I'm a confirmed cinephile. I love honing my speed reading skills on beautifully obscure foreign films with subtitles"”except during the summer when suddenly I have the cinematic sensibilities of a thirteen-year-old boy. Then I'm all about superpowers. And explosions. And wildly romantic, testosterone-driven Sacrifice"”with a cap. In other words, Blockbusters.
What's the appeal of Blockbusters? When done well, these movies represent myth at its most outrageous, full of danger and pulse-pounding FX, where gorgeous men and women in figure-enhancing bodysuits (think Spanks with padding) fight the demons that threaten their very souls. Oh, yeah, and they tend to save the world at the same time.
Unfortunately, Blockbuster Season is limited to a few summer months. Fortunately, these same sorts of fabulous, over-the-top stories are always available between the pages of a romance novel.
Here, in no particular order, are some of my all-time favorite Romance Blockbusters and why they qualify:
Just a Kiss Away by Jill Barnett
No superpowers necessary here, just super muscles Ã la soldier-of-fortune Sam Forrester who's stuck trying to keep pampered Southern belle Eulalie LaRue from being killed by South Pacific revolutionaries. Take a surprising setting, a hyper-masculine hero and unapologetically "blonde" heroine and you get pure magic.
Dream Man by Linda Howard
Super-powers come with a price tag for clairvoyant Marlie Keen who "sees" (and feels) crimes through a serial killer's eyes. Dane Hollister, a street-savvy, battle-scarred detective, is assigned to protect her while investigating. The sexual tension between these two just keeps ratcheting up, right along with the suspense. A classic.
Shadow's Edge by J.T. Geissinger
As superhuman powers go, morphing into a cat has a way high coolness factor. In the first book of a new series about the Ikati, uber-alpha Leander goes on the hunt to bring back the hybrid, Jenna, a girl who knows nothing of her heritage having been raised outside of a society so secretive that anyone who threatens its exposure is killed.
Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale
What Blockbuster round-up would be complete without a martial arts expert? One of the best is "oh-my-god what a tortured backstory" Sam Gerard, trained to control his inner beast by a mysterious Japanese butler with his own axe to grind. Unfortunately, Sam is his axe. Set in England during the Queen's Jubilee, this tale is twisted, dark, and very romantic.
The Greatest Lover in All England by Christina Dodd
Now there's a super-power. But is it real or simply normal masculine hubris? You'll have to read this grandly fun and fabulous romance to find out.
Connie Brockway is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author. Her latest novel is The Other Guy's Bride. She is published by Montlake Romance. You can see a recent review of her own book here.