Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: White Water Rafting With an Ulcer - That’s Not a Euphemism

Help a Bitch OutThis HaBO (Help a Bitch Out) request is from Andie, who is looking for a book on behalf of her daughter: 

I am looking for an older romance novel – 1970s? – that I read (and reread) between 1984-1990, but I cannot remember any of the characters' names, nor the title or the author.

It starts with the main female character – a blonde, ex-lingerie, pantyhose model? with an ulcer – driving through a mountain pass in the late afternoon. She stops at a roadside park, gets the heebie-jeebies feeling like she is being watched and drives on to find a place to stay rather than risk driving at night.

In a case of wrong-blonde mistaken identity she gets kidnapped by the main male character and forced to white water raft down a river with him in an attempt to escape the really bad guys – all the while chugging Maalox, being shot at, ruining a group of innocent river rafters' trip (one gets shot in the leg by the bad guys) and braining one of the baddies with a rock.

Towards journey's end, the two main characters climb a big hill, small mountain, cliff? that the main male character has wanted to revisit, take in the view, share a moment, (as she chugs Maalox) then finish their trip where they get picked up by a contact in a helicopter, plane?, double crossed and delivered to the bad guys.

There are threats, the female character's ulcer erupts – something, something – she ends up in the hospital and all ends well because the main male character saves the day.

What the ever loving hell is this book?! Do you know what this is? 


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  1. 1
    LG says:

    The only thing I can think of where the character has an ulcer is M.C.A. Hogarth’s Earthrise, which was published recently and is more space opera than romance, although there is romance by the end of the trilogy. I spent a good chunk of the book fretting over her health and probably would with this one, too. O_O

  2. 2
    Suzanne Noll says:

    Willing Hostage by Marlys Milhiser, and old favorite of mine!

  3. 3
    Carol says:

    @Suzanne: Amazing!

    I love HABOs. As someone who can’t remember the title (and if it’s not one of my favs, the author) of what I’m currently reading, I am awed by all of you who answer these.

  4. 4
    Mag says:

    I totally remembered this book as I was reading the description!  When Suzanne identified the book, I knew she was right!

  5. 5
    Suzanne Noll says:

    This was a memorable book. The dialogue was witty (snarky before there was ‘snark’) and the characters were distinct and appealing. I still have my original paperback.

  6. 6
    Mag says:

    Maryls Milhiser also wrote The Mirror which is a fantastic time travel book.

  7. 7
    Susan says:

    Oooh, I read The Mirror eons ago!  I looked at the prices of her books:  someone should make Millhiser’s backlist available in digital.

  8. 8
    SB Sarah says:

    Y’all are amazing.

  9. 9
    Shannon Johnson says:

    I’m excited to look up this book, tho the HaBOit kind of reminded me of a few Karen Robards.

  10. 10
    Anne Stuart says:

    Loved that book.  “It wasn’t like it was hermetically sealed.”  (Chortle).

  11. 11
    KatieF says:

    The only things I could remember about this book was the Maalox-swilling heroine and that I absolutely loved it. It was the first Milhiser book I read and since then every library and bookstore I go to I look for her books. Milhiser was not, unfortunately, very prolific. In addition to Willing Hostage and The Mirror, I also really liked Michael’s Wife—heroine with amnesia FTW!

  12. 12
    Ellie says:

    As a whitewater guide and romance fan, I currently want to squee before even reading this book. Thank you!

  13. 13
    Phoebe says:

    A bit of catnip for me, so I had to take this out of the library after reading the HABO. I’m not sure it’s held up well over the years. I get the nostalgia, but one of my romance requirements is everything wrapped up at the end. Did this happen and I missed it?  I read the last chapter (with its twist) twice and I’m still not convinced the h/h are safe and happy.

    Also, trigger warning—Glade gets drunk, angry, and rapes Leah. It’s not described, but when he asks her right after if she’s ashamed she says she doesn’t know, and he says she shouldn’t be because there wouldn’t have been anything she could do to stop it.  I’m not usually squicked out by Old Skool, but this didn’t endear him to me at all.

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