember the pornstache, but there was definately one set in the Dakotas? Idaho? Wyoming? where the he took her big game hunting. There was also HUGE tension with her father.  Unfortunately it’s been a LONG time and not only can’t I remember exactly which book, I’m not having much luck finding individual book synopses out on the wild wild interwebs.

  3. 3
    Pam Regis says:

    In Janet Dailey’s Ride the Thunder (1980), heroine Jordanna Smith, hero Brig McCord, and very bad dad Fletcher Smith enact courtship and family drama in the wilds of Idaho, on a big game hunt.  I don’t remember a moustache, though.  This novel is pre-plagiarism Dailey.

  4. 4

    Ha! I like Leslie’s HaBO style—it sounds like a teaser list a matchmaker might offer during amorous negotiations:

    “Your client may or may not have red hair and/or a father who is a major tool. If so inclined, my client may tease your client’s nipples with his porn ‘stache [article B]. There may or may not be hot sex on a fur rug and/or in a sleeping bag. If the above terms outlined heretofore are satisfactory, sign here and we’ll proceed to the knocking of boots.”

  5. 5
    RfP says:

    The Janet Dailey sounds likely.  If not, if there was really hot sex it’s probably a 1980s Silhouette Intimate Moments.  Did it have a cover like this?

    The other line that comes to mind is the 1980s Silhouette Special Editions, with covers like these.

  6. 6
    Throwmearope says:

    Yep, Ride the Thunder.  In my version, the offset has her stripping naked right next to an open fire.  (Janet Dailey’s heroines never let little things like live sparks shooting off the fire get between them and passion.)  Redheaded, check.  Wild sex outdoors in Montana, check. Definite pornstache t0o.

    The offset isn’t at Ammie and the pornstache is hard to see on the cover.  My scanner committed suicide last year.  Sorry.

    (Hangs head in shame.  Although I haven’t purchased any JD since I learned about the plagiarism, I haven’t tossed my old 80’s copies.)

  7. 7
    E. Scribo says:

    Authors should study these HABO requests to find out what really makes a story memorable! I bet “pornstache, tactical use of” isn’t ever mentioned in workshops, how-tos, or writers’ groups.

  8. 8

    @ E. Scribo

    Or there should be a database of titles with all possible body parts, cross-referenced in a logic-puzzle type chart with all other receiving and reciprocating body parts. Might get complicated, infographic-wise, if ménage erotica is included…we may need to employ 3-D graphing capabilities and/or color-coded transparent overlays to incorporate thirds. Add plot points and this mother could be pure magic.

    But then Leslie could just type in “nipple, mustache, fur rug, red hair, big-game hunting” and the system would bleep and bloop and a definitive list of possible titles would spew forth like suggestive ticker-tape. And then the Bitchery would be out of a job.

  9. 9
    elph says:

    Delurking a moment to wonder if this could be one of the Longarm books ghostwritten under the name Tabor Evans? Custis “Longarm” Long rocked a pornstache in those books, and sometimes he got into misadventures with redheaded heiress Jessica Starbuck from the Lone Star series (including misadventures of the sexy kind). Sex on a fur rug would not at all be out of place in one of those books. There were always lots of gunfights. And though the imprint says “Western” on it, they hit a lot of the same sweet spots as Romance (except that their idea of HEA is “maybe I’ll see you around some time sugar.” But other than that…). Seriously though, I’m convinced this series was Romance marketed to men. Longarm and Jessie seem to wind up back in a book together every few titles or so. Many of the covers had backgrounds with a luridly painted sky on them. Although, I don’t think any of the covers are stepbacks, so maybe not.

  10. 10
    Lily says:

    A titch off subject here, but has anyone done a study of the percentage of redheaded heroines in romance novels versus actual number of female gingers in real life?  It seems like every other romance I pick up has a redheaded/auburn haired heroine.  If life were like romances, all women would dye their hair red, because clearly they are in demand by the hunky successful males of the world!

  11. 11
    Suze says:

    I also think it’s the Dailey.  I remember a scene where the heroine was chapstick was very important for big game hunters, out in the cold, where lips, um, chap.  Like it was news or something.  It took me aback at the time (youngish teenager when I read it).

    Redhead is code for “feisty and independent”.  I can remember only one redheaded heroine who was shy and retiring.  And she had very large breasts and played the violin, and was considering breast reduction surgery.  I believe it was written by Sharon and Tom Curtis under their category romance pseudonym, but I don’t know why I think that.

  12. 12
    lynnpdx says:

    As an actual redhead, I find that the hunky successful men of world seem to be somewhat indifferent to gingers. Such a pity.

  13. 13
    jo bourne says:

    @ Suze—

    I think that’s not Laura London, (Tom and Sharon Curtis.)  It’s maybe Sweet Memories by LaVyrle Spencer.

  14. 14
    Sheila says:


    I think that’s not Laura London, (Tom and Sharon Curtis.)  It’s maybe Sweet Memories by LaVyrle Spencer.

    You’re exactly right, Sweet Memories, its one of the few I still have.  I had to move and gave away a lot of my old paperbacks.

