After a short spell of reading “real” literature, I’m back on the scene. Or back in the saddle. Or back on the wagon. Or whatever you want to call it. Point being, I cracked open a romance novel and it wasn’t chock-full of rape and nastiness. In fact, it was most enjoyable. Well, the parts where they were going at each other like starving dogs after a filet were enjoyable. The rest – those boring filler pages where you learn things and get to know the characters, yawwwwwwn – was pretty skim-worthy.
Hint: this book (and the recap) is infinitely better if you think of it as THE PURRRRFECT LOVAHHHHH, said in a husky sort of moan. Seriously.
See, the dude (Simon) has decided that what he needs to make his life well-rounded and socially acceptable is a wife and some kiddos and the chick (Portia) has decided that she really wants babies so she’s shopping for a husband. And they’re old family friends – well, not friends exactly, sort of antagonistic siblings without the blood relation. They meet up at this big party at a family friend’s manse and the first 100 pages are BORING, BORING, BORING. Oooh, this is who’s talking to who and this is what so and so is wearing and this is how such and such feels about x, y, z and this is the gossip and this is a conversation that doesn’t matter and this one girl is acting like a strumpet and OH MY GOD WHO CARES. Who. Cares. It was so painfully dull that at one point I had to put the book down and nap it off. This is something like book 10 in a series of related books in which all of the characters find hot hot love one after another, so maybe I’m supposed to already know and care about these people, but I do not. I don’t care, they aren’t interesting, I’m literally just turning pages and hoping that something, anything, will happen (especially if that something is a landslide that buries all of them in rubble except for our two main characters). But, thank goodness, I finally reach a storyline that doesn’t completely suck: the dude is teaching the lady all about the good stuff that comes with marriage (she’s very analytical, this is RESEARCH). Give you a hint – it involves nipples!! OK, I lied, it does suck…but it also bites and kisses and licks and fondles. HA! See what I did there!
Literally the only parts of the book I find worth reading are the sex scenes. So far we’ve learned about kissing, nipples, how to undress a man, man nipples, more kissing, digital stimulation and the gentle patting of a fully-clothed erection. Oh, and we learned about riding the O train and how AWESOME it is. Good for us. I love that Portia is kind of a horndog, she’s all about some secret makeout sessions, like, every three seconds. Own it, lady! And there’s none of that stupid does he/doesn’t he waffling romance heroines usually do, not our girl Portia. She’s like, wow, we had a moment, I had a moment, he had a moment, we had a moment together, DAYUM HE IS SO INTO ME! Which of course he is. So of course I wish the story would just stick to the sexin’ and how fun sexin’ is instead of trying to have this other storyline with the mysterious gypsy and the other SO BORING storyline about the slutty girl who’s slutting around like a huge slutty slut and totally embarrassing herself and everyone is all, OMG such sluttishness I can’t even deal with this, and the slut is all, so what if I’m married whatever marriage is dumb and I thought it would be cooler than this bullshit and I refuse to have a bunch of nasty snotty babies and I’d rather try to get every single man here to schtup me in the bushes because hey why not! I swear, if I have to read one more scene where Portia WATCHES the slutty slut do slutty things and narrates what she’s doing and how slutty it is and goes all judgey mcjudgerson for pages and PAGES AND PAGES, I am going to poke out my eyeballs. Girl, you can’t even be around Simon without trying to hump his damn leg, get off your high horse! Now it’s revealed that the slutty slut has slutted it up too much and she’s TOTALLY PREGGERS and this is a big deal that I care about (except, no) and since it’s being amped up as such a big deal I’m sure Simon’s involved in some way, maybe he’s the baby daddy or at least could possibly be the baby daddy (you know this dude isn’t keep it in his pants, even if she is a slutty slut who sluts all the slutting time) and, blah blah blah, there will be a big to-do and Portia will be all, ohhhh shoooooot, and she’ll have to weigh all the sexin’ against being with a dude who had a baby with a slutty slut (who will probably die in childbirth so things don’t get too complicated). Sexin’ will win. That’s my prediction for the next 200 pages. Also: WHO CARES.
