Thursday, April 14, 2011

Book Club: Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard

(Note from Marie: I was 100 pages from the end of the book when I posted this, so I haven't read it yet. Can't wait to read it in the AM when I finish the book! Rock on, book club wenches!)

By: Alyson Hackett and Ronlyn Howe

Jaine Bright and three close friends share dinner one night and during casual conversation, create a list of qualifications for the perfect man--some logical, some hilariously funny, some racy. Within days, their tongue-in-cheek wish list of attributes for Mr. Perfect has been leaked to the press and the subsequent publicity is overwhelming. Coworkers, TV crews, and reporters barrage the quartet with comments and criticism.

As if Jaine doesn't have enough to cope with, she has a new neighbor who she suspects is a criminal. She's relieved to learn that her neighbor is really an undercover cop, but she's still wary--because smart, sexy Sam Donovan handles her sharp witticisms with easy humor, and Jaine suspects that he may threaten her heart. What Jaine doesn't know is that she's about to need Sam desperately for something other than romance because her circle of friends is in big trouble. Unfortunately, that list of qualifications for Mr. Perfect has touched off a madman's rage. All of their lives are threatened and some of them are going to die, maybe all of them, if Sam can't stop the unknown killer.


So, as Hackett and I sat to write this write up we brainstormed ideas of what key points we want to hit on in regards to Mr. Perfect. We decided that saying “THE ENTIRE BOOK” just wouldn’t cut it, so here are some of our absolute favorites!

-Of course the war between neighbors Jaine & Sam. Her being convinced he's a drug dealer while he's just sure she's trouble.

“I haven’t had any sleep, any breakfast, or any coffee. I better leave before I hurt you.”

He nodded. “That’s a good idea. I’d hate to have to arrest you.”

-The geek signs cause dude those are freaking hilarious!




-The friendships the women have which leads to the happy hour which leads to making the "Mr. Perfect" list in the first place. (I asked Hackett who she thought would be the one to most likely make that type of a list out of us...why are you all laughing??)

#1: Faithful. Doesn’t cheat or lie.

#2: Nice

#3: Dependable

#4: A steady job

#5: Sense of humor

#6: Money: Financially Comfortable

#7: Good to look at

#8: Great in bed

#9: A ten incher

“C’mon! 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 banter in this book is some of the best we’ve ever read. So funny.

“You can’t change your mind!” He sounded desperate now.

“Yes, I can.”

“Do you have herpes?”








“Then you can’t change your mind.”

“What I have is a ripe egg.”

But, mostly, we want to talk about having the blinds up and peering out our windows to admire men drinking orange juice.



“This is Jaine, next door. I hate to tell you this…but you might want to close your curtains.”

He wheeled to face the window, and they stared at each other across the two driveways. He didn’t dart to the side, or squat out of sight, or do anything else that might indicate embarrassment. Instead, he grinned. Damn, she wished he wouldn’t do that.

“Got an eyeful, did you?” he asked as he walked to the window and reached for the curtains.

“Yes I did.” She hadn’t blinked in five minutes, at least. “Thank you.” He pulled the curtains together and her whole body went into mourning.

“My pleasure.” He chuckled. “Maybe you can return the favor sometime.”

He hung up before she could reply which was a good thing because she was speechless as she closed her blinds. Mentally she smacked her forehead. Duh! All she would have had to do at any time was close her own blinds.

“Yeah, like I’m stupid or something.”

-And of course, the happy ending that wouldn’t be Jaine & Sam without some humor:

“I always heard that sex was different with a woman you loved, but I didn’t believe it. Sex was sex. Then I got inside you and it was like sticking my c*** in an electrical outlet.”

“Oh. Was that what all that shaking and yelling was about?”


