Ellora’s Cave, $4.45, ISBN 978-1-4199-1364-8
Contemporary Erotica, 2008
Ann Bruce combines some familiar elements that are “Honey, I was jilted at the altar! Can someone play Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive for me?”, “Oh my, why didn’t someone tell me we’re sharing the same cabin?”, and “Stop! I’m a cop with a big penis!” into her latest story, Rules of Engagement. The result is a nonetheless pretty enjoyable story from start to finish.
Jake Duquesne – with a name like that, you can bet he’s a big one – is sleeping in his birthday suit in a cabin somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains (no, I don’t think there is anything Freudian about the name of that place) when he realizes that someone is sneaking outside the cabin. Understandably on the guard since our action man has plenty of enemies and his last girlfriend nearly killed him, Jake is nonetheless pleasantly surprised that his guest is not Big Foot but a hot homicide detective called Katarzyna Delaney. Although with a name like that, I’m surprised she’s not a trampy Russian villain in a James Bond movie.
Of course, it’s all a misunderstanding. Katarzyna assumes that she is the only person who will be using this cabin since her colleague’s wife says that this cabin is available for the next two weeks. Ella, the owner of the cabin as well as Jake’s cousin, is predictably up to her usual matchmaking schemes and I can only be glad for her that Jake doesn’t end up shooting Katarzyna in his zealousness because that will surely lead to some awkward conversations during the upcoming NYPD dinner and dance thing. Jake merely handcuffs Katarzyna to the bed after knocking her out, so it leads to merely some awkward conversations between the two of them before the usual hot sex thing commences.
There isn’t anything too surprising here as the two characters seem to follow the “Oops, it looks like we’ll share the cabin after all!” script closely, but there are plenty of amusing banters and hot sex here as well. I’m not too sure that I buy the fact that the characters feel more than lust for each other since they have hooked up for only a short time by the end of the story, but I’m glad they’ve had fun in the process. I’ve had fun reading this story too.
Rules of Engagement may be a walk down a familiar path despite the main characters being action figures rather than authors with mental blocks, but it’s nonetheless an entertaining one.