I signed up for this whole ordeal not knowing where it would go. Then they handed me my books and things got suddenly real. An untold amount of preconceptions ran through my head. All ones I’m sure you’ve heard from almost any guy that talks about Romance: “It’ll be nothing but swooning females,” “It’s just porn for women," “plot isn’t as important as relationships,” etc. Then I picked up Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible, and my mind was blown.
First and foremost, Rupert is awesome. He isn’t the chest-thumping, jerky, alpha-joke I was expecting from the cover. (More on that later.) You can call me a bad guy or someone who is prejudiced, but I had the image of an “alpha” being THAT guy; the one that always makes me feel like I’m still the quiet kid hiding behind the Dragonlance book in the corner. But Rupert wasn’t that guy. Now, I’m not sure that Rupert is what the ladies call an “alpha,” but he was fun. He was smart, he gave the reader a wink or two, he was pervy in all the great ways. He is the buddy you want to go drinking with on the weekend. He’s Han Solo/Indiana Jones/Cpt. Jack (Harkness or Sparrow); pick your buddy poison.
Second came Mrs. Pembroke. She wasn’t the swooning, annoying, helpless girl that irritates the daylights out of me no matter what genre she appears in, which sadly is very often in my typical reading fare. I like a lady that can handle her business, and like Rupert, I cannot abide weeping and/or fainting. And okay, I have a soft spot in my heart for academics and not-too-snooty intellectuals, which Daphne fills quite soundly.
Which leads to the whole plot thing, which was surprisingly in-depth (shut up, I’m new, remember?). In fact, I found myself annoyed by it and wanting to go back to Rupert and Daphne’s budding relationship. So yeah, I got sucked in a bit. In fact, my girlfriend teased me a bit for reading it before going to bed. I’ll admit it. I’m man enough.
The villains were a little too mustache twirling/Dick Dastardly for my tastes, but I didn’t care. Even though I knew about the ever-guaranteed HEA, I still got a little excited during the final showdown between Carsington and The Golden Devil.
Now the sex scenes. Got to say it, ladies, if this is supposedly porn for y’all, I’m underwhelmed. Yeah, there was some sexy time for the hero and heroine, but it never overpowered the relationship and the story never sacrificed itself just to squeeze it in. It always felt like an organic part of the story. Like any love scene in a well-made movie, it was tasteful and shifter-bdsm free (thanks, Megan).
My only complaint, and my theory as to why guys freak out so much about this genre, is the cover. The copy I read was hot pink with flowery script and a faceless man on the cover with coat and a partly open shirt. I read it in public, but I’m not too ashamed to admit I was a little embarrassed on the train when I pulled it out of my bag. But once I started reading it, I got into the story and didn’t care one bit if I was getting odd looks from folks. Guess that goes back to the whole “don’t judge a book by its cover” thing.
On the whole I really enjoyed the book. I have been telling people that this book had a very Old Hollywood feel to it, like something out of the silver screen era. I couldn’t help but think of It Happened One Night with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert while reading it. I’m curious to see what Rupert’s brothers are like. Though might get the e-book on those, not sure I am that much of a man to go to the bookstore and check out with a stack of these guys. I get to feeling funny when I have to buy wedding magazines; can’t imagine buying a stack of books with man-candy on the cover…
Stay tuned though, just started Demon Moon by Meljean Brook, so the Romance virgin is tackling the bane of all boyfriends: the Vampire.