Pros: Fun diversion; one particularly good story
Cons: Needs more depth and polish; one story seemed particularly rough
Rating: 3 out of 5
Boundless is an ebook available from Liquid Silver Books. It includes three paranormal erotic romance stories from three separate authors: ‘Seven Days’ by Annie Dean; ‘The Straw Man’ by Bonnie Dee; ‘Waking Kitty’ by Dionne Galace. Bear with me as I tackle the stories in reverse order.
This is the story I was most looking forward to (and for which I bought the ebook), since I love Dionne’s irreverent style over at her blog and very much enjoyed her first published fiction, Skin to Skin. Unfortunately, this story just didn’t click with me.
Semi-junkie reporter Jack has fallen on hard times and now spends his days debunking the paranormal for a low-rent television station. Only suddenly the paranormal refuses to be debunked, and all the weird events are centered around Kitty, a pink-haired, violet-eyed woman who captures Jack’s imagination the moment he meets her.
While I adore Dionne’s ability to create flawed, incredibly unique characters with pizazz, I have a hard time getting in the mood for an erotic romance when my first reaction to the male lead is revulsion. I don’t need a tall dude with rippling abs, but this went a little far in the opposite direction for me:
A quick sniff told him he should probably take a shower soon, but he had no time for that now. He scrubbed under his arms with a wet face towel, then gave them each two swipes of deodorant to cover up the funk.
Add to that the fact that Kitty seems to keep changing personality (some of which moderately suits the storyline, but it’s glossed over a bit much), and the paranormal revelations unfold toward the end at breakneck speed in an almost offhanded tone. As a result, I just found it tough to suspend disbelief or to emotionally invest in the characters and their relationship.
I’m still looking forward to seeing more of Dionne’s work, though, because she certainly proves in this story that she has an incredible imagination, a very vivid visual style, and a real talent for oddball characters.
The Straw Man
In ‘The Straw Man,’ a woman living a lonely rural existence laments her lack of a man to share her life with. She’s ready to settle down, but she already knows there’s no one in her small town she wants to settle down with. After spending the day selling pumpkins to Halloween-celebrating families under the watchful eye of Sam, her scarecrow, she makes a wish that alters her life forever.
This story ran to the middle of the road for me. The wish and its results are fairly standard fare and run to the entirely expected. The sexy scenes (this story has far more of them than either of the other two) are certainly enjoyable. What lifted this story above run-of-the-mill wished-for lover stories, however, was the dialogue and discussion between Marie and her straw man as they enjoy their night together. It goes beyond the expected and into some lovely and unsual areas.
‘Seven Days’ is the tale of Dev, a demon whose assignment is to tempt Teresa, a young woman on the cusp of becoming a nun. Surprisingly, the tale takes place in the modern day and yet manages to be utterly believable in depicting a modern teenager who has decided to take vows. She’s largely sexually inexperienced without being naive, stupid, or unbelievable, a feat which is incredibly impressive and makes me want to seek out more of Annie Dean’s work.
It doesn’t take Dev long to figure out that Teresa isn’t going to be so easy to crack, and it doesn’t take Teresa long to realize that she might just be able to beat him at his own game. The problem is, she’s starting to think there might be another game going on besides the obvious one, and she’s not so sure how she wants that one to end. More than that, she’s starting to enjoy having Dev around, and she’s beginning to question whether she really wants to take her vows after all.
‘Seven Days’ is the most romantic of the three stories, and although I’m loath to admit it, there might have been tears involved when I got near the end. There are so many ways in which this setup shouldn’t have worked (most writers couldn’t have pulled off a believable modern girl wanting to become a nun; the idea of seven days and nights of temptation would have been fairly pat in many writers’ hands), and yet Annie Dean’s execution is fresh, original, and utterly enjoyable.
Boundless isn’t perfect as books go, but it’s certainly a fun diversion, and ‘Seven Days’ alone is worth the read!