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Fool’s Paradise by Ann CooperFoolsParadise
Harlequin Romance #2383 (1980)

Recently a girlfriend told me about a neighbor’s bachelor party she surveilled while crouched in the yard beneath a window. One stripper. A dozen men. Wouldn’t you know it? Two hours later she was watching these friends fight in the street.

It’s an age-old formula: sexual tension minus sexual release equals…

For one incredible moment she thought he was going to beat her.

Girls in these romances knew how to keep it close and tight. As a result, Fool’s Paradise features another angry-pants alpha male. I love a Mr. Angrypants when he’s dropped in an HEA…So long as he doesn’t leave me with a case of blue-box, which I’m realizing this era of Harlequin breeds in spades.

Meet-up: He’s the distant family relation (and former lover) newly appointed to save from bankruptcy her historic heirloom home. (cf. The Grass is Always Greener with Debra Kerr, Cary Grant and Robert Mitchum c. 1960).

Conflict: He is angry because she ran away when he proposed marriage. She loved him, but he’s city refined and she’s country estate, so she thought he was proposing marriage to get into her panties. Which would have been my preference.

Although some highly-prized petting does occur off-scene:

He kissed her toes – no one had ever kissed her toes before – then he kissed her knees and finally, a long time afterwards, he was kissing the tips of her fingers. There wasn’t anywhere at all left undiscovered.

Nowhere? Nowhere at all?

In the end, their consummation had me chucking the book onto the nightstand:

It was a long time later when Emma finally woke up in Nicholas’ bedroom.

Am I angry? Not really. It was a good, fast read. And a house full of blue-boxed women won’t result in fighting in the streets.