Smoky Orange BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
1 supermarket rotisserie chicken
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
Zest of one orange
1 cup chicken broth
Grill seasoning or salt and pepper
Romaine lettuce
Sliced red onions
4 crusty rolls, split, toasted and buttered

Remove chicken meat from rotisserie chicken and shred; set aside. Heat oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Add onion and saute for 3 to 5 minutes or until onions are soft. Combine garlic, chipotle peppers in adobo, ketchup, orange juice concentrate, orange zest and chicken broth in a blender. Blend on high until sauce is smooth. Pour sauce into saucepan with onion and heat to a bubble. Reduce heat to simmer. Stir in shredded chicken and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes more. Spoon chicken mixture onto toasted rolls and top with lettuce, sliced onions or other desired condiments and toppings.


Yogurt-Marmalade Cake
1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
½ teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 cup (heaping) Plain, Lowfat Yogurt
1 cup Sugar
3 whole Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 whole Zest Of Lemon
½ cups Canola Oil
½ cups Prepared Orange Marmelade
¼ cups Yogurt
Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a loaf pan with non-stick baking spray (or grease and flour it if it makes your skirt fly up). Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup of yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest, and canola oil until just combined. Pour over dry ingredients and mix until just combined; do not over beat.
Pour into a loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Remove from pan. While cake is cooling, pour marmalade into a sauce pan. Heat it on low until melted, stirring occasionally. Add 1/4 cup of yogurt to the pan and turn off heat. Stir to combine, then pour slowly over the top of the cake, allowing icing to pool around the sides.
Eat. Groan. Repeat.


Aly said...

WOO HOO!! The day is here! I hope everyone had a chance to read - or reread - this book and we have a fabulous conversation today!

I am off to get the kidlets ready for school but will be back in a bit :)

Marie Force said...

Thanks for recommending such a great book, Aly and Ronlyn! I loved it! My favorite line: He has to have the stamina of a Kentucky Derby winner and the enthusiasm of a sixteen-year-old. LMAO!!!!!!!

Looking forward to the chat today!

Aly said...

I came very late into reading romance - I was 24 - but my girlfriend Penny insisted I read Linda Howard and I will love her forever for it!

Mr. Perfect is about as perfect for me as can be. It is laugh out loud funny, sweet, sexy & has a great mystery! The characters are written so well and really? Who doesn't want to peek into Sam's windows while he drinks OJ? LOL!!!

If there is one book that I insist all romance readers read, it is this one :)

Regina said...

I love Mr. Perfect. It is in the top ten of my all time favorite romance novels of the thousands I've read in the past, jeez, I'm old, nineteen years!

It is also, in my opinion, the best book she has ever written.

Kemberlee said...

Mr Perfect has to be my favorite of Linda's books. Followed very closely by Dream Man. Linda has a great sense of humor and it comes over in her stories. I've pulled many favorite quotes our of her books over the years.

Mary G said...


Mary G said...

LOLOL - OMG what a great post. I thought I'd read every Linda Howard book so I didn't check out the synopsis. Going to buy it right away. Love the list & "the rest is leftovers".

ShellyE said...

I was pleased to discover this book in my TBR pile when it was announced it would be featured on Book Club. It was a great read, and spent a lot of time laughing out loud, and I cried when Marci and Luna were murdered. Loved the happy ending -- but I have one question for Linda -- what happened to the Cobra??

Mary G said...

Love the stamina quote LOL.

Ronlyn said...

MR PERFECT is, without a doubt, one of my favorite Linda H. books. As Aly said (and the only reason she said it first is because she got up crazzzzy early), it's laugh out loud funny, with some sizzling chemistry and a wonderful mystery.
Who said you can't have it all?

And why on Earth would she close her blinds first?? LOL

Aly & I had such fun writing this write up to share with you all. I'm so glad the newbies like it too.

Alison said...

I LOVED this book! The banter and chemistry between Jaine and Sam was perfect!

I love the scene where Sam gets rid of the reporters, but leaves her locked in the garage while he washes her car...LOL!!

Mary G said...

Okay now I have to know & I won't consider it a spoiler. Does Sam have leftovers? LOL

Jolene Allcock and Family said...

