I have a confession to make.
It has been a secret I’ve kept for years and I have finally come to the point where I just need to let the truth set me free.
I love Harlequin romance novels.
All romance novels, really.
Contemporary, historical, paranormal -you name it, I will probably be all over it.
Which is why I freaked out a little a few weeks ago when the creators of Harlequin Romance novels reached out to me to partner with them on this project.
I mean, I LOVE HARLEQUIN ROMANCE NOVELS.
But, I came thiiiiiis close to not accepting this partnership.
Not because it wasn’t a perfect fit (I have been reading their books on the slippery sly since I was 16), but because this would mean admitting my secret obsession to all of you.
And that felt hard.
It’s book shame.
When all of you guys are reading these deep books with strong characters and heavy storylines, like A Fault in Our Stars and Hidden Figures, I am over here reading a Harlequin Blaze novel called Seduced in the City -the fiery story of a girl from Little Italy and her hot and heavy love affair with her childhood rival.
Kinda hard to just put that out there, ya know?
For fear of being judged.
Never mind that I read the thing cover to cover in two days so I could move on to Angel Unleashed.
Never mind that I enjoyed every moment of it, even if I know as much as the next person it is probably not going to win any National Book Awards in this lifetime.
Never mind that I seriously feel some type of way when I am engrossed in these books. I don’t want to give you the impression that I am suddenly this passion hungry housewife who climbs all over her husband the moment he walks in the door, buuuuut…
I just find myself channeling a little romance heroine from time to time in my daily life…
And I feel good.
What it comes down to is that I like what I like and I don’t really need to feel guilty about it.
Reading brings me joy.
And that’s okay.
No one said reading has to strictly useful or purposeful.
It can just be a hobby.
It’s like those people who enjoy anime, or collect Hello Kitty items even though they are 45 year old women with no kids, or duck hunting, or cross stitch -it’s totally not useful or purposeful to have thread-made little kitties all over your house, but people let you live.
I want to live with my Harlequin romance novels.
Because I read to escape.
I read to be entertained.
I read to be transported.
I read to imagine myself in situations I secretly long to be in (not, like for good, but you know, maybe bowling with a Viking doesn’t seem so horrible), if only for a weekend.
I like reading far fetched books about love and romance between dowdy, awkward girls like me, and roguish, sexy cowboys with a soft side, an MBA, and a very large bank account.
That is what my home girls (face it, most of the writers are female because they clearly get my life) who do Harlequin Romance give me among their pages.
If you haven’t tried one yourself (come on, admit it, you’ve read a couple), let me prepare you for the experience.
The 10 True Phases of Becoming a Harlequin Romance Novel Reader
From selection of a book to admitting you have fallen in love, this is what reading a Harlequin romance novel is like for the average adult woman.
Phase 1: You lol a little at the idea.
You see the title and the cover at the book store (or, let’s face it, it’s 2017, you’re scrolling through the Amazon Kindle library on the hunt for something new)…
You immediately zoom your screen to determine if those are actual muscles or shadows on the cover model’s abdomen.
For the record, they are muscles.
Phase 2: You deny your interest.
You initially tell yourself this isn’t happening, because, duh, you are aren’t exactly a feminist per se, but you are not about to read a book about a damsel being saved from her spiraling-out-of-control life by, what is that? A pirate? A werewolf?!
I mean, maybe a young, gorgeous, billionaire who enjoys a little kinky business from time to time. But, a werewolf? Don’t they like, eat actual people?
Phase 3: Just to be safe, you do your due diligence -after all, you’re smart, you’re looking at books aren’t you.
And you discover the reviews! Holy crap, how does this book have 585 5 star reviews?!
“Eric Drake, a powerful Dark Wolf, has never trusted himself around human females…”
And I am beginning not to trust myself in a bookstore.
Even if it is digital.
Phase 4: You question your faith in humanity and, um, Amazon reviews.
But the reviews are so well written. And pretty convincing too… “I was hooked from the first sentence and enjoyed the story until it’s completion.” -Amazon Reviewer, L. Clover
OMG, fine! I will buy the thing.
Presses “download now.”
Phase 5: You attempt to make excuses.
Because it’s not like I have a bunch of time to read anyway. I mean I have work and stuff.
Reads first sentence…
Stays up until midnight reading. Downloads book 2 in the series before finally crawling into bed close to 1am.
Phase 6: You become engrossed, possibly even, obsessed.
You carry your iPad from room to room so you can read between tasks.
Fold a basket of clothes, reward yourself with a chapter. Start dinner, reward yourself with a chapter. Finish a work assignment, reward yourself with a chapter! Don’t lose your mind when your kids start fighting over who gets the last donut -REWARD YOURSELF WITH A CHAPTER!
You don’t have to tell me twice.
Phase 7: Despite this, you possibly remain in denial.
So, when your family wanders in when they’re supposed to be away doing something else and asks you what you’re reading…
Can I live please?!
Phase 8: You may also continue to lie to people you don’t really care about.
Yes, we’re talking about your “friends” on Facebook.
So, when they update their status with, “need book recommendations” or, “what’s everyone reading right now, and go…” you’re all
And then you Google books every woman should read in 2017 and chime in with something smart sounding from that list you actually haven’t read. Even though you’ve been meaning to, totally, it’s just you’re on Bloodrunners Book 4 now and really need to finish the series before getting into something else *already has the Alpha Force Series in shopping cart*.
Phase 9: Eventually, if you’re lucky, you will realize that you don’t have any you know what’s left to give and all you want to do is live. And by live, I mean read!
You may never feel like admitting that you are exhausted every morning because you stay up late to read about sexy werewolves who have forbidden love affairs with humans they are rescuing from vicious, rival Lycans.
But if you do, you will be free.
Phase 10: You can finally live your best life reading all of the Harelquin romance novels you want.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Harlequin Romance. All opinions, sexy quotes, and behavior, admissions, and other entertaining behaviors are my own.