As soon as she passed through the arrivals gate at Aberdeen airport she knew it was him. Maybe it was the way he was standing, legs slightly apart, shoulders back, his face taut with the hunger of a mountain lion. Maybe it was the fact that he was holding a piece of cardboard with her name written on it. She took a deep breath.
‘I think it’s me you’re waiting for. I’m here for the writing course.’
‘I’d almost given up on you,’ his voice was warm and smooth as a dram of single malt whisky, and as he spoke his gaze licked over her expensively tailored suit. He offered to carry her suitcase. ‘It’s OK, I can manage,’ she stammered, feeling a stealthy blush creeping up her neck.
Poor Joanne O’Connor takes a weekend writing course in romantic fiction and finds (horror!) that the attendees aren’t all old women with lap dogs. But that’s it for the grounbreaking discoveries. Here are the rules:
No inter-racial relationships (‘though sheikhs are OK’), no adultery, no one-night stands, no politics, religion (presumably the sheikhs are of the non-muslim variety) or other gritty social issues, no subplots, no same-sex couplings. The hero must be an ‘Alpha Male’. He cannot be bald, ginger or short. He cannot be German. The heroine must be of childbearing age (ideally 22-34), she’s allowed one illegitimate child, she cannot smoke and she cannot be the man’s superior socially or financially.
More on the cookie-cutter romances here.
Update: Jonathan pointed out different restrictions on romance novels in West Africa.