I think everybody has a friend who or knows a woman (or is the woman) who gets involved with really crappy men because she feels like she can “fix” their massive issues. It’s stupid in real life and it’s stupid in rom-com movies and it’s stupid in romance novels but of course it’s in like 110% of them, because hey why not, right? But here’s a novel that’s so damn SPECIAL and UNIQUE that it makes not only the hero a gigantic asshole in desperate need of fixing, but a heroine who is similarly assholish! It’s like an asshole match made in asshole heaven! Pretty much by p. 2 I stopped caring about either of them, though as the asshole-fest progressed I started to feel a little bad for the lady Violet (which, ps, is the name of my car – true story) because the earl was SUCH an assclown. Anyway…uh…enjoy?
The book starts with Violet hanging around at a ball with these other women – who she’s so ABOVE, of course – and they’re gossiping about this big hot dude and she’s like, ugh, how low class, because she’s so SPECIAL and she’s so UNIQUE and AWESOME, and she isn’t like one of THOSE ladies, she gets into TROUBLE because she’s such a ROGUE and men fall all over themselves to woo her and other women like to hang around her hoping that some of her awesomeness will dribble off onto them, only of course she guards that shit like holy water because SHE IS JUST TOO AWESOME TO SHARE. And the dude is big and hot and American and maybe a savage and totally OVER the Brit social scene but the KING just made him an earl because he promised to hunt down this awful pirate LE CHAT (me-OW!) and he’s only in town for a minute because he has men’s work to do, but meanwhile he’s bumming around with his sexy French buddy and thinking about his sexy mistress and all the sexyfuntimes he’s had at a brothel called – I shit you not – THE VELVET GLOVE. Grooooooooooooooosssssssssssssss. And then he and the stupid chick dance and the whole scene is “I know you are but what am I!” and her insisting, “I am NEVER banal!” while saying all kinds of completely banal things. I mean SPECIAL things. Special and AWESOME!!!!! And then it turns out that her brother looks like LE CHAT and she figures out that it’s her OTHER brother who maybe is LE CHAT…he’s been missing for a year and also LE CHAT’s ship has the same name as the woman who broke his heart. SO TRAGIC. The morning after the party, she sneaks off to the earl’s boat and pays one of his dudes to let her on and she shacks up in an empty cabin and then the earl hears about it so he goes to investigate and he’s like WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU?!, and she’s like I’M SPECIAL AND I TAKE RISKS!!!!, and he’s like you are not safe here and also you are stupid. But then she finally spills the beans about why she came on (because her brother is maybe LE CHAT? And she’s going to hunt him down? Or something? While being SPECIAL!!!!!) and he’s like, OK let’s play chess and if I win you get off at the next port and if you win you get to sleep in my room and then get off at the next port, and she agrees and she’s actually super good at chess (BECAUSE SHE’S SO SPECIAL) and she’s winning until she falls asleep (…specially?), so of course he has to pick her up and put her in his bed and she feels so SPECIAL in his arms and he feels that SPECIAL stirring in his SPECIAL place but he’s a SPECIAL kind of earl so he doesn’t do anything and then, oh yeah, she wins the chess game. More importantly: nobody’s kissed an earl yet. I want my money back.
So she wakes up on the boat and she’s all, omg I’m on a boat, and then the cute French guy brings her breakfast and then the earl comes and he and the French guy have this weird sort of charged conversation, like they spent a long sweaty night together and now they’re linked at the soul, and then the French guy leaves and the earl hangs out to make fun of her some more and she acts like a spoiled asshole and then he bets her that she can’t throw a dart at his map (not a euphemism) and give him 2 facts about wherever the dart lands. And she has this moment – I swear to god – where she thinks to herself that she’s REALLY smart but she doesn’t have to be smart at fancy parties so her smarts are rusty! And then she of course lands the dart exactly on the one place she knows anything about, because her brother went there and wrote a book, and when he finds out that she knows about the place because of her brother it somehow becomes a hollow victory for her? I don’t really get it. I guess you can only know things if you learn about them in a certain way and your brother’s book is not an earl-approved way. Whatever. They’re both assholes, who cares. Then she goes on a walk on deck with the French guy (while all the seamen gawk at her and fall all over themselves, but I know from reading romance novels that women on boats is BAD LUCK and TRUE seamen hate it, so this is yet one more way for the author to insist that the heroine IS SO SUPER DUPER SPECIAL, or maybe she just didn’t do enough research) and learns the earl’s whole sob-story background, boo hoo hoo who cares. Then they dock at Le Havre and they stay with this insufferable woman (because every other woman in the world besides our SUPER SPECIAL heroine is a whore and a bitch, AM I RIGHT?) who has clearly played hide the sausage with the earl and possibly with the French guy as well and also maybe with the heroine’s pirate brother. WHORE SLUT SKANK, ugh. Then this dirty little urchin child slips the heroine a note IN CODE, but not a cool code, one of those stupid pictograph codes where it’s like “R (picture of a sheep) (picture of a bee)+ing (picture of a safe)” to mean “are you being safe?” Get it? So of course she solves it, like, right away and it’s from her brother and he’s like, why the eff are you here?!, then he sends her another coded letter via the dirty urchin hiding under her bed (weird, bro) and spills all his plans to her via code. Then she sits down to dinner with the awful slut woman and everyone else and the woman is just being an awful slut the whole time so they have an argument in French where they call each other whores. STAY CLASSY, LADIES!!! She goes out into the garden for some fresh, non-slutty air and the earl wanders out and they have a conversation about love and I almost broke my jaw yawning and then…and then…! Nope, they still haven’t kissed yet.
