Phaze, $2.00, ISBN 1-59426-563-1
Contemporary Erotica, 2006
The blow-up doll on the cover surrounded by lightning creeps me out to no end – especially with this particular lightning bolt that is shooting out of the waistband of his tight pants – but Cassidy Kent’s Sunset Key is actually a straightforward contemporary romance despite what the Return of the Animated Ho-Man Dolls cover may suggest.
Poor Freesia Daniels. She is finally returning home to her parents’ place in Key West, Florida, with her tail between her legs. Her corporate career in Boston went bust. With all these romance heroines in the land incapable of holding on to their jobs, isn’t it a good thing that we have so many romance heroes willing to rescue these women from themselves? Back in Sunset Key is our hero, Zachary Grey. The one. You know, the one she left behind in her shockingly gauche desire to carve a career for herself, the one who took her big V. You know, the one. After a nice cozy little shag session in a lighthouse one stormy night, they decide that they are in love again, the end.
This is a short story but with a cover price of only $2.00, that’s to be expected. Still, this story is confusing enough. On one hand, the conflict that broke them apart when they were kids is a silly misunderstanding, but if Zach thinks so poorly of Freesia, why then does the author claim that Zach has never stopped loving her all these years? That doesn’t make sense. Zach of course insists that he loves Freesia but that doesn’t stop his mouth from saying things that hurt her. Zach is all but jumping in joy when he learns that Freesia didn’t do too well in her previous job because he claims that he knows all along that her leaving Key West for that job is a bad idea. Zach is hypocritical that way – he’s all about living this hippie-like artistic way and he even names his boat Freedom Key, but he also doesn’t like it if Freesia does something that he hasn’t approved of beforehand. When he tells Freesia at the end that he loves her and he will never hold her back from anything she wants to do with her life, I snort in disbelief.
All these issues can be straightened out or least developed satisfactorily if the story is a little bit longer. In its current length, all I get is a very childish misunderstanding scenario between two characters that is magically resolved by sex. Sunset Key is too underdeveloped for its own good to be a satisfactory read.