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Back to Old School: It Was Contemporary Week

Night Whispers by Judith McNaught (1998)

Heat Factor: No foreplay.

Character Chemistry: Sex so good you’ll forget all of your police training. (But they’re definitely gonna get divorced.)

Plot: Cop goes undercover to investigate her estranged family.

Overall: That’s a nope.


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Sea Swept by Nora Roberts (1998)

Heat Factor: Fighting is foreplay.

Character Chemistry: Sex so good you’ll forget the ethics of your very sensitive job.

Plot: Three brothers have to honor their father’s last wish by rearranging their lives and taking care of their newly adopted ten-year-old brother. And the social worker is really hot.

Overall: Rough seas ahead.

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Back to Old School: Devils Week

Devil’s Bride by Stephanie Laurens (1998)

Heat Factor: Devil is going to make the molten heat inside Honoria explode. In a cataclysmic starburst. For 25 pages.

Character Chemistry: You’re my perfect match because our bloodlines make us strong enough to tame each other. But Devil never says “I love you.”

Plot: Murder most foul.

Overall: Erin was tickled. Ingrid powered through. Holly hated it.


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Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas (2006)

Heat Factor: Billiards and blow jobs

Character Chemistry: Sebastian is such an asshole, but he’s also so soft for Evie.

Plot: Marriage of convenience, gambling hell edition.

Overall: Erin loved it. Holly tolerated it. Ingrid can’t remember the plot.

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Back to Old School: Pirate Week

Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey (1990)

Heat Factor: It’s your standard old school fare—a couple of relatively descriptive scenes and then a bunch of interludes that fade to black.

Character Chemistry: Antagonism leads to love. 

Plot: Georgie is dressed as a boy but James knows she’s a woman. So he’s seducing her. And then they’re forced to get married. 

Overall: Slow. Then bonkers.


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Captured by Beverly Jenkins (2009)

Heat Factor: There’s a lot of blue balls, and then it’s just balls to the wall.

Character Chemistry: It was “NO!” Then, “YES, let’s do it.” Then, “Let’s get married!”

Plot: Dominic steals Clare away from her mistress and shows her a life of freedom, but Clare can’t rest easy until her children have also been freed from slavery.

Overall: High stakes, low tension. Very historically juicy.

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Back to Old School, Dueling Review, Rant, Recommended Read

Back to Old School: Hottie McScottie Week

The Black Lyon by Jude Deveraux (1980)

Heat Factor: It slipped in. Consent optional. Do you need consent if you’re married?

Character Chemistry: He is large, grumpy and swarthy, and she is fair, smol and pure. How can they not fall in love?

Plot: One damn thing after the next, caused by miscommunication and stupidity.

Overall: They’re mad at each other, but they don’t know why they’re mad at each other, and they won’t stop doing dumb things to each other.


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The Bride by Julie Garwood (1989)

Heat Factor: It’s the sexiest one we’ve read so far in the Old School read-a-thon

Character Chemistry: It’s The Taming of the Shrew, but who’s taming who?

Plot: Jamie’s like, “You told me to handle it! So I handled it.”

Overall: This book is absolutely delightful.


Content Note: These books contain rape, ablism, and racism and we discuss this content in our review. Also, sorry, Ranulf of The Black Lyon is not actually a Hottie McScottie, but he’s got highlander energy.

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Back to Old School: The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss (1972)

Birmingham, Book #1

Heat Factor: “His warmth and passion” is “led on to his nest.”

Character Chemistry: Is it abuse or is it love? Hard to tell.

Plot: Brandon rapes Heather. They are forced to get married. And then Brandon takes Heather to South Carolina, where shenanigans occur and also they somehow decide they’re in love.

Overall: It’s all totally yikes or totally infuriating and sometimes both!

Please note: This book includes rape, abuse, chattel slavery, and ableism (among other things), which we discuss in this review.

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