After they don’t kiss – he touches her face with a flower, yawwwwwwn – they head back to the ship to follow her brother to Brest (tee hee) because of course she told the earl all about where he’s headed. NICE MOVE, SIS. The next morning, she starts working in the boat kitchen. Oh yeah – peeling potatoes! Which she doesn’t know how to do! So the earl has to SHOW her! And it’s all impossibly sexy, of course – yeah, take this knife, unnnnhhhh, like that, yeahh, oooh peel that tater girl, mmmm, yeahhhhhh. At first she’s all, this sucks and I hate the earl even if it is nice when he rubs up on my butt, but then later she’s all, I totally understand that he understood that I needed to be needed and he’s making me work in the galley for my own good because what an awesome dude. And then they make another agreement that if she can stand to work for 3 days she gets to sleep in his bed again (alone – her bed is uncomfortable and as a LADY she clearly deserves the more comfy bed). She does of course and then she goes to his room to sleep and she snoops around a little and she finds this g.d. flower that he touched her face with pressed in a book. A FLOWER PRESSED IN A BOOK. Jeez. Then he barges in and she hides but she can’t help talking out loud when faced with the awesome glory of his naked torso (humina humina humina), which leads to some extreme making out and since they’re, like, totally MEANT for each other it’s like sparks in their mouths which I think sounds crappy but they dig it…until he gets all weird and leaves, like an asshole. She can’t sleep that night so around dawnish she goes up on deck and finds him and they do some more making out and things, you know, progress from there and then she’s like NO WE CAN’T and he’s like TOUCH MY PEENER and she’s like OH GROSS and then he lectures her about how she can’t play games with HIM, no ma’am, because she won’t like what it FORCES him to do to her. This guy, what a romantic. I think I speak for all women when I say it’s my FAVORITE THING when a dude I’m about to have sex with threatens to use force if I don’t let him have his way! MY FAVORITE EVER!! Yuck. So they spend a few days avoiding each other and then they get to the next port but they’re too late, the pirate has already sunk a ship and they go talk to people, yawn, and she’s cooking up a theory, whatev, but mostly he’s just pissed off at her for giving him blue balls and she’s so horny she can hardly think straight but she thinks straight enough to not want to be touched by him, so good for her. And then they go to this bar to talk to another dude and the busty serving wench gives her another message from her brother, which the earl immediately figures out, and he’s like what else did he say what else what else what else anything you want to share with the class HMMMM? And she’s like, please stop talking to me you self involved asshole and NO you are NEVER putting your funstick in my vajesus so stop leering at my fucking tits!!!!!!
Then there’s a STORM! AT SEA! And she’s like, “I’m a COUNTRY GIRL, I know all about storms!” and I laughed so hard that my heart stopped beating for awhile. But after I was revived via CPR, I kept on reading to discover (SHOCK OF SHOCKS) that the earl ordered her below-decks and she ignored his order and almost died. HAHA! WOMEN! SO SILLY!!! Then he took her below and literally ripped her clothes off like a terrible ogre instead of just saying, look you’re going to freeze if you don’t get dried off, because men don’t do girly shit like communicate AM I RIGHT OR WHAT?! And then they fool around, blah blah blah. And then later there’s a PIRATE ATTACK! And he doesn’t have time to order her to stay below-decks, but it doesn’t matter because again she wanders up top and ends up shooting the pirate – which, of course, I totally believe because a) old-timey guns always aim true and were not hard to fire and b) SHE’S SO SPECIAL!!!!!! And then they “comfort” each other with sex. As one does, you know. And they have sex for days until all of their parts chafe off. And then he finds out where her brother the pirate is but he tries to hide it from her but of course he’s no good at that and she comes along and they JUST missed her bro but he left another message for her in a SPECIAL box which the earl can’t figure out – ugh puzzles are so GIRLY – so after he goes to bed she finds the message and goes off to warn her bro. And then the earl wakes up and she’s gone and she left a little note like sorry dude I got shit to DO and he’s real mad, of course. Then he runs into her brother the pirate and they have an awesome little chat about how SPECIAL and GREAT his sister is and the earl is all, OMG I LIKE TOTALLY LOVE HER, and the brother-pirate tells the earl that he put his sister on a boat back to England and the earl lets the brother-pirate go, because if the KING OF ENGLAND gave me a job to do I would definitely blow it off to go get laid OH YEAH. But it’s fine because he’s, like, a moral pirate with a good agenda and whatever, so good for him, yay piracy.
And then he shows up in England and presents himself to the butler, who regrets very much to inform him that the lady Violet was lost at sea on her way back home. The earl, of course, forgets to be a big manly man for a second and collapses to the floor, weeping and tearing out his hair, gnashing his teeth like a great wounded beast to the collective horror of the butler and the rest of the household who have gathered to watch, until finally they have to drive him from the property with pitchforks and lock the gates behind him. The lady, naturally, was never lost at sea – indeed, she was found at sea. She found herself at sea. She made a promise to herself never to live for a stupid, tantrum-throwing man baby again – be he father, brother or lover – and instead settled on a little tropical island, letting her hair grow long and tangled and her skin tanned to a deep brown by the sun, kissing only men she chose to kiss – none of them earls – and riding the O train with or without them, no less than any of us deserve. And even if the earl did, someday, find her little island and come looking for that pale, spoiled lady he’d lost, he’d never recognize that girl she used to be in the woman she’d become and eventually he would shed asshole tears for himself and his lost sexyfuntimes and she would watch him stomp away with something like smug satisfaction because she’d learned not to be such an asshole, something he would never ever learn, and she would live on and on without her secret ever being revealed, her and her lovers and the white sand of her safe, warm island.
Anyway, that’s what should have happened.