“I always heard that sex was different with a woman you loved, but I didn’t believe it. Sex was sex. Then I got inside you and it was like sticking my c*** in an electrical outlet.”

you had me at this quote :) I love Linda Howard and I am always on the look out for her books, so sad I have yet to read this. I'm obviously missing out on something amazing. Must thank Alison for helping me fix that problem, can't wait to read this :)

Marie Force said...

I have to know: What's on your Mr. Perfect list? Anything the fabulous foursome forgot to mention?

And Mary, Sam has everything BUT the leftovers. :-)

If Linda comes by, I want her to know her speech at RWA a year or two ago was one of the single funniest things I've ever heard IN MY LIFE. I still think about it. I laughed for DAYS afterward. The brother and ex-sister-in-law (bless her heart), the wheelchair, the bungee cord, the pork chop in your mother's purse. Ahhh, so funny and your message was spot on: if you can write in the midst of that madness, we can write in the midst of our madness. Awesome speech!

Mary G said...

Good to know Marie LOL.

Alison said...

Another scene I loved was Jaine and Sam in the grocery store!! These lines had me cracking up...

"Go away," Jaine said. "I'm busy."
"So I see. What is this, the Produce Five Hundred? I've been chasing you up and down the aisles for the last five minutes."


"Thing? I don't do things."
"You'll do mine," he said under his breath

Marie Force said...

Sooooo many great lines in this book, Alison. I love how they both gave as good as they got.

Hope said...

I have been to 2 different book stores with no luck of finding this book. I finally gave up and ordered it, but, it will be a few days before I get it. I can't wait to read it, you girls did an awesome job getting everyone excited about it. It has been a while since I have been excited about a book. CAN'T WAIT!!!

Ronlyn said...

Alison, I agree. That scene where she's locked in a garage and the grocery store scene were both LOL funny.

I told Aly the other day too, what makes Sam Mr. Perfect for Jaine is his sense of humor. I mean, Jaine has a biting sense of humor and Sam get's SUCH a kick out of it: when she's trying to reach him by phone and tells the desk sgt. that she's pregnant? Only to have Sam's reaction be to call her back with a "I hear we're expecting." LOL. I love it.

Marie Force said...

I agree, Ronlyn! I loved when she sprayed him in the face with the water. I don't think anyone had ever challenged him the way she did. He was immediately attracted to that.

Ronlyn said...

and, I admit I'm not much of a car person (IMO if it gets me where I want to go and doesn't break down it's a good car) but I love the rivalry in re: to Jaine's Viper as well as the awe over her dad's car.

Aly said...

Howe - I said it first b/c I am on the correct coast!

Marie - I think that the 4 ladies in the book do a pretty fantastic job with their list. #5 is a biggie for me. A man has to have a great sense of humor. And anyone that has dealt with my husband ::cough cough Mrs. Howe:: can attest to the fact that he does. Unfortunately, most of the time it is at my expense! LOL!

I think what makes this book one that most people love is it's consistency. Normally, I can find 1 or 2 things in a book that don't work for me or I feel is out of character for the book, even if I loved the book as a whole. Mr. Perfect has every element I am looking for in a story and they are all executed -- well -- perfectly! :)

The banter between Jaine & Sam really is the clincher though! Even their serious moments are filled with hilarity - Sam's description of sex with a person you love being so different is just one example of that!

I want to know if anyone has been lucky enough to live across from a "Sam" who drink out of the fridge nekkid with the blinds up. B/c never in my life has that happened and I feel like I have missed out! LMAO!

Ronlyn said...

you mean 1)had a hot neighbor like Sam and then 2) caught him in "the all together" (as my g'ma used to say) in front of the window?

Nope. Not me.

Marie Force said...

Me either. We're all missing out for sure.

Alison said...

No hot, nekkid neighbors for me either.

Hope said...

None of those male neighbors, but we did have a neighbor that was a female that was very fond of vacuuming topless....much to Keith dismay, she was like 70. I don't get lucky enough to have the hot hunky neighbors.

Miriam said...

