Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: A Souvenir Loving Heroine in a Short Story

Help a Bitch Out! Jordan is searching for a short story from an anthology. She can remember many details, but the title. That's where we come in!

Hey SBs, I'm looking for a book I read back between 2006 and 2009, but it might have been published before that. I checked it out of the library and I only read it once. I think the title might have been 'Witches' or something like that. Its an anthology and I thought it might have a story in to by Jayne Ann Krentz, but I went to her site and I looked for it but didn't see it. I think it might have had 3 stories in it but I only remember 2.

So in the first story I remember, and the one I want to reread the most, the heroine is a woman who (I think) is a librarian in a small town and every thinks she is boring and will never get married. She goes on a cruise as a prelude to her 30th b-day. At one of the ports she's coming back to the ship when she sees the hero in an alley and he's hurt. She drops all her (expensive) souvenirs and helps him back to the ship.

The hero is a retired spy or something and he was on a last mission chasing someone and got ambushed. I think he might have been a super early retiree (he is like 38) or been forced to retire because he's got a limp or a bad or something. Why he's doing this last mission by himself when he has a bad leg is beyond my comprehension because you'd think the agency he works for would have sent back up or something. It must be his alpha personality keeping him going.

Anyways, he must not have seen the attacker clearly, because it turns out that the person he was after was also a passenger on the ship who later uses the heroine as bait the lure out the hero.

Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself, so after she helps him to the ship she stays with him and is dazzled by his alpha personality. She invites him to dinner and they spend more time together. She's wearing her feelings on her sleeve and he's all quietly reserved. Then the bad guy kidnaps her when she's out at the next port and the hero saves her, but he reveals that he's a spy or whatever and the heroine get's really upset. She claims that he used and tricked her and she leaves and doesn't even get back on the ship. She finds a way to get home and has the ship people ship her stuff back to her.

When she gets home, she becomes liberated and stops wearing bras and gets a hot new hair cut and throws a blowout bday party. She gets drunk and starts flirting with some guy and the hero shows up, having concluded his mission and he kicks the other guy out and woos her and eventually gets her back.

What made me think this was a JAK was because the heroine had auburn hair and she liked mythical creatures. All her souvenirs had been dragons and fairies and unicorns and tigers (although they aren't mythical). Also the heroine always compared the hero to a dragon or a tiger. I seem to recall one of JAK's heroines doing something like that. Also, the style of writing was very similar to JAK. I don't really care about the other stories, just this one, so can you HaBo?

Oh, man. I love a good taciturn alpha on a cruise ship. Do you recognize this story? 

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  1. 1
    SF says:

    It’s definitely a JAK – I remember reading it! I think it was one of her little stand-alone stories. It was a smaller book, closer to like Harlequin size.

    Aha!
    FABULOUS BEAST
    BY STEPHANIE JAMES 1984
    CATEGORY ROMANCE
    SILHOUETTE DESIRE #127

  2. 2
    Barb in Maryland says:

    Oh rats! SF beat me to it!!
    It is definitely “Fabulous Beast”.
    This is one of my favorite oldies from JAK.
    It is well worth the effort to track it down for a re-read.

  3. 3
    SB Sarah says:

    Dang, you guys are GOOD! WOO HOO!

  4. 4
    Jordan says:

    You got it SF! Thanks so much!

  5. 5
    Cordy says:

    Multiple things in this post made me laugh, but this made me laugh loudly:

    “I think he might have been a super early retiree (he is like 38) or been forced to retire because he’s got a limp or a bad or something. Why he’s doing this last mission by himself when he has a bad leg is beyond my comprehension because you’d think the agency he works for would have sent back up or something. It must be his alpha personality keeping him going.”

    Excellent.

  6. 6
    Sarina Bowen says:

    Damn! I am always amazed by the steel-trap memories on these threads. Amazing.

  7. 7
    Jody W. says:

    I have a confession. I’m tempted to make up the most wackadoo romance plot ever and see how many people can find it. Something tells me it’s already out there!

  8. 8
    Karin says:

    There’s another good JAK book that involves “meeting cute” during a mugging. But in this one, the hero rescues the heroine in some back alley in Mexico, she runs away but leaves an earring behind. He tracks her down back in the U.S. and she doesn’t recognize him, but he gets a job working as a dishwasher in the restaurant she owns. (JAK is big on women who are small business owners) The book is called “Gift of Gold”.  I think she later finds the earring when it falls out of his pants pocket and gets freaked by the stalkerishness aspect of it.  It’s got psychic elements too, actually one of my favorite JAK books.

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