by Sandra Sookoo, paranormal (2011)
Liquid Silver Books, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-59578-859-7
Major spoilers are present in this review. Proceed with caution!
I'm surprised that the folks involved in the publication of this book actually went ahead and called this short story Marking Time. When there is a lupine shifter in the story, and there is "marking" to be done, I can only think of one thing.
Ava Lessaris, our heroine, is a shifter. Unfortunately, she doesn't take too well to pack laws and she also has a tendency to question authority figures. Currently, she is involving in a lackluster relationship with some human bloke because she... well, she doesn't know what she wants. The human in her wants to devote her time to her career, while the wolf in her insists on getting a mate and procreating like nobody's business. Well, she doesn't have to worry about her pharmaceutical rep career anymore when, one day, her GPS spookily leads her to Sleepy Hollow, the small town where every horny spook knows your name. It gets more freaky - she arrives at Sleepy Hollow in 1900. Yes, she's somehow traveled back in time to witness the founding of that town. Waiting for her is the banker Samuel Tremaine, a dying phoenix who can't get it up.
Okay, I don't know if this constitutes a spoiler or not, but it is nonetheless also a PSA for readers who may believe that this is a conventional romance story. It's romantic, yes, but you noticed that I mentioned earlier that Sam is dying? There is a hopeful and happy ending here, but not a happily ever after for two. You know what I am saying, I'm sure.
For me, I am rather surprised to realize that I am fine with how the story turned out. In fact, my biggest problem here is how Ms Sookoo only succeeded in making this half a tearjerker. It doesn't quite succeed in getting me to turn on the waterworks because the story is too short to be that effective. The romance happens too fast and there isn't any time or space for the author to build up the love to be that of a lifetime. Therefore, when Sam finally croaks, it's more of an "Aw, that's sad!" shrug instead a pained "No-ooo-ooo-ooo!"
And that's really too bad, because Ms Sookoo is really close to tugging at my heartstrings here. I mean, the message of this story is actually pretty annoying - Ava's destiny is to be a mother, and she's sent back in time to learn and accept this - but the author sells me the story well enough for me to go with the flow. At the end of the day, Marking Time is more of a missed opportunity than anything else. It could have been good, I feel, but it's over before I know it.
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