Anyway, back to sex. Finally Portia lets Simon put his uh-huh in her mm-hmm and IT IS AWESOME, like the awesomest thing that’s ever happened and he is SUCH a manly man manly man man that she goes all googly and all but swoons with bliss. And I’m wondering how the hell anyone can get any sleep with them screwing and moaning and crying out and gasping and such. Like, come on, SOMEBODY has to suspect. And somebody does suspect – that slutty slut sees Simon leaving Portia’s room after walking her back there so no one would discover Portia in HIS room and she’s all, AH HA YOU TOO ARE A SLUT ALSO and he’s like, shut up you whore. Then later Simon and Portia are taking a flirty stroll and he is like, look, I think we should get married. And she’s like, AW HELL NO, why would you think that?! Turns out, Simon agreed to the sexing practice because he already knew he wanted to marry her so it wasn’t, technically, like having premarital sex. Got it prudes? But Portia wasn’t really thinking about marrying Simon, regardless of all her OMG WE HAD A CONNECTION IN WHICH WE CONNECTED NOT ONLY OUR DIRTY BITS BUT OUR SOULS thinking, which we KNOW about because we are IN her head half the time. Don’t play coy, Portia. It’s stupid. Then, later, OK so my predictions end up being totally wrong. Ugh. I HATE THAT. The slutty slut didn’t have time to point her slutty slut finger at Simon (who may be a rake but he isn’t a slut obviously) or at Portia (who may be sleeping with a dude she isn’t married to and isn’t sure she wants to marry and has no plans to stop until she decides but that is NOT slutty slut behavior because it just ISN’T and anyway we like her so it’s different, jeez) because someone KILLS her. Dun dun dunnnnn! Portia finds the body and everyone is like, omg this is sooo upsetting, and the cops are all, yeahhhh we have to investigate nobody leave the county. Naturally Portia finds non-slutty, sexy comfort in Simon’s rakish non-slutty arms. I think the rules are it’s only slutty slut behavior if everyone knows about it? And if you hide it from everyone and do lots of sneaking around and covert sexing then it’s okay? Whew, glad we got that sorted out.
Sexy times abound between these two red-hots! Our girl even goes so far as to blindfold dear Simon – ooooh, so sexy – and have her way with him, which is just unspeakably torturous. The sex scenes continue to be the most interesting parts of the book, but I’m noticing a lot of references to riding and equestrian imagery, which…hm. I think this is maybe less sexy than the author intends it to be. I mean, she outright says that Portia is good at sexing because she’s such a gifted equestrienne. That makes me feel a little icky. Plus there’s all kinds of references to Simon’s “reins” and letting loose the reins, etc, and I think what she means is “the reins on his self-control,” but with all the references to riding/being ridden (you know) I can’t help but get a mental image of those S&M bondage “pony” outfits. Obviously some people get off on that, but I’m not one of them and I don’t think Simon and Portia are either and I really, really wish Stephanie Laurens would just knock that shit OFF. PICK A NEW G.D. METAPHOR. After the sexing, Portia goes back to her room and decides not to get in her bed and it turns out to be a good move because – OMFG! – someone put a snake in her bed! Perhaps to kill her! WHY PORTIA WHY?! Everyone assumes it has to do with the slutty slut, and not because Portia is acting like a slutty slut (good heavens no!) but because she saw something that could identify the murderer and doesn’t know what it is BUT when she does figure it out, oh boy…she is going to ruin someone’s day. After the excitement dies down, Portia and Simon spend a long span of boring pages playing Sherlock & Watson as they try to figure out whodunit. Then the detective shows up and they go over it all again, but not without some jarring POV shifts into the detective’s head so the reader understands that he thinks Portia is SO SMART WOW and not like normal ladies, right, and surely not like the slutty slut, riiiiight, and gosh, she’s such a great gal. Not like that slutty slut, who’s murder is going to be soooo hard to solve on account of all the slutting and also because everyone hates her for it and also also because she got what was coming to her AM I RIGHT OR AM I RIGHT? Justice. Bam! Later Portia and Simon do the sex some more. Thank goodness they love each other (or will eventually love each other) and are going to get married (maybe, probably) and this sex does not at all break social mores of the time or else I’d have to put my judgmental pants on. I hate those pants. They chafe!
