Fiction: “A Dangerous Love” by Sabrina Jeffries

dangerous lovePicture it: Halloween 2017. I had just gotten back from a whirlwind weekend trip to Montreal with an old friend and was pretty exhausted. My friend and her friend left for California on the last Sunday in October, and I didn’t have to go back to work until November. So after sleeping pretty much all day Monday, I felt like I had to accomplish something, and I wasn’t in the middle of binging anything on TV, and I didn’t have any Halloween plans. So I decided to sit on my ass the entire day on Tuesday, with the goal of reading an entire book in a single day.

Aside from a few Sidney Sheldon thrillers I read in high school, I’ve never been able to do that. I get distracted, or, lately, I fall asleep. But if I pick the right book – which would be around 300 pages with a good-sized print and an interesting plot – and if I pace myself, I could probably do it. I mean, books are, on average, 200 to 300 pages long. I tend to read (depending on print size) a page a minute. So even if I’m reading something that’s 360 pages long, theoretically, I should be able to finish a book in six hours – and that’s without stopping for food, bathroom breaks, or the inevitable naptime.

And to give myself a handicap, I picked a “silly little romance novel,” because c’mon, if I’m going to be in my jam-jams all day (“pajamas”), I’m not going to be reading anything heavier plot-wise than that.

I perused my romance bookcase and took out A Dangerous Love. This is the first book in Ms. Jeffries’ Swanlea Spinsters series, and I had previously read After the Abduction, the third book, so now I could have the added bonus of getting caught up in a series! And y’all know how I am with a series.

The good news is that I was able to read the book in a single day.

archer wooooo

The bad news is that I just grabbed the book off of my “to review” shelf and realized a) I did not dogear any pages, so there weren’t any quotes that really struck me, and b) I do not remember anything about the plot.

lana hooray

Here’s what the back of the book says:

The ailing Earl of Swanlea is determined to see his daughters provided for before he dies …

But Lady Rosalind, the earl’s headstrong middle child, wants no part of her father’s scheme to marry her off to Griff Knighton. She is, in fact, far more intrigued by the unwanted visitor’s man of affairs – a devilish rogue, more arrogantly self-assured than the average valet, who has an air of danger about him that is tempting Rosalind to venture onto forbidden ground.

It is Griff himself, however, who has enflamed her desires – having mischievously swapped places with his own manservant to avoid unwanted romantic entanglements. And though he never dreamed he could want any woman so passionately, how can he reveal the truth to the proud, exquisite Rosalind without destroying their blossoming –

— and that’s where the back of the book is cut off by a sticker that I cannot remove. Blossoming love, maybe? Who knows. It’s a mystery.

From what I can remember (and read off of other Goodreads reviews, and by skimming the first couple of chapters), Griff is made to believe he’s a bastard. Like, an actual, born-out-of-wedlock bastard, not just an asshole. In spite of his bastard state, he has managed to build a massive trading firm from the ground up, and it rivals the East India Company. (Sure; sure.) The Earl of Swanlea is a distant cousin of Griff (so marrying one of the Earl’s daughters wouldn’t be completely icky – thanks, Regency England!), and Griff isn’t interested in marriage – but he is interested in searching the Swanlea estate to try and find proof of his legitimacy, which will then allow him to join a trade delegation to China.

So his brilliant idea is to bring his business partner Daniel along, and while Daniel-slash-Griff is “wooing” Swanlea’s daughter, Daniel-slash-Griff’s valet “Griff” can search the estate for Griff’s parents’ marriage certificate, which will prove he was legitimate.

Meanwhile, Rosalind is dead set against marrying out of her impending poverty. Her elder sister, Helena, is also not interested in marriage. But their youngest sister, Juliet, is ready to be married and thus set the plan in motion.

Mentioned quite frequently on Goodreads is the boorish qualities of Griff. I believe them, because I have no memory of the plot. However, I just skimmed the rest of the book – speed-reading for the win! – and while Griff isn’t a bastard, he is most definitely a dick.

He cajoles Rosalind into making out with him and then going to third base. She drops her resistance, but in the light of #MeToo, this whole scenario is very icky. Meanwhile, Rosalind is extremely stubborn when it comes to believing people – her father, Griff after he tells the truth – but on the other hand it’s very understandable, seeing as how practically every man in this novel is lying to her.

That’s what I’ve got for this one. I’m very proud that I was able to read an entire book in a single day, but I wish the book was more memorable so I could talk about it more.

Oh well.

Grade for A Dangerous Love: 1 star

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Fiction: “After the Abduction” by Sabrina Jeffries

After the Abduction by Sabrina JeffriesCan I just say, today has been an amazing day? I had lunch with a good friend, Catholics got a new Pope (Pope Francis! And you know we’re all going to call him Pope Frankie, right? I mean, I’m still a little sad that we didn’t get to enjoy Pope Benny a little longer. If only for the name; I don’t actually truck with that popey-changey Catholicism), and — oh right! — VERONICA MARS HAS A KICKSTARTER.

