Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Ahoy Captain

Pam writes:

Hi! I heard through a friend that you gals have a feature called Help A
Bitch Out, and was wondering if you could help me.

I read this book about 13 years ago. Some of the following may be true; some
not. This is just what I remember.

Book had to be written early 1980’s or 1990’s. I think there may have been
a logo on the cover: Heartfire, Zebra, etc…

Was about a young woman and her brother traveling together. Seems like the
ship captain wants to bed the sister, but the brother has sex with him
instead in order to fund their passage. Not sure whether the brother is gay
or not. Seems like one of them becomes ill somewhere in story.

Sorry, but this is pretty much all I got. Can you please help me out with
this one? Thanks.

OK, I will eat my shorts if there’s a Zebra with a gay captain buttsecks scene from the 80s. As a matter of fact, I dub today Crazysauce HaBO Day. Stay tuned for more HaBO Crazysauce ALL DAY. Because when your brother takes one for the team, or at least to protect his sister’s glory hole, that deserves its own day, right? Right.



Help a Bitch Out

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  1. 1
    DreadPirateRachel says:

    I don’t know what this is, but I want to!

    On a side note: why am I up at 2:06 in the morning, you ask? I’ll tell you. It’s because evil mean professors expect their students to be masters of cinematic skillz, and as a result, I’ve been editing a film noir spoof for the last ten hours (due tomorrow). Stupid finals week.

  2. 2
    Askine says:

    Actually I think I read a translated version of that book in the early ‘90s. Though if I’m right, the brother made himself available to the whole crew eagerly (it’s later discovered he’d had an affair with the tutor he and the sister had before they were on the ship), and the sister was kidnapped by a pirate/her one twu wuv.

    Now I’m really wishing I could remember the title.

  3. 3
    Scrin says:





  4. 4

    I don’t know what this is, but I want to!

    Damn straight!

    Er…you know what I mean :)

  5. 5
    Dianne Fox says:

    This sounds incredibly familiar—like something I’ve read about but not actually read—but I can’t for the life of me remember enough about it to get a good search result.

  6. 6
    Deadline Hell says:

    Arrrrrgh! Shiver me timbers, ‘tis the Dread Pirate Buttsecks!

    early73: actually, yes I was born then; how’d you know?

  7. 7
    Virginia E says:

    I really don’t remember any m/m sex in any of the hundreds of mainstream romances I was reading back then. It’s possible that it was from one of the erotic publishers like Black Lace, Blue Moon, or Carroll & Graf.

    There is also the possiblity that it was one of several historical romances where a brother & sister were fleeing an evil guardian/next of kin. Several of them had the brother disappear under questionable circumstances so the twin sister dressed up as her brother to protect his inheritance while pretending her demise. There was at least one where a godfather was a sea captain who took the “young man” under his wing, but found himself attracted to his ward. They end up having sex after he figures out the ward is a she. There’s another one where they are fleeing, bro disappears, she’s pretending to be bro, while secretly in lust with the captain. The ship arrives in Venice during Carnivale and she dresses up as a courtesan so she can have mind blowing sex with him.

    In both cases, the brother resurfaces, the baddies are exposed and our hero & heroine have their HEA.

    Check Seduced by Virginia Henley. I can’t find the Carnival book, but you could also check out The Switch by Lyndsay Sands.

  8. 8
    Cheryl McInnis says:

    “SPEW”…and there goes my coffee! I really have to hold off on reading you all until after I finish drinking. I’m tired of drying out my keyboard, ;-)

  9. 9
    DiscoDollyDeb says:

    Sounds a bit like Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” (brother & sister travelling together on a ship)—although TN had no overt m/m situations (what went on between the Captain & Sebastian is another story….)

    I don’t remember too many romances from that period where there were men who gladly stepped into the breach, so to speak, to protect their sisters’ honor, but I do remember quite a few romances where the heroine is placed in an arranged marriage and her husband cannot perform the deed because he’s, gasp, attracted to men.

  10. 10
    Virg says:

    Haha, argh! Wanna read this one. Sounds like fun. >:) Crazy-arsed pirates.

  11. 11
    Vanessa says:

    Ok, this one I have to know.

  12. 12

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard the phrase ‘glory hole’ used in quite that context before, and I am from and in a military family.

  13. 13
    redgirl says:

    Wow, ditto on wanting to get my hands on this!

    Commentary was inspired—someone needs to take one for the team and figure this out. Then we can all pass it around.

