Harlequin Temptation #288
4 1/2 stars
Vicki Lewis Thompson’s Forever Mine, Valentine was my introduction to the now, sadly, defunct Harlequin Temptations line. The Temptation imprint launched in North America in March 1984. These books were far more sensual in nature than Harlequin’s other series, the Romance, Supperromance, and Presents lines. Temptations featured main characters from all walks of life, not just the rich. They took place anywhere, from small towns to big cities to tropical destinations.
The setting of Forever Mine, Valentine, is mostly in a shopping mall in Colorado, where St. Valentine, himself, is a character in the guise of Charlie Hartman, a sweet, seemingly doddering, old man.
Jill Amory left her old life behind to wander across the country on foot, with just a backpack. Including a stable dentist boyfriend. She paints windows for businesses to earn a little money and has a deadline set to travel all the States. Jill doesn’t quite know what she wants in life, but she knows it is not commitment.
Spencer Jegger owns a successful sporting goods store in the mall. He’s athletic, attractive, and friendly to all, including Charlie, who insists that Valentine’s Day miracles are in store for Spence. Charlie tells a disbelieving Spence that he and Jill are destined to be lovers for life. While Spence doesn’t trust in the old man’s predictions, he is interested in Jill.
Spence hires Jill to paint the windows of his store, and in the meantime, he and Jill form a playful relationship with sexual tension just burtsing through the surface.
Jill is hesitant about getting close to Spence. He’s an incredibly good-looking man and makes his interest in her known, but Jill’s mind is not on settling down, not even for a short while for a love affair. She’s aiming to roam, to search for something, some purpose in life.
Charlie is a cute character, doing just about everything he can to get Spence and Jill together. The two are meant for each other, he declares fervently. Isn’t it Valentine’s season, and doesn’t Jill’s surname “Amory” has the word love in it? That’s more than a mere coincidence. It’s a sign from the heavens above that they’re meant to be! Charlie also has a cute flirtation with an elderly mall-walker, a lady who wouldn’t mind cuddling up to the supposed St. Valentine.
This series romance had a hefty dose of humor and lots of steamy love scenes. I didn’t understand Jill’s hesitancy towards commitment to Spence and was glad when she decided she knew where her true home was. This little book left quite a mark on my impressionable younger self!
Final Analysis of Forever Mine, Valentine
It was this romance that introduced my young ming mind to real love-making in books. I’d read sex scenes before in V.C. Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic and Stephen King’s Carrie. But they were brief scenes and not as detailed as what I read in this one!
My goodness, I was such a dorky, nerdy bookworm back then! I passed this book around to my friends, spreading the salacious content around in school until one day I got in trouble with my social studies teacher. She took the book away from me in class one day and made a big scene, which was humiliating, although fortunately, that was the worst of it. Well, except for the fact that it earned me a reputation for years as “that girl who reads the sex books.”
Forever Mine, Valentine was a sequel to Be Mine, Valentine, where Charlie had previously wielded Cupid’s bow and arrow to great success. Yes, the old scamp is truly a saint sent from up above!
That’s one aspect I loved about the Temptations; they could have any crazy plot to them or even a simple, mundane one. All kinds of stories were told in them, with the only qualifier that they were sexually mature enough for a new era of romance readers.