Mating Season
by Allie Ritch, fantasy (2012)
Liquid Silver Books, $4.25, ISBN 978-1-59578-953-2


If you like stories by Mima and Lila Dubois, something tells me that you may enjoy Allie Ritch's Mating Season. Like the title would suggest, this is another story where sex is a short cut to love, and I'm supposed to believe that Tab A going to Slot B automatically means true love and a happily ever after. It's that kind of naughty story.

In a distant planet called Jensen, we have guys who woo their potential wives by showing them their token, usually a cloth. If the woman accepts, they will spend the winter boinking - the best way to know each other when it comes to the culture of the humans on this planet, apparently - and then they marry. Alas, for poor Koll is just too big. Yes, he's big down there, but he's also big everywhere, and it seems like the poor guy is listed on the lists of the women he knows as the guy to shag but not to marry. And then there is the fact that his family color is pink, and I guess there's nothing more embarrassing on Jensen than a big guy waving a pink handkerchief and asking some woman to marry him.

Luckily for Koll, our heroine Shila will soon fall unconscious at his feet. Shila, like every heroine in romance novels, just radiate pure sexy hotness when she's out cold, battered and bloody, and the moment she can recover to part her legs, these two are going at it. They're lucky that she doesn't break a hip in the process. Alas, Shila's enemies are still out to get here. Not that there is any suspense as to whether our hero and heroine will kick the rear ends of these jerks, because the plot of this story is pretty much filler.

Still, while the romance and characterization is underwhelming, the sex scenes are... well, functional, I suppose, and the author does have some buoyant charm to her narrative style. Ms Ritch loves to mix modern day colloquialisms and even Buffy speak in her characters' conversations and internal monologues, which makes it even harder for me to take the story seriously as a sensible fantasy story. But I can't deny that this is a very easy read with the occasional chuckle-out-loud moments.

Mating Season isn't too bad at all as a ramped-up dirty version of those pulp-era extra-planetary fantasy stories of fifty to sixty years ago. It's exactly what it says on the tin: dirty, frivolous, and silly. As long as you get into this knowing that there is not going to be a healthy long-term satisfying relationship to be had, you'd be fine, I feel.

Rating: 68


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