KFC wants to take care of dinner and mom's fantasies on Mother's Day. Sure, that's a slightly disturbing combination, but it might be a bit of brilliant marketing, too.

In honor of Mother's Day, the fried chicken fast-food franchise has released a Harlequin-esque romance novella with Colonel Sanders as the romantic hero, a story that begs the question, "Is the Colonel a leg or a breast man?" (I'd love to take credit for that line, but an Amazon reviewer asked the question first.)

Here's the description of the novel, which is set in the mid-1800s:

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?

Harland is Harland Sanders, a mysterious man with a past. Kentucky Fried Chicken's video preview reading of the book is both steamy and cheesy, as you can see in the video above.

You can download the book on Amazon, where it currently has a 3.7 out 5 stars rating from 78 reviewers, but what works for some readers is cause for complaint from others.

"The author did an excellent job of paying tribute to all the standard romance novel tropes," says reviewer S.T.M. who titled the review "Pleasantly surprised."

"This novella is trite and I don't think that whomever wrote this failed to use every romance book trope imaginable," says reviewer EHM, who pointed out time period mistakes and declared the tome not great literature. (Oh, EHM ... where's your sense of humor? Didn't you see the cover? It's clear from Lady Madeline's denim capris that time-period accuracy was not the priority. And great literature? We won't even respond to that one.)

It's a marketing gimmick and a bit of fun. And, yes, I've downloaded the novella. (At some point I may have to address my addiction to downloading free books with a 12-step program.)

But, wait, there's more

In a separate, but also disturbing and possibly brilliant marketing move, actor Rob Lowe is now playing Colonel Sanders in the latest KFC ads.

I — and every other Gen X female who saw "The Outsiders" a dozen time in the theaters — have one question: Why, Sodapop? Why?

The commercial is for KFC's latest sandwich, the Zinger, and mimics an actual space exploration announcement, with hopeful-eyed people in their homes watching the colonel's announcement that the sandwich will be launched into space. It's just as cheesy as the novella video — with none of the steaminess, thankfully. (Rob Lowe as the colonel is upsetting enough; we don't need him as a sexy Colonel Sanders.)

Both the novella and the Rob Lowe commercial have made me take notice to KFC's marketing for the first time in decades. They almost make me want some fried chicken — until I remember how ill I always feel after eating fast-food fried chicken.

The novella is only available as an ebook except for 100 printed copies, which will be given away to 100 KFC Facebook fans. The Zinger is available to all at KFC restaurants — but don't say I didn't warn you.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

For Mother's Day, a steamy romance novel starring … Colonel Sanders?
The downloadable romance novel "Tender Wings of Desire" from KFC is free. But how does Rob Lowe fit into all of this?