I haven’t pledged yet, mainly because I am broker than a bad metaphor. I may have gotten one — ONE — Jury Duty check today for a whole $27, but I can’t deposit it until tomorrow. And can I just take one second more of digression and state how amused I am that Jury Duty can’t even pay me my lump sum all at once, but instead I now have to apparently make weekly trips to the bank to deposit twenty bucks at a time? I mean, seriously? Why can’t you just pay me my $90 all at once?!

Gah. Fucking government idiots. The point of that rant was that, while I do need to buy gas, as soon as I deposit some of that sweet, sweet Jury Duty money, I’m contributing to the Veronica Mars movie. Because that is a thing that has to happen. The power of Weevil compels you!

Anyway. The book that I done read. This is another one of those late-night Wal-Mart purchases, and the entire reason I bought it was because not only does this involve a kidnapping, but apparently, it also deals with twins.  Here’s the back cover:

After two London seasons — and a score of resoundingly dull society suitors — Juliet Laverick finds herself longing for one man: Morgan Pryce, the dashing scoundrel who kidnapped her two years ago. But her determination to bring the rogue to justice hasn’t waned — until Morgan’s twin brother, Sebastian, arrives with some shocking news: Juliet’s mysterious paramour has disappeared.

Sebastian, Lord Templemore, dares not tell Juliet the truth: he is the man she seeks — it is his kiss she yearns for. Confessing to the abduction would bring devastating scandal upon them both. But how can he persuade her to forsake her dedicated pursuit of her dream lover, when all he dreams of is holding her in his arms again?

I mean — twins! Masking their identities! Kidnapping! It’s all so ludicrous!

In actuality, what Juliet wants isn’t Morgan’s embrace: she wants him to admit what he did so that gossip will cease back in London. So she goes to Sebastian’s estate with her sister, Rosalind and Rosalind’s husband, Griff (not making it up!) hoping to confront Morgan. Instead, Sebastian tells her that Morgan died while aboard the Oceana, which shipwrecked. That IMMEDIATELY made me chuckle, as I started making ALL THE LOST JOKES. “Which one was Morgan? Was he Locke? Did a plane fall on him? OH WAIT – as he’s clearly a rogue and a scoundrel, that means he’s Sawyer, right? DUDES LOOK FOR AN ISLAND”

And it is true that Sebastian was actually Juliet’s kidnapper – but he only pretended to be Morgan because he was trying to prove that Morgan wasn’t actually a pirate and a smuggler, that he was working undercover with the British War Office or something.

[PS – I just found out that my credit card doesn’t get charged until the end of the Kickstarter promotion, so I just backed the Veronica Mars Movie! Happy Early Birthday to Meeeee!!!]

ANYWAY. It’s this whole big thing, and then of course, after traveling all the way out to the boonies, there’s a massive snowstorm that snows Juliet and her family in. And then there’s a subplot that Rosalind and Griff are trying to conceive, and Sebastian is an overall Nice Guy, and he takes Rosalind to a wise woman or whatever to help her out with that whole fertility thing. Then Rosalind concocts an idiotic story about Juliet being sick so they can’t possibly leave now, and honest-to-God, at some point, I don’t care how infatuated Sebastian was with Juliet, that type of hospitality-tromping is just awful.

Long story attempted to be made short (TOO LATE): Juliet agrees to marry Sebastian so long as he tells her the truth about her kidnapping. He agrees to tell her if she promises to marry him and also have sex with him. She doesn’t want to have sex until she becomes a vampire. Oh wait … Anyway, she learns the truth and forgives him for the lies, but then expects him to tell her family about the whole thing, but he won’t until Morgan comes home because he’s not actually dead, he’s just in hiding. Okay fine, then you can’t marry me until Morgan comes home, thanks for ruining me for the Season!

In the obvious end, Juliet and Sebastian marry and Morgan comes home and Rosalind has a baby and everyone lives happily ever after, the end.

And now, let me impart some magical wisdom on anyone who might be thinking about writing a romance novel. I’ve finally come to admit that I do read a fair amount of these – much more frequently than I thought I would when I started this blog a few years ago. It’s probably a reflection on my current state of singledom, coupled with the idea that in two weeks, I’ll be thirty. But anyway. I’ve read a few, and though I can’t classify myself as an expert, I feel that I can at least be trusted when I say this:

“John Thomas” is not an appropriate euphamism for “penis.” I am okay with ‘cock,’ ‘dick’ (Lord knows I use that one as a swear word more often than not nowadays), ‘manhood,’ ‘stiffness;’ I may even accept ‘rod’ and ‘scepter,’ though those should only be used ironically, I feel. But ‘John Thomas’? As in, “his randy John Thomas”? NO. I SAY THEE NAY, Romance Authors! Just call it a cock, okay? Jeebus.

Okay. Enough about that. I’m now going to go make myself dinner, and I’m debating whether to start a rewatch of Alias or Veronica Mars. Hmm…

Grade for After the Abduction: 1.5 stars