If anyone has ever spoken a pick-up line to me, I missed it. I came into the world with a filter feature than renders all spoken and eye contact flirtation null. I think it’s genetic.
Once during a three-week sojourn in Paris, I trailed through the streets, museums and gardens behind my tall, athletic brother and my lithe, Nordic-looking sister. I was stunned at how many women checked out my brother and how many men’s eyes followed my sister. Neither of them noticed any of it, and my brother, dubbed ‘Thor’ by one of my friends, frequently bemoaned the sad and sorry fact that women did not seem interested in him at all.
Pathetic. All of us.
Books, on the other hand, whisper the most seductive pick-up lines imaginable, and I am a sucker for more of them than can be good for a body. They don't have to be grammatical or clever. Sometimes all it takes is a single word, and I’m lost—dragon, druid, artifact, disguise—or a well-used phrase—marriage of convenience, time-travel, history and romance.
Publishers work hard on crafting pick-up lines for readers via covers, titles, blurbs and back cover copy. I will admit that all too often romance covers don’t cut it for me, even though romance in its myriad iterations remains my favorite type of fiction. But I pulled a dozen books (by non-Pens because there is no book written by any of the Pens that doesn’t tempt me—even Sophie’s scary ones) I’ve read or re-read recently to analyze what it is about them that makes me want to pick them up.
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. Ancestral memory. Scotland. Past and present mystery and romance.
The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley. Cornwall. Time-travel. Smuggling.
Always a Temptress by Eileen Dreyer. Regency-era military hero who’s not a duke. Kidnap. Eileen Dreyer!
Dangerous in Diamonds by Madeline Hunter. It’s Madeline Hunter, people. That all I need to know . . . even if there is a duke.
The Smoke Thief by Shana Abé. Dragons—from Cumbria.
Spirit Dances by C.E. Murphy. A shaman in the Seattle PD. Joanne shapeshifts. Coyote. Morrison.
Tender Graces by Kathryn Magendie. A West Virginia holler. Childhood memories. Growing up takes forever sometimes.
Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning. Fae. Dark. Dangerous. Kick-ass characters. Great cover.
The Landscape of Anglo-Saxon England by Della Hooke. The title says it all. Pure bliss.
The Church in Anglo-Saxon Society by John Blair. Seventh century monasteries!
Place-Names in the Landscape: The geographical roots of Britain’s place-names by Margaret Gelling. British place names = Magic.
Place-names, Language and the Anglo-Saxon Landscape edited by Nicholas J. Higham and Martin J. Ryan. Three of my favorite things in one book. Whisper the title again. Come on. Right in my ear. Shiver.
What books whisper “Pick me up now” to you?