by Nichelle Gregory, paranormal (2009)
Noble Romance Publishing, $1.50, ISBN 978-1-60592-072-6
Despite being generally a place of utter anarchy, the Web does have some rules. Rule 34, for example, states that for everything in this world that you can think of, there is porn of it. In this context, I'm using "porn" in a good "porn is fun" way. Rule 34, in fact, is considered by many people as the only universally agreed-upon rule of the Web, although you may also have heard of Rule 36: if you can think of it, someone out there has the kink for it.
As for me, while I don't exactly have a kink for cute little cookies, I've always felt sorry for the Gingerbread Boy in that old fairy tale, and I wouldn't mind reading a story where he actually gets to have some fun instead of being gobbled up by a fox.
I don't know who the woman on the cover is, because our heroine Marisa is a middle-aged woman who is currently feeling neglected and bored. Left alone at home since her husband is always busy at work, Marisa is not happy. You see, Marisa has a very high sex drive. If she doesn't get a big O at least once a day, she's not going to be happy. She wants it all the time. Having purchased and used plenty of sex toys, she still wants more.
Marisa also likes to cook, and when the story opens, she is going to make her husband some Christmas cookies. She also likes to dabble in spell casting using books she's bought from the local bookstore, so she thinks it is a good idea to cast a spell on the gingerbread dough so that Don's sex drive will shoot through the roof. Instead, the gingerbread turns into a brunette version of Fabio.
"Run, run, run as fast as you can; I'm going to catch you... I'm your gingerbread man!" He called after her as she raced around the island.
What on earth?
The Gingerbread Tryst is pretty out of this world, which is probably a good thing as this story, being as short as it is, could use a hook that will get people to remember it. Sex with a gingerbread man is as good a hook as any, no?
To be honest, I don't have any problems with the premise of this story. It's not as messy as it could have been, as the gingerbread man transforms into a flesh-and-blood man after the spell is cast. It's just that he just can't open his mouth without causing me to laugh out loud.
The problem with this story, I'd say, doesn't lie in the story. The problem lies in Ms Gregory's over the top writing style. Marisa is just ridiculous. She doesn't just crank her vibrators all day long, she also bakes in the nude and does other things that I find more silly than sexy. All Marisa thinks of is sex, which causes the poor dear to come off like a randy cartoon character. If Marisa is your average middle-aged woman who just happens to find a spell book one day, I think this story could have worked better.
[spoiler starts] And then there is the disappointingly conventional message at the end, as if I'm supposed to believe that a woman with a sex drive as high as Marisa will remain content with Don despite the fact that he hasn't found a way to charge up his sex drive to match hers. Given how over the top the story already is, a little ménage à trois will make better sense for the ending. At least then Marisa will get all the boinking she needs. And won't someone give the poor Gingerbread Boy a happy ending? Maybe an erotic romance featuring two gingerbread cookies going at it is in order. [spoiler ends]
The Gingerbread Tryst, given its premise, goes down the right route by being over the top. Unfortunately, the wrong kind of over the top is present here - the writing style is too overblown to be taken seriously, while the message behind the story is too conventional to make it work. If the author had somehow switched those two things around, The Gingerbread Tryst would have made a most interesting testament to the existence of Rule 34. On the bright side, I doubt readers of this short story will find The Gingerbread Tryst easy to forget!
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