Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Presents with Impoverished Red Hair

Sarah (not me, though my whole reading history is one big HaBO in my brain what with my inability to remember titles) asks for your help with a Harlequin Presents:

I’m trying to find a Harlequin Presents, which was used when I bought it at
least fifteen years ago—-since this is like trying to find a specific
needle in a needle factory, I need help!

The heroine ia a young girl with long, bright red hair (this is important).
Impoverished of course (the girl, not the hair). She somehow bumps into a
rich man who thinks she’s a wild, irresponsible tease who’s far too
young for him so he takes her into his home to support her. As rich men do.
She’s a complete innocent and doesn’t understand why he’s so angry
with her all the time—-but she falls in love with him anyway.

The scene I remember—-and the one I want to re-read because it’s
heartbreaking—-is the one after one of their fights during which he
verbally cuts her into ribbons for her wild, harlot-colored hair (or
something) and her so-called provocative behavior with other men. She gets
so upset that she goes and hacks off her hair to her ears with scissors,
takes the ragged armful to his den, and dumps it on the floor.

He says (in a hoarse voice because he’s appalled) “What have you done?”
and she says, something like, “If it’s my hair that makes me a slut, then
less hair should mean less of a tramp.” And she walks out—-not sure where
she goes, possibly to a hairdresser. And that’s when her beloved realizes
he has been suffering from severe rectal-cranial disorder and starts

Can anyone help me out? Or at least tell me I’m not making it up?

Does he then sell his watch to buy her hair clips while she sells her hair to buy him a watch chain? Or does he just grovel until she strangles him with her impoverished hair? Anyone remember this one? (Sounds hairy. *snrk*)


Help a Bitch Out

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  1. 1
    Flickers says:

    oh i remember this book, heroine has an aunt who said she had hair like that and; the name harcourt keeps popping in my head. you definitely ddn’t make it up though

  2. 2
    Flickers says:

    did i say heroine i meant hero and i think she was called lila or do i mean layla

  3. 3
    Leslie says:

    c’mon, smarties! Help with this one because now I feel that I MUST read it as well –  I LOVE the hugely overdramatic gestures that finally drive some sense into the hero (mostly because I would never be able to execute a biggee like that without someone thinking I should be put away for a couple of days to “rest”).

  4. 4
    Maya Banks says:

    I MUST have this one too, and moreover, I can’t BELIEVE it’s not one I haven’t read because I’ve been devouring HP for 27 years

    word ver so not cool. After35. Yeah, yeah i KNOW how old reading HP for 27 years makes me

  5. 5

    I don’t know the book, but the HaBO request was amazing.  Well played, [other] Sarah!

  6. 6
    sweetsiouxsie says:

    I was born with carrot red hair. I would love to read this book!

  7. 7
    Brandy says:

    This sounds like a Betty Neels book.

  8. 8
    Niamh says:

    following on from Brandy’s comment above, I decided to search through Betty Neels books (never read one myself) for the HaBO. Check out the website below….some of those covers are definitely snark worthy…

  9. 9
    Sarah W says:

    Thank you for defending my sanity, Flickers!  I think the heroine’s name was close to Layla or Freya . . . I don’t remember an aunt, but aunts aren’t as dramatic as grand, angsty, gestures—-and if I had a working memory, I’d have retained the title of the book.

    Thanks, Darlene! :)

    Brandy, I’m not sure it was a Betty Neels . . . I don’t think it had that vibe, if a Betty Neels’ book would admit to having something as explicit as a vibe.  The heroine perhaps wasn’t quite that innocent (though a virgin, of course) and there was a smolder throughout that I’m not sure Neels ever did.  Then again, see memory comment above. . .

  10. 10
    Sunita says:

    Not Betty Neels. Way too much emotion from the hero for a Betty book.

    I don’t know the answer but I also want to read it! There are amazingly knowledgeable HP readers over at the Amazon boards as well as at Goodreads, I think. they remember everything and what they can’t remember, they find on their shelves. Seton? Boogenhagen? Willaful?

  11. 11
    bookishheather says:

    Is this Loving Julia by Karen Robards?

  12. 12
    Donna says:

    Based on the angry virgin’s dramatic gesture after being called a slut one too many times by angry boner rich guy, I’d start checking out Diana Palmer’s backlist. Just sayin.

    spamword: method66. I’ve read what feels like 66 DP books & I know her method when I see it.

