Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard, 2000
I very recently pulled this from my shelves to reread, and had a great time with it again. This is from an earlier period of Howard’s writing, before she became quite so dark and intensely suspenseful.
Four friends and coworkers make a wish list of qualities for their perfect man. They are just having fun, but the thing snowballs. One of the women shows it to someone else at work, it ends up in the unofficial company newsletter, someone posts it online, the local paper runs it as a human interest story, it gets pick up by a national news team… It’s just the type of silly personality story to fill in a slow news week–but someone objects to this description of “Mr. Perfect” and decides the women responsible must be punished.
I loved the hero and the tension, both sexual and suspense. There are short bits from the villain’s thoughts scattered throughout, and the identity of the villain is revealed a few chapters from the end, but you don’t get the real “why” until the very end.
The best thing was the list itself! Physical/sexual characteristics don’t appear until item 7 on the list (and the list is in priority order). The women have a funny/serious discussion about what they REALLY want from a man, and although good in bed and penis size do come up, they are all in agreement that other factors are a lot more important. They think about the problems in their current and past relationships to determine what they really need from a man. The list is:
- Faithful. Doesn’t cheat or lie.
- Steady job.
- Sense of humor.
- Money’s nice.
- Good to look at.
- Great in bed.
Oh, the funniest lines in the book? When the women are discussing the issue of ‘size’, the heroine says “Anything over eight inches is strictly for show-and-tell. It’s there, but you can’t use it. It might look good in a locker room, but let’s face it—those extra two inches are leftovers.” The hero later says to her “And just for the record, I don’t have anything for show-and-tell. I’m just happy I’m not in the point-and-laugh category.” The heroine laughs so hard she falls on the floor—so did I.