They continue to have sex every other second and of course she loooooooves a good dicking but she still just isn’t SURE if she wants to marry this dude. I mean, they’re falling in loooooove (which she knows from staring deep into his eyes and his SOUL), they can’t stop humping and they’re, like, friends too and she’s still all, ohhhh but I can’t commit….hmmmmm. Then they discover that the young gardener (who’s described as a gypsy, which I guess is not meant pejoratively but it’s like saying “Indian,” it’s unhelpful writerly laziness) is DEAD JUST LIKE THE SLUT. But of course he struggled before being killed successfully so now everyone is like, oh definitely a man did it because men are strong and women are not and you know who’s really strong is the slutty slut’s poor cuckolded hubby… And then someone tries to kill Portia – AGAIN! Luckily Simon is on hand for some comfort-humping. Then they decide that since they know they’re not the murderers and the detective is an outsider they should act as his “consultants” and help him read between the lines on what people SAY and what they MEAN. Very charitable of them to translate their rich-English into commoner-English for the old chap. Later their help is not enough and the detective is like, how about we use Portia as bait? And Portia and Simon are like, okay! But maybe they don’t realize that if this plan goes wrong and Portia gets offed they won’t be able to have sex anymore…
The scheme is thus: Portia and Simon pretend to have a falling out and then Portia fawns all over another guy. It’s genius because the murderer has demonstrated a dislike for both Portia AND slutty sluts, of which slutty group she is pretending to be but is not really! So, there’s that. (And also she and Simon have SUCH a hard time with all this pretending and not being able to dry hump each other at dinner that they still meet up at night to bone. Way to not commit to the scheme, guys!) That goes on for a while and then she and Simon have a big fake fight where he calls her a cocktease (I know!) and she slaps him (I KNOW!) and then they both stomp off. By themselves. And here’s the part where the murderer is expected to follow Portia and kill her. She sees a man! But, oh, it’s just the gypsy guy who’s sleeping with the maid and who is not a murderer. Then she sees another man! And, oh, it’s the husband of the slutty slut, shoot she was hoping it wasn’t him. THEN she sees another man! And, oh, it’s a house guest who’s running for a seat in Parliament and ALSO HAPPENS TO BE THE MURDERER!!!!! Portia eludes him by jumping the lake. Uh huh, right in the lake. He tries to jump in too to escape all the people who come running to her aid, but unlike Portia HE can’t swim. Silly! They all ponder letting him drown but then they rescue him, blah blah blah, and the detective questions him in front of EVERYONE and he’s like, OK so I totally boned that slutty slut but I thought it was over and then she was like I’m pregnant and I was like it’s probably your husband’s baby but then SHE was like I don’t sleep with him anymore and I was like UGHHHH you’re so stupid so I killed her and she ripped a piece of my jacket and I knew Portia had to have seen it in her hand so I was trying to kill her so she wouldn’t tell anybody about it. Then Portia’s all, ummm…no…there was nothing in her hand when I found her. And then the murderer’s sister is all, OMFG you big dummy I took it out of her hand. And everyone is like, OHHHHHHH. And then Simon and Portia go have sex some more and she’s like don’t hold back! And he’s like, wellll there’s this thing I’ve been wanting to do but you’ll say no. And she’s like, YES YES THE ANSWER IS YES, and he totally gives it to her from behind. WHOAAAA. Then everybody leaves and Simon takes Portia to his house and he’s like, if I’m going to live here I’ll need a wife and some kids, and she’s like, I DO I DO I DOOOOO NOW GET OVER HERE AND TAKE OFF YOUR PANTS! The end.
Overall, not a terrible book. But honestly I wish there was more sex and a lot less plot, because the sex was fun and the plot was so, SO boring. I mean, soooooooo boring. But, you know what, the book is called The Perfect Lover and the loving (the physical loving, not the goo-goo eyes emotional loving, yuck) was the best part so I guess that’s what the author had in mind the whole time. Right?