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HaBO: Afraid of the Dark? Try Sex!

Bridget offers a romance novel cure for nyctophobia:

At the moment I’m trying to re-read all my old favourites to escape a whole
bunch of stress but I can’t remember what this one was called, or what the
main character’s names were, or much at all, really. I don’t know if this
was the first romance I read but it had to be pretty close.

What I do remember is that the hero is a prince of some made-up European
country and he sees the heroine at a hotel and mistakes her for his fiance,
princess of another made up country, who has recently run away. He abducts
not-princess and travels into the forest with two of his loyal men (one
not-so-loyal?), and they head towards his capital city. I think they are
going bush because there is insurrection in the countryside/someone trying
to kill them?

Later on the bad guy catches up with them and I remember a scene where the
hero and heroine are hiding in the secret compartment of a hut in the woods,
but because she is afraid of the dark they have to make wild passionate love
so that she won’t scream in terror. Because that totally…anyway.

Point is he has massive guilt issues about turning out like his libidinous father and
thinks he has scared not-princess, an impression she seems to confirm when
she runs away. Stuff happens and he finds out that she isn’t really his
fiance but decides to marry her anyway, and then in Church the real princess
appears with something like a manifestation of a goddess?

Little hazy by this stage, but any title suggestions would be welcome. Googling ‘sex
secret compartment afraid of the dark’ isn’t really something I’m keen on
doing, and I’ve tried everything else…

I think Googling ‘sex secret compartment afraid of the dark’ would be a very bad idea, yes. In the name of nyctophobia, anyone recognize this book?


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  1. 1
    CJ Hester says:

    Yes! I think it’s “The Runaway Princess” by Christina Dodd.

  2. 2
    ReganB says:

    Agreed, The Runaway Princess by Christina Dodd.

    I’ve read it and you summarized the plot line pretty well.

  3. 3
    Alissa says:

    Yep, totally The Runaway Princess by Christina Dodd. I quite liked it! The funny thing is I don’t remember her being scared of the dark…but maybe I was concentrating too hard on the sexy times :P

  4. 4
    Ken Houghton says:

    I think Googling ‘sex secret compartment afraid of the dark’ would be a very bad idea, yes.

    The first three links are to this blog/post.  The only “trigger” link on the first page is to a piece about Roseanne from People.

    Captcha: the very flattering “age45”

  5. 5
    Jennifer U says:

    I immediately thought Christina Dodd before I finished the first paragraph.  The Runaway Princess is correct.

  6. 6
    Sarah says:

    Looks like the actual book has been found, but if you’re interested in a non-romance (but with very strong romantic, and some fantasy, elements) that starts the same way, Sherwood Smith’s new book Coronets & Steel just came out and is awesome. There is a prince of a made up European country and he sees our heroine (an L.A. girl who fences) when she’s traveling in Vienna, thinks she’s his missing fiance, and abducts her.

  7. 7
    Phyllis says:

    There’s a Sabrina Jeffries where the hero was walled in during a military prison insurrection. He and the heroine escape from Scottish kidnappers and the only place to hide is a priest hole in a burned-out house, so they make mad, passionate love very very quietly.

  8. 8
    Phyllis says:

    Sorry, meant to say that the hero is afraid of teh dark instead of the heroine.

  9. 9
    Briget says:

    You guys are awesome, as always. Thanks for the title! I think I’ll try the Sherwood Smith novel too.

  10. 10
    Keira says:

    A Wanted Man by Susan Kay Law has a similar sex scene but it’s the hero who can’t stand small spaces.

  11. 11
    SonomaLass says:

    LOL, Phyllis. I read that as “hero is afraid of teh dark instead of [being afraid of] the heroine”!

  12. 12
    Deb says:

    Although it’s not the book being requested here, Jennifer Blake’s ROYAL SEDUCTION has some similar plot points:  The heir to a minor European principality mistakes an innocent young woman for his murdered brother’s mistress (the woman is, in fact, the mistress’s cousin), abducts and rapes her, then feels terrible about it (this is “old school” romance, baby).  The prince and the woman then set about to discover who murdered the prince’s brother and if one of the prince’s loyal cadre of companions really is completely loyal.

    /I love me some old-school romance…except, ya know, the rapey bits.

  13. 13
    ks says:

    Definitely Christina Dodd.  It’s a really entertaining read.  She also has a sequel of sorts about the not so loyal guy that is pretty good.  There’s probably also one about the more loyal of the two, but I haven’t read that.

  14. 14
    DianeN says:

    So the lesson to be learned here is to beware of princes from mythical European countries unless you’re into the sexxoring in dark confined spaces? Good to know!

  15. 15

    @Deb said—I don’t know if I’ve ever read Jennifer Blake, but not sure I want to try after this synopsis. Kind of turned off, I am, by the idea a woman author could write a woman’s romance where the heroine is raped and then turns around and helps her rapist on his mission of vengeance—to prove she’s loyal?  Old skool was a bad skool if that’s the kind of love it celebrated…

  16. 16
    Rachel says:

    Although not exactly similar, the description reminded me of Johanna Lindsey’s Once a Princess.

    Once Upon A Time…In a rustic Missiissippi tavern, a beautiful exiled princess was forced to dance for the pleasure of others—unaware of her regal birthright…and infuriated by a magnificent golden-eyed devil who crossed an ocean to possess her.

    From A Far Off Land…A bold and brazen prince came to America to claim his promised bride. But the spirited vixen spurned his affections while inflaming his royal blood with passion’s fire…impelling virile Stefan Barany to take in sensuous and searing conquest the love Tatiana vowed never to yield.

  17. 17
    Deb says:

    @JoAnn Chartier:  Many of the “old-school” (say, pre-1990-ish) romances involved the heroine being raped by the hero—usually because he either misread the signs or thought she was experienced, etc. (which, of course, begs the question:  Would the rape have been OK if the heroine HAD been experienced?)  As time went on, thankfully, the rape scenario has become increasingly rare in romance novels—leading the writers to be more inventive with developing ways to get the hero & heroine in bed together.  Jennifer Blake is quite a good writer, with a lot of books to her credit, most of them with New Orleans (or Louisiana, in general) settings; but there’s no getting around the fact that in many of her earlier books, the hero rapes the heroine.

  18. 18
    Maria says:

    I picked up Once a Princess at my local Betty Griffith House Thrift Store. And several other books of varying, shall we say, WTFery. When books are 50 cents a pop, it’s easy to get carried away. Once a Princess had it’s moments. Of the books I bought that day, it was middle of the pack for WTFery.

  19. 19
    Karen H says:

    I was reminded of this post when I was reading Monica McCarty’s “The Hawk” this afternoon.  The hero and heroine are escaping by sea in a small boat in the dark and there’s a terrible storm and she asks him to make love to her because she’s so frightened.  And the motion of the tiny boat, of course, adds to the pleasure she feels.  That then reminds me of one of my favorite Marsha Canham books that I refer to simply as “the one with sex in the yardarms.”  I would look it up but the popcorn just finished popping.  If I see a request in a later post, I promise to look it up.

  20. 20
    Tiffany sale says:

    I don’t know if this
    was the first romance I read but it had to be pretty close.

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