Maybe it's the heat or maybe it's those umbrella drinks, but summer can make us do crazy things. The rushing tide, the moonlight, and a gallon jug of sangria inevitably leads to one place...
You know what I'm talking about. Hard, fast, and short. The kind of breathless experience we whisper about over a cup of coffee to our best friend in our favorite cafe. Wide eyed, they listen, leaning forward to catch each salacious detail.
"That sounds so good."
"It was!" You lick the foam off your upper lip, memory's soft-focus cushioning the moment. "I can't wait until the next book comes out."
You didn't know we were talking about books? Roll back. Yes. Books and book boyfriends. Summer reads in particular. Those page turners and burners. Hot, quick, and sensual. You stay up all night to read them because you have the delicious luxury of nowhere to be the next day.
These stories might be printed on paper and bound with dogeared covers, but they linger in memory like the taste of coffee-tinged kisses on your tongue. You might forget the title and the author, but you never, ever forget the hero. Usually, there's one or two scenes in particular that roll over you like a thundering tide.
Have you ever read a book where one scene catches your eye and your breath? You read that same scene, or even the entire book, over and over again, while the world recedes around you? That's what I'm talking about.
My first summer love, and my first Book Boyfriend Moment (TM) was with Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. You know that scene, when Mr. Rochester steps from the drawing room while Jane is tying her shoe on the stair and he asks her to return to the party? He's looking at her as a woman for perhaps the first time--really seeing her. While the whole employer / employee thing is, in retrospect, a little creepy, it was fiction and I was happy to play along. I was, admittedly, about fifteen, but that was The Moment when I knew beyond a doubt that Mr. Rochester would forever be my first Summer Love.
While I returned to the pages of Jane Eyre again and again over my life, that first moment of romantic discovery held a special place for me. I've had other moments of summer passion since--with Eric and B.G. in Emma Holly's Strange Attractions, the assassin Valek in Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study, and with Raynard in Kim Dare's avian-shifter masterpiece Duck! to name a few.
Summer isn't the only time for book boyfriends, but it is a time when those relaxed nights and oceanside days allow us to sink into reading without the push and pull of normal, every day life. As summer comes to a close and we're tugged willy nilly back into the chaos of school, work, and family, let's take a moment to share those Summer Book Boyfriend Moments that will sustain us through the rest of the year.
So, who was your first summer book love, and who did you romance on the page during these hot August nights? Share in the comments. We won't kiss and tell!
These are the musings of a cynical romantic. Heroes on the page may be closer than they appear.