  14. 14
    Noite says:

    Cassie Edward’s Rapture’s Rendezvous from the early ‘80s features a brother and sister immigrating to America from Italy. The isn’t any mention of the captain having sex with anyone, or even wanting to, but the sister hooks up with the hero for a dinner, and the brother is raped by a male (it might even have been two men) gambler on the ship.  I found it in a box of my aunt’s old skool romances when I was a kid, and I remember being fairly surprised by the sexual content.  I still find it a little surprising, given the time period.

  15. 15
    Noite says:

    It might have helped if I’d mentioned that both brother and sister get ill during the boat ride, and the hero nurses them back to health.  All that and the afore-mentioned seduction and rape happened all within the first 100 pages, and it gets far crazier from there.  And the father of the siblings sells the sister’s hand in marriage to pay for the ship passage for the two of them.  But the brother was very upset about it.

  16. 16
    Carrie S says:

    SB Sarah – if you have to eat your shorts, maybe you can puree them into a nice sauce for your book you have to eat.  I’m a bit concerned about your nutrition, though.

  17. 17
    Pam says:

    Rapture’s Rendezvous sounds a lot like the book I am looking for. Will get a copy to be sure and will get back to everyone. Seems like it was possibly rape and not of his free will.

  18. 18
    redgirl says:

    But then how fun would *that* be?

  19. 19
    lizzie(greeneyedfem) says:

    Pam, it looks like Google books has the first few chapters online.

    Oh, and it’s Cassie Edwards! Keep an eye peeled for those tonal shifts and scientific factoids. ;)

  20. 20
    StaceyIK says:

    Lizzie, tell me more about tonal shifts and scientific factiods.  Aren’t factoids really made up facts rather than the real thing?

  21. 21
    lizzie (greeneyedfem) says:

    Stacey, I guess factoids are defined as “not really facts”! Huh. I was using the word to mean “little fact tidbits”—incorrectly, it seems.

    No, I was referring to CE’s habit of dropping plagiarized bits from non-fiction works into her novels: you can read all about it here (the links at the top of the page take you to subsequent posts):

  22. 22
    Rebecca says:

    @DiscoDollyDeb: WILDLY OT, but the male/male romance hinted at in Twelfth Night (besides the obvious setup of Orsino and Viola/Cesario) is not between the Captain and Sebastian but between Antonio (the alleged pirate) and Sebastian.  I remember it because Twelfth Night is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, and because in my personal Shakes-verse Antonio is a (cough) “legitimate businessman” – that is to say, he is in the fuzzy world of privateers and POSSIBLY stolen cargo, but manages to masquerade as a respectable merchant….in fact, he is the same Antonio as the eponymous Merchant of Venice, who has grown a little older, but no wiser about financing handsome young men.  (Think about it; Illyria is just across the Adriatic from Venice.  Sebastian and Bassanio are both charming and feckless and in love with very wealthy women.  The pattern fits.)  In fact, in my personal version of the story, Orsino “pardons” Antonio the pirate for Viola and Sebastian’s sake, but for the sake of his own personal grudge quietly goes out of his way to see if he can get Antonio’s credit rating ruined, so he can have vengeance with no fingerprints on it, thus setting the scene for The Merchant of Venice.  I like the idea of Shylock as a secret Illyrian agent, ranting about his hatred of Christians in general when actually he has no particular grudge, and is purely working out a business deal for a foreign prince.  Yes, I am that much of a Shakespeare-nerd.

  23. 23
    StaceyIK says:

    Thanks, lizzie (greeneyedfem), for the clarification.  I have not read any Ewards books so this was news to me.  I enjoyed reading the past debate greatly.

  24. 24
    Katelynne says:

    Rebecca – I love your version of events from Twelfth Night to Merchant of Venice!  I saw both of those plays at Oregon Shakespeare Festival last summer.

  25. 25
  26. 26
    Rebecca says:

    Thanks, Katelynne!  Lucky you to get to see both plays live in close succession!  I just read the Mercedes Lackey/Eric Flint alternate history/fantasy novel In The Shadow of the Lion and now I’m on a Venice kick, wondering if reasonable airfares this summer are even a vague possibility.  (I’m pretty sure they’re not.)

    There’s a (probably out of print) anthology called Weird Tales from Shakespeare that has a lot of retellings of plays from odd and twisted points of view that you might enjoy.  (I’ve always been sad it wasn’t part of a series, as I would have loved to submit my retelling of Twelfth Night to something like that.)

    Anyhow, nice to meet a fellow Shakespeare-Nerd.

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