This is not the post I intended to write. The post I intended to write, immediately after lunch was called “Heft, Fluff, and All Points In Between.” I still plan on writing it, at a future date, but a series of unfortunate events (no relation to the book or TV series) intervened, and, well, you get this. Some days absolutely require a romance novel, to set things right. This is one of those.
It all begins with a broken flip-flop. In a romantic comedy, this would be a perfect time for a meet-cute. Heroine’s flip-flop self destructs at cart return, and s handsome firefighter/Navy SEAL/billionaire/single dad/werewolf/time traveler comes to her rescue. That did not happen, but the incident did happen next door to the store where my real life romance hero works, and I did see him on my way out, so maybe half credit for that? As I did the half-walk-half-shuffle between the sight of my flip-flop’s demise, and the store next door, I reminded myself that a soak in a relaxing tub awaited me at the end of the day.
I reminded myself of this again, when the grocery store was surprisingly crowded at why-am-I-still-awake-o’clock, and, with replacement flip-flops firmly in place, did a slow cruise by the book section, to play my favorite shopping game. Said shopping game is called “What Books Would I Get If I Were Going To Be Laid Up In Bed All Week?” This may sound like a very morbid, or at least mildly troubling game, but it’s really not. It has its roots in my mother (aka She From Whom I Stole My First Romance Novel) and how she always got me “a little something” when I wasn’t feeling well. Books were always a good call, and, after I purloined my first paperback, romance novels became my “little something” of choice.
As always, I skimmed the shelves for the romance novels. The category books are easy to spot. The Harlequin shelf tags are kind of a dead giveaway, and the arrays of cowboy hats, business suits, babies, and backgrounds, both dark and ominous and light and colorful, let me know this is indeed the right section. I looked to see if the Harlequin Historicals were back on the shelves yet. Nope, not yet; will check again next week. I moved on to the familiar bonnets and demure looks of the Amish romances, then searched among the historicals for the books I’d been eyeing for a while now.
None of these books actually came home, I should mention, but that’s not because I didn’t want them. The guilt from the pile of library books, and the new release by an author I’ve been meaning to read more of, kept me from that, buuuuut…. that’s not the point of this game. The point is to pick out the books, and imagine what they are like. This time, the two books that caught my eye the most were both reprints of older titles by well known authors, who are now writing different things than what first began their careers. Hmm.
One who started writing historical romance, with a partner, now writes contemporary, on her own. The other, who started out writing highly emotional westerns, now writes Regencies. One, I miss dearly, and the other, I’ve been wanting to try. One is two comp0letely unrelated books in one, and the other is the second of a trilogy, the first one of which I really should have bought when I saw it a couple of weeks before, because now it’s special order or secondary market. I will probably cave on that one (read: I will definitely cave on that one) and, hopefully, will not actually be laid up (in the game, it is always some vague, completely innocuous type of thing; a twisted ankle, a cold; it really doesn’t matter, because the whole thing is about having nothing else to do but read) during said reading. I know I could, in theory, download the e-books right this minute, and who knows, I may, but the idea of taking the paper book off the shelf, dropping it in the cart, and the slightly rebellious act of declaring that this is a valid and necessary part of our weekly supplies, puts a bounce in my step Or maybe it was the new shoes. Who can tell?
I know, I know, move on to the traffic stop. That’s the whole reason my original topic has to wait a while.I told myself that the bath and romance novel were waiting for me at the end of the grocery run, and that anticipation, too, gave me a boost. I get in the car with my housemate, on our way home, and we hear a noise that can bet be described as SCRAAAAAAPE. Think fingernails on a chalkboard, but on asphalt, at fifty miles an hour. Not surprising when, while stopped at a red light, an oncoming police cruiser shone their light on us. Had we been in an accident?
No. Was there something dragging from the car?
Ohhhhhh, yes. Once again, in a romance novel, this could be where the cop hero and the driver heroine first meet. Whole different vibe from the broken flip-flop, dramatic, even, with the dark of night, and the entire front bumper dragging on the ground. Romantic suspense, maybe? Paranormal, if there were traces of something not of this world that caused said bumper to drag. I’m a romance reader and writer. That’s where my brain naturally goes. Everyone is fine, we drove home, and that tub with the book has upgraded to book and candle and chilled beverage.
If I’d written this scenario as fiction, the heroine would have, indeed, bought one (or both, or all)of the books, and settle into her tub in pure satisfaction that she’d made the right call. Real life me is already prepared, with the TBR books I’d lined up in advance, so that’s pretty much the same. A good romance novel, on a good day, is wonderful. On a stressful day, it’s even better.
So, dear readers, now I turn it over to you. Have you ever rewarded yourself with a particularly longed-for book after a stressful day? Pull up a chair in the comments section and tell us all about it. There’s room for everyone at this table.