Kindle Worlds, $1.99
Fantasy Romance, 2018
All That Sass by Jen Talty is a Kindle Worlds title, which means it is set in a world created by another person. In this case, that person is Milly Taiden, whose Sassy Ever After series becomes the sandbox for authors like Jen Talty to play in and hopefully garner an audience. Or, in simpler terms, this is official fanfiction. And mind you, at $1.99, this short story can be steeply priced when you think of the full-length stories and even boxed sets that cost a dollar less.
At any rate, I have never read anything in the Sassy Ever After series, so I come into this one as a blank slate. And oh boy, the blank slate becomes a blank stare soon enough.
This story begins with eleven-year old Regan fuming because the dreamy eleven-year old werewolf Darrell Hughes is doing that imprinting thing on a five-year old witch Avery Windsor while Avery is auditioning for a role that Regan covets in some ballet company. I know, we can all blame Stephanie Meyer for this imprinting nonsense, but I’m also now genuinely curious as to whether people actually find such a “my mate is determined for me since I was a kid” thing romantic. Me, I’d like to think of love as something given freely, but in this case, Avery never really has any chance to say yes or no to Darrell. That creep has been stalking her since she was six, and love, as per the usual formula in shifter romances, is all about the man sniffing you and deciding that you are his mate and the heroine being sassy to deflect from the fact that she has no agency when it comes to choosing a man she’d like to spend the rest of her life with.
Only, here Avery isn’t even sassy. Just emotionally needy, which only makes the relationship dynamics between her and Darrell even more disturbing.
At any rate, jealous Regan cast a curse on Darrell that day on the tragic ballet audition, but alas, nothing can defeat the power of preteens in love.
So, cut to twenty years later, when Darrell is still all about the mate, mate, mate, mate, mate, mate.
Tucking his hair behind his ears, he shifted in his seat. He’d imprinted on her when she’d been only five years old. He’d been eleven and her partner for the audition that would change her life. She’d been so much younger than everyone else in her class, but she’d been a natural and all the girls resented her for it.
Even at eleven, he was confident that he would change her life by literally placing a magical sign over her hoo-hah that marks her as his property. So hot! Hero of the year! Now, at thirty-one, he gets appointed as the head choreographer because there are some dancing styles that he’d love to teach Avery. She is so happy, because she has been so lost ever since he left her.
“I saw you dance so many times,” she said quietly. “When I found out you took the job on the other coast, I went home and boxed up the posters.” She closed her eyes, shaking her head. “I don’t know why I felt like you were abandoning me, and God, I resented that feeling, so I tried to block you out of my mind.”
Still think she has any choice over the man attached to the ding-dong she is meant to take in for the rest of her life?
The rest of the story is about these two going on and on about the bond between them, and how it’s time to make love and pop out many, many more furry creatures that will mark more five-year old girls as their future victims. All That Sass is a creepy story about furry grooming passed off as a romance, and I am giving this baby a big no.
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