Ellora’s Cave, $4.45, ISBN 1-4199-0431-0
Paranormal Erotica, 2006
Let me lay this out on the table for everyone reading this: the author Summer Devon, who also writes historical romances under the name Kate Rothwell, lets me know that this story is inspired by my rant The Trouble with Erotic Romance, or more specifically, my parody scene of a sexually experienced heroine having to teach a clueless hero who knows nothing about sex (in short, he’s a romance heroine, only with a penis) all about sex in an attempt to drive home the fact of how ridiculous some of the heroines’ clueless nature is. The hero in this story is therefore sexually clueless – almost a blank slate – while the heroine comes off as a normal person who knows enough about sex to teach the hero a thing or two.
Here’s my dilemma: if I give this story a high rating, I’m sure it can easily be said that I’m liking it because the author tells me that something I wrote inspired the story. However, I do like it because Futurelove turns out to be an entertaining read that doesn’t take itself too seriously but also doesn’t become too over the top that it loses sight of the fact that it is also a love story. So here’s the deal. If you think you like the book, go ahead and read an excerpt or two, ask other people what they think of the book, that sort of thing. If you think that me reviewing this book is like the author’s mother endorsing her books to all her friends, well, do check out other sources and look at an excerpt or two at the websites of the author or the publisher anyway. After all, this one is like a happier version of The Terminator, only this time the hero could use some Sex Education 101 from our heroine while he tries to evade an assassin from 2330 named Chin.
Our hero Collins from the Department of Historical Undertakings (DHU) in 2330 is about to head back to 2006 to… er, I quote, “keep mankind alive through the dark ages”. Don’t ask me whether this statement has anything to do with the person currently being the President of the United States. Feel free to direct any queries to Summer Devon because I’m just the messenger. Unfortunately, those people who don’t believe that time-travel is right strike at the moment that Collins is about to do his Quantum Leap thing. He realizes that his unit-mate Chin – which means colleague and not soul-mate or heart-mate – is a traitor. Still, he can’t do anything but to hop back to 2006, hoping that someone back in 2330 will somehow find a way to get him back to his time. The injured Collins ends up recuperating under the care of our heroine Candy. Candy hates her name and would love to tell everybody that her name is Gabrielle. Still, the problem with her name will have to wait because her mind is right now preoccupied with helping this hunk adjust to the present without noticing how hunky he is, which shouldn’t be a problem even if Collins is the sexiest hunk she has ever seen.
I get this impression that Collins is somehow trained to be devoid of sexual desires as much as possible due to the fact that the DHU don’t want time-travelers to end up doing things that they shouldn’t be doing with folks in the past. Still, this concept isn’t explained well in this story and that’s one problem if I’m going to nitpick about the premise. As it is, Collins has been slowly experiencing sexual awakening on his own even before he meets Candy and try as he might to fight his “wild state” desires, he’s in a losing battle when it comes to Candy.
However, this story is not all about sex nor does it strive to satisfy people with some fetish for deflowering innocents at the exclusion of other people. I don’t expect to find some semblance of normalcy in the relationship between Collins and Candy but I do, much to my delight. Candy isn’t some easy woman and she does have concerns about getting into bed with Collins, so she’s actually behaving like a normal woman, actually, or at least as normal as the premise of the story allows her to be. As those two characters are addressing the morning after and what happens next in their relationship, there is a credible development of a tangible emotional bond between the two characters. Following these two is like watching some Quantum Leap episode with The Terminator overtones where the two leads happen to fall in love in a way that I can believe.
That is the main reason why I find this book most enjoyable: it delivers ample emotional poignancy at various scenes to give the story some much-needed substance. I really don’t want to start going on some ego-trip and imagining that I can somehow inspire people to write stories, but Futurelove is not making it easy for me to do so!