by Robie Madison, paranormal (2009)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-614-3
Poor Megan Jones, the heroine of Robie Madison's The Man Of Her Dreams. She experiences constant nightmares of being terrorized by a stallion.
The stallion galloped out of the trees and raced along the grassy edge of the river as if it believed it could outrun the turbulent waters. And maybe it could. Big and black as sin, clearly he'd never been broken.
At the sight of him, Megan Jones' breath caught in her throat. He was definitely untamed. She could tell by the spirited look in his wild eyes. No matter how many people tried, no one would ever control him.
The horse's sleek coat was shiny with sweat from his run. His tousled mane streamed behind him like a ragged cloak in the wind.
And headed straight for her. She felt lightheaded and slightly nauseous.
The really stupid part was, she was in the throes of a nightmare and she knew it. But knowing didn't stop the jolt of fear that pounded through her veins and turned her hands clammy and cold.
She ordered herself to wake up.
The stallion snorted and tossed its head. Probably in disgust, as if to say, "You can't get rid of me that easily."
She'd scream if she thought it would help. But it never had, so she didn't waste her breath. Nor did she try to turn and run away.
Hold me. I'm terrified just reading the above description of poor Megan's "worst nightmare". You know, it will be so much easier on the both of us if Ms Madison says outright that Megan has a phobia for horses or something. That will save me plenty of time wondering where this is a joke or Megan is just being melodramatic.
When the story opens, Megan is in Wales, trying to solve the mystery of her dream lover (which appears in her nightmares as well... I think) whose face is exactly similar to that of the man in the photo inside a locket that she has inherited from her long dead Aunt Margaret. We're talking about a man who appears in her dream since she was a teenager and, as the years go by, he begins doing things to her that are mildly disturbing considering their age differences.
She then wanders into an inn - this story tends to have the heroine wandering around a lot when she's not sleeping and having dreams - and lo, Owain, the dream pervert, is right there in front of her eyes. Okay, he's wearing clothes this time around - oh my god, did he appear in her teenage dreams in the nude? - but she can recognize his eyes.
"I know the last time I visited you, by the time my hand reached the edge of your nightgown, your sweet pussy was full of cream."
As you can see, he's as romantic in real life as he is in dreams where he is debauching teenage girls.
They then wander off into the woods where his "two long, thick fingers slid through the folds of her labia". I can only blink. Is Megan on drugs? That is fast. The guy didn't even have to buy her a drink!
And then, later, "somehow, because 'twas for sure he was not paying attention to where he walked, Owain reached his farm".
One of my biggest issues in this story is Ms Madison's stupefyingly boring stream-of-consciousness style of writing. These characters wander around in what seems like a dazed funk alternating with rabid randy need to shag, paying little attention to their surroundings. It's as if these two characters exist in a bubble, unconnected with the outside world unless the author needs to give her characters a chance to give exposition ramblings for the benefit of the reader.
And then there is the story development. Owain is a Tylwyth Teg creature under a curse and to break the curse, he has to convince Megan to fall in love with him in three days. Judging from how fast she puts out, there is not much suspense there. But the story is just bewildering. The heroine has so-called terrifying nightmares that aren't really scary, she has sex with the hero while behaving and thinking as if she's addled in the head, and the romance comes off like a plot of a pretentious French movie gone awry, trying to substitute coherent storytelling with gratuitous penetrations of a dazed and naked bimbo.
Come to think of it, the whole story seems creepily like some kind of metaphor for being high on chemical substances, what with all that fragmented scenes, confusing passage of time, abrupt jumps from locale to locale, and a tendency for the heroine to have sex without realizing what the heck she is doing.
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