…Or One More Reason to Like My Nook
Back in 1990, while eight months pregnant and more than a little miserable, I came face-to-face with the king-of-the-romance-cover, Fabio Lanzoni.
Actually, it was more like nose to chest.
Fabio came to my office for a book signing (I worked at the headquarters of a major book retailer). The announcement of his presence didn’t send me off the deep end, although plenty of the women around me swooned over the news.
On day of his arrival, moments before the scheduled event, I’d waddled around a corner to return to my office. Crashing into a small group of people, I stopped and couldn’t move. Fabio stood in the center of them. He wore a button-down shirt, conveniently left opened a few buttons further than most men would’ve dared. My gaze landed on the smooth, tan skin of his muscular chest. I struggled to stop staring. Instead, my vision detoured to his chiseled cheekbones then shifted to his crystal blue eyes.
Intimacy those days — thanks to humid July weather and the final weeks of pregnancy — had been very far from my thoughts. Yet for those few seconds, my hormones received a zap they hadn’t felt in some time. I uttered “Excuse me,” fanned myself and continued to my office. I’d officially joined the ranks of my swooning co-workers.
It’s a moment I’ve never forgotten. One I’m certain the gorgeous Italian model doesn’t even remember.
I thought of Fabio recently when a friend offered a bunch of paperbacks to a group of us that she’d already read. The cover of a scantily clad Scotsman, à la Jamie Fraser from Outlander, caught my eye. I grabbed it without even thinking.
In the days that passed, I picked it up and peeked through the first few pages. However, if someone entered the room, I’d drop the book and hide it like a twelve year old boy caught with a Playboy.
As a writer of women’s fiction with romantic elements, I’m a proud member of the Romance Writers of America and a true romantic at heart. Thirty years ago, the staple offering for romance centered one type of book. Yet the genre has blossomed, still carrying plenty of great titles if you want your bodice-ripped (who doesn’t), but now offering suspense, mystery and time travel, to name a few.
So why was I acting so weird?
Was it because my high school and college-aged daughters might not want to think their fifty-two-year old mother was interested in that stuff anymore? Or have my husband think I was running around day-dreaming about scantily clad men in kilts. Especially when he seemed to have more intellectual pursuits on his reading list.
I was dying to read the darn thing. The book appeared well written and I happened to enjoy the story-line along with the, ah-hem, developing romance. So I simply plopped in the living room one night and buried my nose between the covers. Nobody said a word.
Then I spotted my Nook on a nearby table and it hit me…to the outside world, one piece of downloaded material looked as innocuous as the rest. Reading a title such as The Hunger of Lord Ian — a made up title but one where I’d expect to see a long-haired Scotsman grace the cover — could be confused for War and Peace on the Nook or Kindle.
Guess I’ll add one more thing to the list of reasons I’m glad Santa stuck that Nook under the Christmas tree for me this year.
Last night, I admitted to my husband about my hide-a-book theory. He laughed. Turns out he isn’t always downloading War and Peace either.
The news stunned me almost as much as the time I bumped into Fabio.