For better or worse, I grew up reading Mills and Boon books I’d nicked from my mum’s bedroom.
Those romance novels were iconic back in the day, with their cover illustrations featuring muscular Fabio type fellas, posing before a permanent wind-machine, long hair in the artificial breeze. Ripped muscles peeking from even more ripped shirts. Buxom women cowering at their feet.
And the stories were hokey, let’s face it. Soap opera-quality scripts about pushy gents and reluctant ladies, that we all skimmed through to get to the sex scenes. Which consisted of very flowery language like “her pulsing lady garden opened like a flower in bloom” and a fade to black before the good stuff.
And the dialogue! Lines like: “‘My dear woman, I haven’t been so long without a woman that I shall go beserk and ravish you the instant I get my hands on your body. I merely wished to braille you – I thought we had got to know one another well enough for that.” (This is in fact, a real line from The Passionate Sinner by Violet Winspear. Probably not her real name).