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The KFC Mother’s Day Romance Novel Doesn’t Have Nearly Enough Porking

By Rebecca Pahle | Books | May 12, 2017 |

By Rebecca Pahle | Books | May 12, 2017 |

What better gift to give your mom on Mother’s Day than chocolate flowers breakfast in bed a $20 bucket of fried chicken and a free romance ebook starring Colonel Sanders as a hot sailor? You know: if you hate your mother or love a good marketing gimmick. I must confess that I’m not entirely immune to the latter, so screw it, I’ll pick up Tender Wings of Desire: A Colonel Sanders Novella for my morning commute.

Ho boy.

First off, here’s the official synopsis:

When Lady Madeline Parker runs away from Parker Manor and a loveless betrothal, she finally feels like she is in control of her life. But what happens when she realizes she can’t control how she feels? When she finds herself swept into the arms of Harland, a handsome sailor with a mysterious past, Madeline realizes she must choose between a life of order and a man of passion. Can love overcome lies? What happens in the embrace of destiny, on the Tender Wings of Desire?

And here’s my main complaint: There’s not enough fucking this book.

There’s not any fucking in this book.

Not that I expect a novella starring a fast food mascot and written via corporate synergy for mothers to be particularly steamy, but we here at Pajiba take A) food and B) sexiness very seriously, and I am not about to lower my high standards for some sub-par fried chicken chain. Viva la Bojangles.

Colonel Sanders—or Harland Sanders, as he’s initially known—doesn’t show up until almost halfway through this book. Before then, it’s all low-rent period drama, with Lady Madeline Parker as the free-spirited Victorian woman who hates embroidery and is “too practical” to fall in love. The night before her wedding to a boring Duke, she runs off and eventually finds herself a job working at a tavern in a small seaside town.


“Well, well, well, what have we here? Did Caoimhe finally convince Carson to hire a new worker?”

Madeline turned to answer the man, not quite caring for his tone, only to come face to face with the most handsome man she had ever seen.

He was tall, dressed like a sailor with a striped linen shirt and woolen peacoat crusted with sea salt. His hair was light and fair, framing his head in airy curls, and the eyes that stared back at her were almost the exact color of the sea, perhaps darker, but not by much, and they hid behind glasses with dark frames. Madeline had never seen a sailor wear glasses before; somehow it made him seem all the more handsome.”

Glasses can be hot, but “sailors who wear glasses” isn’t a kink I’d heard of before.

He leaned on the bar, his eyes looking into hers and liking what he saw.

Now I’m imagining Colonel Sanders eyefucking someone, so thanks for that, world.

“I’ve never seen a sailor who wore glasses before,” she said suddenly. He grinned.

“Neither have I. Then again, I don’t often look in the mirror,” he replied.

She felt her cheeks blush a flame red, and she retreated to the kitchen to stop them from blushing further.

OK, so girl’s standards for attractiveness/accessorizing/sense of humor are all super low. She’d probably get wet watching an Adam Sandler movie.

“You better behave,” Caoimhe admonished him. “On the contrary,” Madeline heard Harland reply. “I think behaving is the last thing I want to do with her.” In any other context, Madeline would be disgusted. Who did he think he was, saying such things about her within earshot? However, as she walked away she could not help but feel a slow burn deep in her belly, and she wondered what it meant.”

That’s the indigestion.

“Once again, she felt that dizzy, sick feeling of being both hot and cold at the same time, and as she walked to him she felt as if her knees were screwed too loose, that she might trip and fall at any moment.

Food poisoning.

“Her entire body felt as though it were on fire, her heart beating wildly in her chest.”

Heart disease. Stop eating Double Downs!

Madeline quickly falls for this glasses-wearing sailor (seriously, she mentions it like five times) who “smells like the ocean” (not like a deep-fat fryer?) and has “beautifully sculpted cheekbones” and hair “such a light blond that it almost looked white.” NICE TRY, KFC. I WILL NOT BE FOOLED. Eventually, they submit to passion and go back to Madeline’s room, where they… make out a little bit and then change into their PJs.

“They kissed again and again, Madeline’s heart pounding desperately with cholesterol buildup the excitement of the feeling. As she lie in his arms, she could not help but feel as though she finally belonged somewhere, to someone, and she knew in that moment exactly what it meant to feel love.

“Where have you come from?” Harland murmured into her hair once they were finished with their kisses […]

In the harsh light of morning, Madeline expected to feel mortified, but instead she felt rather pleasant. Her lips were chapped, but it was merely a delightful reminder of his kisses the night before.

Look, it’s not that I want fast food-themed erotica (weeeellllll… wait, no, I don’t want fast food-themed erotica), but if you’re going to go all Harlequin with the cover and release a video with a hot, shirtless dude, having the extent of the action being some light necking is just plain false advertising. “Blah blah bad PR blah blah small-town American blah blah controversy over Colonel Sanders deep dicking someone.” No. There is such a thing as artistic integrity. There is such a thing as self-respect.

Anyway, eventually Madeline reads a letter addressed to Harland (“It’s time for you to put aside your childish sailing and come back to take up the mantle of Colonel Sanders”) and realizes that her hunka hunka tepidity is, in his words, “a magnate of the restaurant industry, my dear, the king of an empire that I built with my own hands.” She’s pissed at him but eventually finds herself unable to resist his chicken wiener, and they get engaged. The end.

Confirmed: It is impossible to make Colonel Sanders sexy. KFC is an organization of lily-livered punks. I’m waiting to see what Jack In the Box gets up to; even money is on their guy being into scat play.