  15. 15
    Leslie says:

    I am truly overwhelmed with the helpfulness – “Ride the Thunder” it is!
    The Google Books excerpt confirms the Bitchery consensus but the cover is a reprint! Unfortunately, the magnificent pornstache is only slightly visible on the teensy, tiny LibraryThing image but the memories of its deployment linger…please, please someone post the step-back!
    Unfortunately, now I have to track down this one and several other Daileys from the period – I wonder how they will play (gulp) decades later.
    @Cara – that is a matchmaker I would sign up for (eharmony is clearly not asking the right questions!)

  16. 16
    Marsha says:

    Lily said:

    A titch off subject here, but has anyone done a study of the percentage of redheaded heroines in romance novels versus actual number of female gingers in real life?  It seems like every other romance I pick up has a redheaded/auburn haired heroine.  If life were like romances, all women would dye their hair red, because clearly they are in demand by the hunky successful males of the world!

    I wonder the same about green eyes.  I actually have green eyes (not blue-green, not hazel, not brown-green, just green) and have never inspired quite the devotion one would think I might after reading a few dozen romances.  If my reading material were in any way realistic, by rights I’d be fighting ‘em off with sticks.  Alas.

  17. 17
    Kelsey says:

    I’ve always wondered the same thing about front-closing bras.  Apparently my chances of love would be greatly increased if the stupid clasp were front and center.

  18. 18
    Lily says:

    @Marsha & Kelsey:

    Totally hear you on the green eyes and front-closing bras (I haven’t seen or had one of those since my training bra days). 

    I am also convinced that had I gone into PR or journalism instead of project management my life would be replete with hot alpha males instead of being lousy with anti-social computer programmers with questionable hygiene.  Or that if I just moved to a small quirky town, the local yummy sheriff is just waiting for me so we can get busy…  Would that life were so easy to figure out!

  19. 19
    Rachel says:

    I found a cover at but y,ou can only catch a tiny glimpse of the pornstache.

  20. 20
    Cakes says:

    oh MY lanta! Ride the Thunder?!

  21. 21
    Katherine B. says:

    Oh GOD! Just that tiny glimpse of the ‘tache made me snort/laugh out loud! Fan bloody tastic!

  22. 22
    Randi says:

    *snort* This is the funniest HABO out EVER!

  23. 23
    Kristina says:

    @Lily.  :0)  I’ve been a blonde my whole dang life, really nice Farah Fawcett the golden years blonde.  When I hit thirty (hard) I died my hair a deap new copper penny Red and have never looked back.  I cant say I was influenced by the proliferation of Ginger heroines in romances but I cant rightly say it wasn’t a factor. 

    :-)  BTW, still faux ginger and loving it.

  24. 24

    I have not seen many covers with the whole “pornstache” but the idea cracks me up!

    And interestingly enough red heads are every where in romance novels!  And since they’re mostly written by women, for women, is there a jealousy thing going on?

    Is it hair color envy instead of penis envy?

  25. 25
    JamiSings says:

    See, I’m still waiting for my upper class guy to look at me in a Henry Higgins way, decide he’s going to help me lose weight and learn to be a proper lady, only to fall passionately in love with me just the way I am. Then get insanely jealous when the “new me” gets the attention of some young bounder.

  26. 26
    Suze says:

    JamiSings, I think Susan Donovan wrote that book, except that Henry Higgins was a personal trainer.

    He Loves Lucy

    Lucy Cunningham is a smart-mouthed couch potato hooked on Milk Duds. Theo Redmond is a hottie personal trainer to the stars. When they team up for a makeover publicity stunt that could make them both rich, they learn that nobody’s perfect, beauty is more than skin deep, and true loves lies somewhere between pizza and Pilates.

    It was surprisingly charming.  I’d been nervous about the whole “you’re only acceptable once you lose weight” potential, but it was handled very nicely.

    It was almost enough to make me hire a personal trainer.  Almost.

  27. 27
    militaryspouse says:

    Mustache rides, anyone???

  28. 28
    JamiSings says:

    @Suze – Well, I actually meant for it to happen to me IRL. LOL Though I’d prefer it to be actually an older musician – 60s+ (I like men twice my age, and no, I do not have father issues, I just find older men easier to get along with and sexier), hopefully Jewish, whom recongnizes my talent as a singer – I don’t call myself JamiSings for nothing – – and originally takes me under his wing to teach me the ins and outs of the music business and help me on my way, also changing my personal image so I’d have more “stage presence.” However finding himself longing to teach me a totally different kind of ins and outs….

    However, I just put He Loves Lucy on hold. Can’t resist the premise and the I Love Lucy reference.

  29. 29

    Elph – I was just tweeting about those Longarm books last week. I worked at Waldenbooks a life time ago (i.e., the 80s) and we used to read Longarm to each other when we were bored. Can’t remember if I sold a lot of them, but I think they’re still being published. They were written by house writers, like the Nancy Drew novels.

  30. 30
    Orchard says:

    You might want to look at Woman Hater by Diana Palmer : —Everyone in the office described the boss’s mysterious older brother as wary of the female of the species—a real woman hater. He’d been burned in the past, and now was twice shy, to say the least. So when Nicole White had to travel with her ailing employer to his brother’s home in Montana, she was prepared for the worst. What she found was a man more roughly masculine than any she’d ever met. But Winthrop Christopher’s distrust of women ran straight to the bone. Nicki knew she couldn’t hide from the feelings he stirred in her. Could she ever teach this woman hater to love aagin?

    This can be found in Heart Of Winter: Woman HaterIf Winter Comes

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