by Alyssa Brooks, contemporary (2008)
Liquid Silver Books, $4.25, ISBN 978-1-59578-471-1
I have mixed feelings about this short story. My feelings keep changing as I turn the pages. One moment I want the hero Joel dead. The next moment I want to strangle his wife Lacey instead. No, Joel must die. Nah, Lacey is the bigger idiot who should jump off a cliff. And on and on until I decide to be fair and want both of them to be shipped off to somewhere far from human civilization, like a planet in the next galaxy.
A while back, Joel realized that his wife was using birth control. He wanted a kid, she didn't feel that she was ready to be a parent, so what the heck, he tossed aside the birth control and rushed to knock up the wife. Cut to today, when the wife has a kid to raise and Joel is beginning to wonder why things have to change between the two of them. The wife seemed cold and distant, constantly complaining that she had to take care of the kid all by herself and he was never around to help. What happened to the sweet and sexy Lacey that he married? Oh, that moron. Does he think that the kid Shawn is some kind of toy that can be turned off and put aside when play time is over? I'd be pleased that he's reaping what he sowed were not for the fact that Lacey is the one who has to deal with the nonsense he had caused.
But then, the author tells me that Lacey was aware that Joel had tossed aside her birth control that day and she actually went along with him. I suppose this is some kind of damage control to make Joel less of a Harlequin Presents scumbag, I suppose. But no, it doesn't work where I am concerned. It just makes Lacey come off like a silly fool, especially where her subsequent antics towards Joel is concerned. Still, considering that she did say that she wasn't ready to be a parent, I suppose I can make allowances for her silly jump-to-conclusions and shrewish dingbat antics towards Joel. Not that it makes her smart in any way, but at least she's making that asshole suffer.
Nonetheless, I can't say that Sweet Seduction works well with me when I end up thinking that the two main characters need therapy instead of the whole "hot sex will make everything okay" dogma that the story seems to be prescribing. Sweet Seduction is probably best viewed as a short Harlequin Presents type of interlude and be treated accordingly, depending on how you like your asshole heroes.
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