I'm so glad you're discussing Mr. Perfect (and Sam is about as close to perfect as it gets too). This book in probably in my top 3 books EVAR for me - it brings just about everything to the table in all the right ways. Friendship, suspense, humor (OMG, is there humor) and best of all, mind-blowing SEX!! LH's dialogue has always been quick-paced but in this book - it goes supersonic.

And Marie - next time you see Linda, ask her about her hub's cows and llamas. You won't be able to breathe for a week, you'll be laughing that hard!!

Marie Force said...

Miriam, I can only imagine. She is one funny lady!

Miriam said...

Hope you don't mind, but I posted about this discussion on another LH board (she has no affiliation to it - just a board about her books). Link to the General Discussion section is here: .

Ronlyn said...

Miriam, YAY!! The more the merrier!

Marie Force said...

That's fine by us, Miriam! Thanks!

Aly said...

Thanks Mirmie! That is fabulous!

And what a shame it is that none of us have lived across from a Sam. We need to remedy that somehow!

Miriam said...

Whew!! I realized I should have probably asked for permission (like the proper Southern Lady my mama raised -- quit that laughing, Aly), but only after posting there first. Thanks!!

Aly said...

Oh LMAO! Dude, I am still laughing! I laughed at your statement and then saw that you told me to quit laughing! Oh how well you know me :)

Miriam said...

Yeah, well...birds of a feather and all that jazz!!

Kara C said...

"Oh look. A little Earthling. Kill it." As a mom and teacher, that cracked. me. up.
As much as I liked Sam (and I really, really like him) Jaine was the best thing about this book. Some people have said I'm sarcastic or a smartass (neither of which is true, of course) so I can so relate to her mouth getting her into trouble. Completely enjoyable read! Oh, and I think Linda will be at the booksigning I'm going to at the end of the month! Yay!!!

Marie Force said...

KK, you a smart ass? WHO says that? LOL! I get the same tag, and I am FINE with that! I love a good smart ass and agree she was the best part of the book! Full of piss and vinegar!

Ronlyn said...

yeah, all of my neighbors have been more like the fat naked guy from FRIENDS rather than hot naked Sam.

Ronlyn said...

*I* have no idea what any of you are talking about. Sarcasm? Wit? Dry Humor? Smart ass? Puleeze. I am the perfect lady.

Aly said...

Really? Next time warn a girl before she snarfs DMD all over her computer screen...

You? Sarcastic? Noooooo :)

Miriam said...

@ Aly...says the pot to the kettle!!

wv = pedded (sorta wike you would to the widdle puppeh?)

Ronlyn said...

Miriam is my new friend. Hackett is out.

Miriam said...

Nah, Ronlyn...we'd miss "the Hackett" after about 30 seconds!!

Now, getting back to MP - another favorite smart-ass passage that hasn't already been quoted in previous comments:

He didn't sit down across from her, but took the chair beside her. "I tracked it down on the Web. It was funny stuff -- Ms. C."

She gaped at him. "How did you know?" she demanded.

He snorted. "Like I wouldn't recognize your smart-ass mouth even in print. 'Anything over eight is strictly for show-and-tell,' he quoted her.

"I might have known you'd remember only the sex stuff."

Aly said...

Dude! already miss me and you know it!

Aly said...

Mirmie - That was really why Ronlyn and I wanted to just say THE ENTIRE BOOK for our write up! The entire freaking book is full of all those lines! This is one book where you don't skim over anything b/c every word is that good, that funny, that sexy!

Ronlyn said...

true true...Ok, you can stay. ;-)

And seriously. ALL of those lines. I love it!
Or when she goes shopping for a cell phone and security system, goes home and Sam charges her. ~swoon~

Yep. The entire book. Flippin' LOVE IT!

Miriam said...

I KNOW - its so hard not to write out entire chapters much less merely paragraphs!! You two picked a gold-star winner for this discussion!!

Aly said...

High Five Howe! Look at us go!

Ronlyn said...

Well, to be fair, Aly picked it and told me she was going to host it. I think I said something like, "Not without me you're not!" LOL

Miriam said...

Another one:

"Bench seats," he said, and lifted a wicked eyebrow at her. "If you're really good, after you get on the pill and your eggs are under control, I'll let you seduce me in the truck."

