Chasing Sunset
by Sami Lee, contemporary (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-260-2


It should have been so simple. Sidney McCall loves Drew Buchanan and he loves her back. He cooks, he's gorgeous, and he seems to be pretty stable when it comes to his finances. Oh, and he also wants Sidney to have sex with him and his friend Brody Nash. At the same time. You see, Brody and Drew once did the three-backed-doggy thing with another woman in the past and, I suppose, Drew is eager for a repeat performance.

And this is the best part: Drew never asked Sidney whether she wants to play that way. He can sense it. He knows.

Once he'd poured, Drew sank into his chair once again and took a swallow of the potent alcoholic mix. "I found some books in Sid's collection. They looked like ordinary chick books at first so I never took any notice of them. But a couple of weeks ago I was looking for something to read and I picked one up. It wasn't exactly what I expected."

Brody sent his friend a sly look. "Are you telling me you've been reading Sidney's romance novels?"

"Maybe you ought to try it sometime. You might learn something about women."

I... I mean... what the... you know what? I really don't know what to say to that. But I will say this: my husband is going to sleep on the pavement if he ever shows up at the bedroom door one evening wearing some cheesy vampire fangs and holding up a big jar of Vaseline just because he has read some of the things done to the heroine by randy perverted vampires in the books I read and therefore he just knows that I am begging to subjected to those things too. Then again, maybe that's why I'm not the heroine in this story being discussed by the big brave men as if she's their bachelor party piñata.

I kind of like Brody because he points out to Drew how Drew has pretty much jumped from Point A to Point Z by extrapolating Sidney's supposed sexual desires from the reading material that she prefers, and I guess I can't blame him for going along with Drew since Drew's pretty much giving away his milk cow, er, girlfriend to Brody for free. I also like Sidney because she is actually smarter and more strong-willed than Drew thinks her to be. I'm sure you can tell by now that I think Drew is a complete freak who should be tied up in his mother's basement and should only be let out once a week to get some sun. That guy has some serious issues, I tell you.

I like the idea of Sidney either ditching Drew for Brody - which would be beautiful poetic justice - or ditching both men to walk away proud and solo into the sunset. I even find myself intrigued by all those emotions running wild as the three characters realize the morning after that they can't just walk away from their party of three and behave as if life goes on as usual.

Chasing Sunset could have been an excellent ménage à trois story because Ms Lee doesn't play by stereotypes here. The premise is actually quite realistic - Drew is very silly, yes, but the set-up isn't - and the men are distinct entities with their own personalities. Sidney may be "surprised" into the cozy arrangement but she is capable of some degree of independent thought here. She's not some helpless damsel needing protection from the bad guys or any other clichéd heroines one can typically find in this kind of stories.

Unfortunately, I don't like the way Ms Lee resolves what could have been a messy love triangle here. I wish I can elaborate on the reason why, but alas, I will end up spoiling this short story completely. So let me just say that I really, really don't like the way the die fall in the end and I'm afraid I'm petty enough to deduct a few points from the final score because of that.

Rating: 84


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