Elizabeth Lowell books are one of my guilty pleasures. I know when I get one of her older novels, I am in for some serious sensuousness. Characters? Well, the man is usually (hell always!) scarred, bitter, does not like women, thinks they’re all money grubbing vixens who only want to get their perfectly manicured hands on his money, boat, ranch, mine, whatever. The woman is young, delicate, pretty, intelligent, kind and is alternately made love to and had her mind messed with by the man until the reader (me) would like to pluck all the hairs out of his mustache one by one.
But just as I’m ready to go for the tweezers, Lowell begins one of her love scenes. These are incredible. First of all they are long. There are pages and pages given over until the characters touch. Then more pages until they kiss. Then they kiss and kiss and kiss and then they go on to more and more and more as the sexual tension ratchets up higher and higher and the pages turn deep purple from the prose.
Fever is a Mira re-print of one of Lowell’s Silhouette Desire titles. Rye McCall is the hero, a rancher who is always being set up by his father with some stacked babe whom he just knows is after his money. Lisa Johansen is the heroine. She is the daughter of anthropologists – a real earth mother who is living in a shack near a meadow on Rye’s ranch where she is monitoring the growth of native vegetation. She thinks Rye is a poor but proud cowboy and he doesn’t let on that he’s the owner of the land because he wants to be loved for himself, not his money.
Here’s the plot. Rye meets Lisa. He acts like a jerk. Then he acts nice. She likes him, He comes on to her. She is innocent, so he backs off for a while. Then he really comes on. Big, fat, purple, passionate love scene. All is blissful. She finds out who he really is. She is hurt. Shorter love scene. She runs away. He finds her. Blissful reconciliation. Epilogue.
Did I like it? Well, yeah. Like I said, this book was a guilty pleasure. I once saw an interview with film critic Roger Ebert where he said that one of his favorite movies was Attack of the Bee Girls. Hey, if a Pulitzer prize winning film critic can like a campy B movie, I can like Fever, O.K.?