Every now and again, I receive exceptionally irate and often hilarious email messages from readers who are in the middle of a romance that is so WTFCRAZY they cannot keep it to themselves. And then my inbox is splodey with the awesome, and I love it.
The book rants are epic. When we romance fans pick up a book that drives us bonkers with the WAT?, it can get ferociously funny. So I have a new feature for those of us who love the WTF books so very much – and there’s absolutely an audience for crazysauce books. I know there is: I’m in it! When a book falls off the bad spectrum and, powered by the sheer propulsion of crazysauce on fire, circles back around to WOW AWESOME, it’s a beautiful thing. Where would we be without the excellency that is crazysauce romance? I’d be miserable – I love books like these, which amplify the silly with excellent crazy and bring on the fun.
So here’s our first book rant, from a reader who asked for the pseudonym “Pig.” She adds, “Not because I don’t own my book wtf-ery (I totally do), but because when my friend and I play Monopoly, I’m always the pig and she’s always the pretzel, and well, she’d get a hoot out of it. (We’re reading this book together, btw. It’s slow-going, what with all the commentary that inevitably takes place.)”
Book: Killer Temptation by Nina Bruhns
Publication: 2008, Silhouette Romantic Suspense
Oh my God. Oh. My. God. Like, OK. I don’t even know where to start.
The heroine, Zoe, and her friends are “secret travelers” gallivanting around
Fiji, rating resorts and the like. They drop Zoe off at her resort (they get
their own books, I think) and the resort is EMPTY because she didn’t want to
be DISTRACTED by all those damn HOTEL EMPLOYEES. How can she be expected
to rate the hotel when everyone keeps trying to SERVICE HER NEEDS?
The resort hotel in Fiji is empty. They’re just going to let her stay there.
The door is unlocked. She can help herself. There’s beer in the fridge, etc.
Jiggle the handle on the toilet if it won’t go down, that sort of thing.
She walks off the boat and finds this guy dead in a hammock. Blood all over
his chest, we’re told. She screams. Her friends think she’s waving them off,
so they wave back. Leaving her all alone on the tropical island with the
empty resort and a dead guy. And a fridge full of beer. We can’t forget the
beer. What is Fiji without beer.
But the guy, it turns out, isn’t dead. He’s just napping. And in the process
of napping, he spills his Bloody Mary on his shirt. Because the two–blood
and clamato–look SO MUCH ALIKE. It also explains how he got “stabbed” with
a celery stalk.
I am not making this shit up.
Zoe trips and falls and lands on top of the Falsely Presumed Dead Guy (FPDG)
and they flip out of the hammock and land on the sand with him on top of
her. Chest to Bloody Mary-soaked chest. He introduces himself as Breeze (I
like FPDB better) and she assumes he’s the gardener; no one else was
supposed to be at the resort. The way she reacts to the advances of “The
Gardener” makes me wonder if “secret traveler” is code for “island-hopping
Breeze is onto her, though. Because as we all know, he’s not The Gardener
but instead The Owner of the Resort. What? That’s not a proper noun? Sure it
is. JUST GO WITH ME ON THIS, IT’S ABOUT TO GET GOOD. Anyway, so
Breeze, being the owner and all, knows a Secret Traveler is coming to rate
and review his resort, and he’s going to make sure he gets five stars.
They gyrate in the sand for a few pages, and then he gathers her luggage and
offers to wash her dress–the one he stained when he landed on top of her.
He walks her to her hotel room, she gives him her dress, and he takes it
down to the basement where the washing machine lives. He’s loading her dress
into the wash when he decides, “Well shit, I’d might as well wash MY
So he strips down naked–Breeze don’t do no stinkin’ underwear–and adds his
clothes to the wash. After all, he reasons, she’s in the shower. He can
easily make it down to the boat house before she has time to catch him
But wait! What is that he spies just as he’s leaving! Why, it’s the SPECIAL
FRUIT BASKET he had made for the SECRET TRAVELER!
