In the Writers’ Lounge here at the Emerald City Writers’ Conference, they have stacks of Harlequin books, free for the taking. I had to take a picture of this one:
I didn’t know there was a “Billionaires and Babies” series, or a market for such a series, but apparently there is! The back cover tells us a bit about it:
That’s such a very, very specific thing to be looking for in a romance! But I think I approve. One hears so much, these days, about ruthless, non-nurturing billionaires in romance; I’m glad someone’s writing billionaires who go mushy for babies.
Unfortunately, by the time I made up my mind that I wanted to go back and actually pick up the book, all the copies were gone. (Maybe there are a lot of billionaire+baby fans in the ECWC populace?) So instead I decided it was time to bite the bullet and read a Harlequin Presents.
There were several to choose from, and I chose one whose title followed the classic “Adjective Noun, Adjective Noun” construction, and whose storyline involved a swarthy rich playboy, a seduced innocent, and a pregnancy. I think I read about 20 pages before I had to quit. I’d heard a lot about how HP heroes are usually overbearing jerks, and I thought I’d prepared myself for that, but he turned out to be jerkish beyond what I’d imagined. I couldn’t wish for an HEA for him, or get invested in any woman who’d fall in love with a jerk like that.
Also, something kind of weird: The back-cover copy referred to him as a “billionaire,” but twice in those first 20 pages he was described as a “millionaire.” So maybe there was a plot point in which he added to his already remarkable fortune and went from millionaire to billionaire. Or maybe the heroine discovered, somewhere in the story, that he actually had a lot more money than she’d heretofore realized.
Or maybe… I don’t want to think this is true but it did occur to me… maybe someone in marketing said, “Hmmm, who’s going to buy a book about a mere millionaire these days? It’s too late to change it in copyedits, but let’s just upgrade him on the back cover to make the book more attractive to the billionaire-seeking reader.” (And then I have to wonder if any reader bought the book and then wrote to complain about the bait-and-switch.)
Anyway I sat by Susanna Fraser (guest on my blog, November 20!) at one of the meals, and told her about my unsuccessful attempt to read an HP, and she said there’s more variety in them than you’d think and I should really try another. She recommended Doukakis’ Apprentice by Sarah Morgan.
So would people agree that’s a good HP to read, for a reader with a very low tolerance for jerkish & possessive heroes? Or are there other HPs you’d recommend? I’m really not crazy about “Powerful man has glamorous women falling all over him, but chooses plain, sensible, pure-hearted woman.” Are there HPs with super-glamorous heroines, or sorta pushy, irritating ones? I can take some jerkishness in the hero as long as the heroine is allowed to be jerkish too.