Silhouette Desire, $1.95, ISBN 0-671-46272-5
Contemporary Romance, 1982
Oh, look what I found – the first ever Silhouette Desire novel ever published by Harlequin! For a moment I am quite excited, thinking that perhaps I can sell off this book at some online auction site to some collector for a few hundred dollars. Imagine my disappointment that this book is available online by the dozens, each going for one freaking cent at Amazon. I guess my plans to move into a bigger house, get a big swimming pool, and hire some hot pool boys will all have to wait.
Some books don’t age well and Corporate Affair by Jayne Ann Krentz, writing as Stephanie James, is one of those books. I’m sure though that even if I read this book back in 1982, I’d still find this book befuddling indeed. The hero of this book, Rand Alistair, is one of those “forceful” types that Ms James was very fond of back in those days and Rand runs roughshod all over heroine Kalinda Brady in this book, showing little respect for her decisions and wishes. If you are not fond of “she’s just a sweet little girl, never mind what she says, she doesn’t really know what she wants until a masterful man tells her what to do” sentiments in your stories, perhaps one cent is too much for this book then.
You see, when Kalinda first meets millionaire-rebel fisherman-gallery owner (I know, the mind boggles, doesn’t it?) Rand, Rand deliberately makes her wait on him for hours before he deigns to open his store for her, and then he just ignores her questions and instead starts asking her very intrusive questions, persistently, about what she is doing in that Colorado small town that this story takes place in. He then deliberately makes her wait when she clearly says that she’d like him to hand over the artworks she’s purchased from him so that she can leave, all the while pushing her to go out with him. On that date, he forces a kiss on her – to which she swoons in delight from, of course – and then asks her to have an affair with him.
A sane woman would probably walk away from Rand, if not tell him to back off or she’ll slap him with a sexual harassment suit, but I guess romance heroines can’t afford to have dignity just like most characters in a horror movie can’t be intelligent, or the story would be over in ten pages. The hilarious thing is, Rand tells himself and Kalinda (and me, of course) over and over again how he left the corporate world (while conveniently keeping his bazillions of dollars, of course) because he doesn’t like the ruthless and selfish person he’s becoming. I guess he thinks it’s okay though to be an insensitive brute when it comes to his relationships with women. He magnanimously returns to the corporate world – oh, the sacrifice he has to make! – to help Kalinda stave off a hostile takeover of her company (left to her by her daddy – heroines don’t start from scratch, that’s not a ladylike thing to do) by her predictably mean and bad ex-fiancé.
Like too many Jayne Ann Krentz romances, the hero would decide that he wants her so bad that he must make her marry him and once they’re married, the heroine will do her best to convince him that they’re in love. There’s nothing much to say about this book, really, because Kalinda is Just Another Heroine from this author while Rand is Just Another Hero, only more “politically incorrect” (read: he’s an insensitive, pushy, overly demanding, suffocating brute) than most Just Another Heroes of this author tend to be.
The author’s formula doesn’t work too well for me in Corporate Affair because the depiction of the relationship between the characters requires me to suspend my disbelief too much. The fact that Rand is often very insufferable and annoying in his high-handed know-it-all kiss-me-I-know-you-want-it ways only drives home the fact that one cent for this book is actually a good value for money. I certainly won’t pay anything more than that for this dated and therefore completely irrelevant story.