Unease washes over Breeze (I rhymed!) as he realizes that Zoe may in
fact BE the secret traveler! Good thing she hasn’t had time to look around
her hotel room yet, because if she did and the fruit basket wasn’t
there…well, he might just fail the “Did you feel welcomed?” part of the
Secret Traveler review!
I’m going to stop right now to ponder aloud how the motherfucking goatball
shit in hell he didn’t figure this out before. He works there. There are no
other guests. You could have balls for brains and figure that one out.
But Breeze…oh, Breeze. He doesn’t have balls for brains. I’m not even sure
he has shit for brains, because the next thing you know, he’s running
upstairs, naked as the day he was born, peen flapping in the wind. He gets
to her door and listens. The water is still running. He still has time. Good
thing he has a MASTER KEY! A MASTER KEY he keeps up his ass, apparently,
because isn’t he naked?
He sets the fruit basket on the table opposite the bed and freezes. The
water has stopped. Zoe steps out of the bathroom wet and naked (thanks to
the Great Towel Shortage that hit Fiji in 2008?). She looks at him. He looks
at her. She looks at his penis. He looks at her boobs. When she doesn’t
appear all that…surprised? disturbed? to see him, he decides to own his
He’s all, “Made you a fruit basket. With my penis.”
And she’s all, “Oh, it must be a NUDIST colony.”
Not, “Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck I am ALONE on an ISLAND with NO WAY OUT with a
GUY who is NAKED in my ROOM, a room he entered by using his MASTER KEY.”
Which is what a normal woman would have been doing, I’m sure.
I remember once I was in a hotel room and the manager accidentally came in
on me while I was sleeping, and I was so freaked out I checked out and
stayed in a crappy little shithole for the remaining five days of my trip.
Because while it didn’t have a lazy river pool, the rooms did have chain
locks. And, well, those situations you just pick your battles, you know?
But not Zoe. Zoe’s nonplussed about the whole thing. In fact, what little
unease she has–unease at thinking she hadn’t done enough research on the
resort, not unease at being sexually harassed by a naked man with a master
key to her and every other room in the place–is erased once she sees the
fucking fruit basket.
Quote, Kindle Loc 316:
All at once a rush of relief spilled through her. Oh!
Of course he must have put his clothes in with hers to be washed. And she
had told him she was showering…That must be it.
And the old men who feel you up in subways? Just trying to help you with
that wedgie. OF COURSE.
She goes through the basket, admiring its craftsmanship and also the
champagne and other “tasty delights”. And by tasty delights, I’m not just
talking about chocolate and biscuits. I’m also talking about Breeze, whom
she can see outside her window, walking naked to his boathouse.
She pours herself some champagne and makes a mental note that the resort
gets full points for feeling welcomed.
And that is only chapter two.
Pig continued to update me as she read, and she and Pretzel tell me that the plot only gets more enjoyably insane as the book continues. So if you were looking for some grade-A crazysauce, look no further. Killer Temptation is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Sony | Kobo | HQN | All Romance eBooks.
Liz Fielding’s TEMPTED BY TROUBLE is so so good. It first caught my attention as a Mills & Boon RIVA (are those covers fantastic or what?) so when I saw it at the used bookstore as a Harlequin Romance, I snatched it up. Sweet, funny, full of understated humor. The kind of book that makes me want to slap Harlequin for not bringing those RIVA covers over to the US. Just yesterday I had a conversation with a friend of mine who expressed her frustration that romances weren’t written for a younger (as in mid-twenties) audience, that they’re outdated, unrelatable, etc. She was shocked when I started listing off authors who wrote category but had strong, contemporary conflicts and characters. And I used to have that opinion, too, until I was schooled in romance by a girl I used to work with. Even knowing what I know now, I don’t think I would have chosen a Romance for myself had I not recognized the title and author. They’ve always seemed very vanilla and conservative, very unlike RIVA. But that’s a tangent for another email, I think.
Thank you Pig, for our first bookrant, and for the recommendations. And thanks to BigStock for the comic image, which cracked me up.
This book is available from:
Killer Temptation by Nina Bruhns
May 26, 2008