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HaBO: Back in the 80s

Tiffany is looking for this book she read a long, long time ago:

I have a HaBO that has been driving me nuts. In typical late 80s/90s
fashion, I don’t remember the book being particularly good, but it has just
stuck in my mind. And it WILL NOT LEAVE! It’s a contemporary that takes
place somewhere in the Midwest, if I recall correctly.

The hero hates models and women who are overly gorgeous. The heroine is a small town mousy girl
who left home and comes back all grown up. The hero likes how squeaky clean
and sweet she is and they start dating. The heroine continually gets teased
for being so plain. Ultimately, it comes out that she is actually one of the
top supermodels of the day. Shows what a little mascara can do for you! This
is one of the first romances I read and for nostalgia reasons I’d like to
go back to it—if only so I can finally forget about it. Please…HaBO!

I still think everyone remembers their first romance novel, and to some extend has a nostalgic love for it, even if it was a bit or a lot off the rails. Anyone remember this book?


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  1. 1
    Alyssa says:

    I think you’re talking about Desert Rain by Elizabeth Lowell… The heroine’s name is Holly and she uses the name Shannon as a model, right? And the hero has a little sister who she becomes friends with, and she ends up winning his trust by risking her life to save the sister from being bitten by a rattlesnake?

    If so, that’s the one.

  2. 2
    Wahoo Suze says:

    I agree, Alyssa.  Also, just to confuse us, that was an expanded version of Summer Thunder, a Silhouette Desire.

  3. 3
    Cara says:

    AH! I can’t believe there’s actually a HaBo I knew! But someone beat me to it already. There’s even virgin-rape-tastic-sex in there. Good times!

  4. 4
    Barb in Maryland says:

    Ahh yes, yet another Elizabeth Lowell where I wanted to beat the “hero” with a baseball bat.  I have, over the years, written some really neat alternative versions of this (and other Elizabeth Lowell Silhouette Desires) in my mind—it was a good way to ‘sing’ myself to sleep!!

    Confession time:  Elizabeth Lowell was my book crack! I bought and read ALL of her Silhouette Desires and Silhouette Intimate Moment Books.  I couldn’t resist!!  Her SD’s were much more alpha-tastic than the SIM’s, an FYI for your new readers.

    spam word: line 53—I guess there were about 53 Elizabeth Lowell books in the Silhouette line.

  5. 5
    Cara says:

    Question – Is there a special place/form where you can submit a HaBO? I’ll admit that when I started getting back into romances, this was one of the ones I remembered from raiding my mom’s nightstand. Fortunately, I managed to find it on my own, but there’s one that I can’t for the life of me find anywhere – pretty sure it had to be a Silhouette Desire or a CandleLight romance, as I think that’s all my mom read. Something involving a cold, hard-hearted corporate guy and his secretary and lucid dreaming between the two of them about various past lives… ?

  6. 6
    cleo says:

    @ Cara – there’s a form in the Contact Us section – I think one of the drop down menu options is HaBo or something like that. 

    And to just guess, that sounds kind of like Remembrance by Jude Devereaux – it has past lives and regression and general craziness – don’t remember a secretary though.  Think the heroine is a romance writer (in her contemporary life).

  7. 7
    SusiB says:

    Yes, I remember that book. It made me swear to never touch an Elizabeth Lowell book again :-( It was bad. Really, really bad. There was a scene when the hero and heroine had sex and she did something slightly more active than letting him have his way with her. Afterwards he accused her of having cheated on him, because how else could she have come up with the idea of touching him there?

  8. 8

    Okay – call the PC Police if you wanna, but—

    I say that Lowell’s “Only” series should be on everyone’s keeper shelves.  Ms. Lowell’s romances, especially her earlier ones, take the reader deep within the hearts and minds of the hero and heroine in a way that enhances each reader’s experience.

    Yes, Virginia, Ms. Lowell’s “Only” series shows and tells in such a way that the showing becomes telling and the telling becomes showing.  The reader both experiences and understands the stories in a way that many newer tales – hampered by a hideous adherence to the ‘show not tell’ rule -can never match.

    Check ‘em out.  The “Only” series by Ms. Lowell will remind you why you love romance.

  9. 9
    Debra says:

    I forgot the title but it could be a Sandra Brown book.  The hero was a football player and she was a model who was tried of the limelight and being sold by her mother.  She comes out to him at a big party.

  10. 10
    cleo says:

    @ Debra – I thought of that one too – it’s The Rana Look by Sandra Brown.

  11. 11
    DS says:

    I think it was Summer Lightning rather than Summer Rain.  It was an amazingly awful book.  At least the original version was.  I read it in 2006 and there is not enough brain bleach. 
    Here’s a quote I saved.  Remember Holly is the model/heroine, Cyn is the current girl friend of the hero.

    “You bought only dresses?” murmured Holly, glancing at Cyn’s hips with a knowing smile. “Roger could design a pair of pants for you. I’m sure we have some cloth around here somewhere, don’t we, Roger?” Then, before he could answer, “Oh, I forgot. The material is only forty-four inches wide. That won’t quite do, will It?” asked Holly with wide, innocent eyes.

  12. 12
    HollyY says:

    @DS   – Oh yuk. And the Holly person of whom you speak is the heroine? What a bitch. Speaking as a Holly AND fat chick, that’s just wrong. Definitely doesn’t work as humor for me so I’ll be avoiding that book. Thanks for the heads-up. :-)

  13. 13
    Jill says:

    Debra and Cleo, yup, I thought it was “The Rana Look,” too. Who knew there were so many “models in hiding” stories! ;-)

    capcha says: Results73! So according to that, there are 73 such books.

  14. 14
    Jill says:

    Hrmmm … why is there a picture with my comment? Did I inadvertently steal someone’s ID?

  15. 15
    Rebecca says:

    Bitchiness aside, Holly the Model Heroine doesn’t seem too competent.  If she’s savvy enough to (accurately?) guess at someone’s hip size in inches, she should be savvy enough to figure out that pants (unlike skirts) are not (often) made from a single swathe of cloth.  That’s what the seams on the sides of the legs are for.  My (limited) experience with designers and models is that no matter how bitchy they are, they take clothing quite seriously, and wouldn’t make a “mistake” like that even in the interests of being insulting.  If she wanted to score points, Holly would be more likely to make a comment about a color, material or style being unflattering to Cyn’s figure (as in “Do you really think minidresses are a good idea?  They cut off your thighs in the widest possible place, and with your build…” or “That silk really is lovely.  It’s a shame those horizontal stripes emphasize your tummy.”)  As written the scene strikes me as a piece of poorly written inconsistent characterization.

  16. 16
    kkw says:

    I read the Rana Look fairly recently – it’s not my favorite Sandra Brown, but it’s not bad.  The hero does at one point wear a cropped shirt, however, and I could not stop giggling. I remember when guys used to wear half shirts, and for me his chiseled abs could not counterbalance the terrible hair I knew he’d also have.

    @Cara – if there’s lucid dreaming, I’d look for Jayne Ann Krentz (who is also Jayne Castle and Amanda Quick). But write up a HaBO and someone is bound to know for sure.

  17. 17
    Susan says:

    The Rana Look is what popped into my mind right off, as well. 

    I’ve read the Lowell book and don’t think that fits the description as well.  Confession time:  I also have to admit that I went thru a Lowell phase (the older books only, not the St. Kilda books) and they were a real guilty pleasure, despite the “heroes” almost always being class A jerks.

    I also thought of one of the older Diana Palmer books.  A lot of them featured models—but they all run together in my mind (since they’re all basically the same book) so I’m not sure if there’s one that fits the description here.

  18. 18
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