  13. 13
    Sarah W says:

    It’s not Julia, though I’m adding that one to my list.  The one I’m looking for is a contemporary, for the time it was published.

    Donna, I just went through Diana Palmer’s bibliography from 1979 to the present, but the book I’m remembering isn’t there. 

    Drat!  I’m beginning to think it was a hallucination . . .

  14. 14
    Elyssa Papa says:

    I must know the title of this book. I love overdramatic gestures and love big fights when heroine walks off. And this one sounds like it’s good.

  15. 15
    Ros says:

    Oh, I so want to read this one.  I assume it’s not actually an Anne of Green Gables book I missed, though I’m totally imagining it as Anne dealing with a Presents hero in her own inimitable way.

  16. 16
    Susan says:

    Sorry, have no idea re book title.  But I must say, the phrase “severe rectal-cranial disorder” caused me to laugh so loud that I scared my dog.  Gotta remember that one.

  17. 17
    Jessica D says:

    I honestly don’t know what this book is, but it sounds like unholy mash-up of Little Orphan Annie and These Old Shades.

  18. 18
    CarrieNation says:

    Oh my, I really hope someone knows this one. I have a terrible weakness for the silly “I hate you because I want you” thing.

  19. 19
    seton says:

    I haven’t read this but if one does the maff:

    HP + redheaded heroine + May/December + H thinks heroine is a Dirty Hoor + childish gestures = one name above all others = Carole Mortimer

    I would help narrow it down further but CM has written about 150 HPs with red-haired heroines. Good luck!

  20. 20
    Mama Nice says:

    Haven’t read this either, but I have a special love for red headed heroines…a bit of vanity there I suppose.

    I had to comment because like Susan said, that phrase “severe rectal-cranial disorder”  is a keeper!

  21. 21
    Leslie H says:

    Ya know, even Tulsa, OK- often considered the Brass Buckle of the Bible Belt has these at the library both book and audio. FALLOUT has 51 holds, that is 51 different people waiting to read it.

    Catch up Texas.

  22. 22
    Vixenbib says:

    It sounds fantastically OTT. I need to know exactly how much older he is than her; it’s disturbing and annoying me quite a lot. Loving this thread.

  23. 23
    beigy says:

    I think it may be a Harlequin Romance Special (no. 350) by Jane Donnelly.  It was called Living With Marc, and I remember the heroine cutting her hair because the hero had insinuated it was trampy

    This is from Fictiondb

    Love thy neighbor?
    Things had a way of happening around Robin Johnson. She always seemed to be in the middle of some scrape or another! She could understand why the cool, discerning lawyer Marc Hammond should have reservations about hiring Robin as his great-aunt’s companion. She was hardly the quiet and retiring type—but then neither was his great-aunt!
    It looked as if Marc was going to have his hands full with Robin in the house. She was quite simply enough to drive any man to distraction!

  24. 24
    Christine R says:

    This is not the book you’re looking for (no hair cutting scene) but the first book I thought of was The Trustworthy Redhead by Iris Johansen its an old Loveswept it has very similar themes and includes a belly dancing heroine and a pseudo-sheik hero.

  25. 25
    Michael Seymour says:

    Did anyone else notice the Neels’ book titled, The Final Touch?
    What IS THAT supposed to mean?

  26. 26
    Vixenbib says:

    Please, anybody, has @beigy got it right?

  27. 27
    hapax says:

    This isn’t it, but if you want a luvverly Old Skool Regency with many many similar plot elements, check out Elisabeth Mansfield’s LOVE LESSONS.

  28. 28
    Sarah W says:

    I think beigy might have found it!

    So much for Layla or Freya . . . but there is an aunt and a haircut, so I’m gonna go for it.  I just requested a copy of Jane Donnelly’s Living With Marc through ILL at my library.

    Once it comes in, I’ll post the verdict!

    Thanks, everyone!

  29. 29
    Diane/Anonym2857 says:

    Neels, Palmer, Donnelly and Johannsen never wrote for the Harlequin Presents line.

    I’ll have to think on this a bit, but I’m with Seton— my guess would be something by Carole Mortimer, Margaret Way, Anne Mather, Helen Bianchin or maybe Sara Craven. Or maybe Rachel Lindsay. Or Anne Wier.  Hmn.

    Diane :)
    around37—yeah, there are around 37 authors it could have been…

  30. 30
    Maya Banks says:

    I’m ordering a used copy too. Crossing fingers this is it!

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