She managed not to react. ::snip a bit of inner dialogue::

::/snip:: "Nothing to say?"

She shook her head.

"Oh, damn", he said as he put both hands around her waist and effortly lifted her into the cab. "Now I'm worried."

Hope said...

All I have to do it put everyone's comments in order, then I don't have to wait for the book to get here lol

Ronlyn said...

you still need to read it Hope. Even with all these quotes it's a killer book.

Was everyone surprised by the villain?

Miriam said...

One of the best things about Linda's writing is that she does MEN (particularly alpha men) so darned well. I complimented her on that gift once when I saw her in person. She just smiled and said "Aren't they so fun...?"

Aly - do you remember the RWA signing in Atlanta a few years ago? When I finally made it out of that madhouse and was waiting on the rest of the crew to go back to the hotel, I called my Mom and said (insert SOUTHERN here) "Mama...? I can die happy now -- I have met Linda Howard!!" I thought some of the other ladies with me were going to fall out laughing. Anne in SC says that's how she sells LH books to those who haven't read her.

Ronlyn said...


Miriam said...

@Shellye - the Cobra was Jaine's father's car. She was just keeping it safe at her house while her parents were away on vacation.

Aly said...

Well it is true! The woman can write!!! LOL!

I will honestly say that I can't remember if I was surprised by the villain the first time I read it. But I do remember thinking that it was quite interesting!

Alison said...

The identity of the villian was a little surprising for me. Very interestign twist!

Marie Force said...

I figured out the villain very early on. Didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book, however!

Jackie P said...

I Loved this book. Ya'll have been talking about this book forever and I finally picked it up. It was great. She is surpose to be at the signing I am going to on April 30th in Alabama.

ShellyE said...

Miriam - yeah, about the Cobra, that very last line of the book, from Jaine's father about "I hope you didn't wreck the car" made me think that maybe somethin' somethin' was going on that we didn't really hear about.... It left me scratching my head...

I had a hottie neighbor once, but he was in the apt next door, so no windows :o( I did think about drilling a hole thru our shower wall into his shower, but never got around to it!

Judy F said...

I didn't get a chance to reread this but I love this book. I had always said if I meant Linda Howard my days of booksignings were done. LOL

She writes such great scenes.

I don't remember if its this book or another but I loved the colored condom scene by her.

Ronlyn said...

Judy F, the colored condoms is from OPEN SEASON. Another LOL book that I love.

Mary G said...

OMG Ronlyn- that is detail oriented. LOL.

Ronlyn said...

what can I say? I remember the good stuff. LOL

Judy F said...

Thank you, that scene alone is priceless.

Ronlyn said...

Agreed. I may have to dig that one out for a re-read too. LOVE it.

Alison said...

No fair!! Y'all are making me want to buy more of Linda's books and I've already used up my book budget for this month...GRRR!

Aly said...

How funny that Open Season is the only Linda Howard that I haven't read! Will have to go and do now :) B/c of course I have to go and look to see what y'all are talking about. I have no idea why I never read that one...

So to all of you newbie Mr. Perfect fans -- Who are you going to share your new found knowledge with and tell them that they HAVE to read this book?

And to all of us "old" girls -- How many times do you think you have insisted that someone read it?

Kara C said...

For once, I'm thrilled that I am not in the group of 'old girls'. LOL! I already have four friends in mind that I will recommend this book to. If they read it and didn't tell me about it, they're in big trouble!

Ronlyn said...

I admit to putting the book in several people's hands.

Miriam said...

I can't count the number of times I've recommended this book - but I do remember the most recent was the last time I went to the beach. Handed to a friend and said ENJOY!! She isn't a usual "romance" reader but really loved this one. SCORE!!

wv = tractore (Hey, Aly...did you have any thing to do with this one...?)

Aly said...

Nope! I would have picked something much more salacious than that!

Plus anything related to tractors are not my favorite thing right now! LOL!

Miriam said...

It was probably Brian by osmosis then...