Here is my review of the other story I initially downloaded in September and was holding for the holiday season so that a review for it would be timely. When I finally opened it up and started reading I was pleasantly surprised, and unusually optimistic that I had come across that one in a million story in the "erotic romance" genre that was above and beyond the average drivel. As I became engrossed in the story I was on that edge, feeling I was looking at a work that was a Five Star all the way. I was even willing to overlook the misuse of terminology as Nikki, the female lead in the story, is not a woman out there on the prowl for a younger man.
Then, just as I was expecting A Very Cougar Christmas to deliver, it turned right into another chunk of lameness from the erotic romance grist mill. I was so disappointed when this story turned away from a great example of writing craftsmanship into another below average exercise in the idiotic. It was like Jack Frost suddenly ran by and snatched Frosty's hat off to make him turn back into a plain old snowman.
A Very Cougar Christmas is the story of Nikki, a successful business woman who is alone and very lonely on Christmas, which also happens to be her birthday. Enter Vincent, her younger and concerned neighbor. When the delivery man leaves a package with him because she refuses to answer the door Vincent attempts to deliver it himself and can hear her crying on the other side of her door. Once he realizes and tells her that he is locked out of his own apartment she finally relents and lets him in. Then after some talking and further breaking down Nikki seeks comfort from the sexy boy next door.
Yeah, and believe it or not it was all good up until that point. Then the shy guy that locked himself out of his own apartment who was hardly dressed and only wearing flip flops for shoes during a snow storm is able to produce a pocket full of rubbers. And yes that image from Snoop Dogg's 'Gin And Juice' video was going through my mind for the rest of the length of the story. Following "round one" Vincent urges Nikki to open her package, which turns out to be a sex toy, which he confesses that he sent her. I though to myself, Oh, how timely, since just that morning I had read a story in the Orlando Sentinel about a man sending a sex toy to a woman. Yeah, Lex, we call that stalking and inappropriate down here in Florida, and it gets people jail time. But, what am I thinking? It is erotic romance, so instead of totally freaking out or fearing for her life our erstwhile heroine is going to show her little stud muffin how to work it as a prelude to round two.
From bad to worse, guess what? Looks like mercy Christmas scrumpin' is a great way to start a long term relationship.
Eh, boy. I give it Two Stars only because this short little story actually starts out strong. Lex Valentine actually has talent, and it really shows in the first quarter of the story. In a way it almost looked like a chain story that was begun by someone who was totally brilliant before they passed it on for it to be finished out by a secession of idiots.
I did get a few laughs from a few lines in the story.
"I won't fuck you, you deserve better than that. But I'd be more than happy to make love to you"
Yes, it was funny to read this line from Vincent correcting Nikki when she ask him if he would fuck her. However, I was kind of that guy once, so I didn't really think it was all that bad. It was corny, but it was realistically corny and I found it endearing. (It was just after this that the story went from a Five to a Two).
After that, yeah, Vincent suddenly becomes less than sweetly romantical, especially when he says,
"Right now, I just want to get between your thighs. Now, shall I take you upstairs, or shall I light a big fire in the fireplace and proceed to give you rug burn on your ass?"
Ooop! The creepy stalker Vincent really is was showing through there kids.
Valentine goes on to give the reader this visual that no one should read with a full bladder:
"His fist twisted on his stiff cock, the movement smooth and practiced."
Yes, I get it. Vincent jacks off, A-LOT! Because that's what creepy stalker guys do.
Yeah, sorry again. I did forget he can't be the stalker he so obviously is because it's an erotic romance story. Here, let's take a look at a quality ER line:
"She sucked on him as if she was a little kid with a candy cane."
Merry Christmas, folks! Good job, Ms. Valentine. That was some USDA Grade A Erotic Romance cheese.
"Well, then, my sexy cougar, you're not too old to get pregnant."
Oh, Vincent, you romantical young stud you! No wonder I always had a problem with women when I was younger. I obviously was not saying the right things to them.
Now, again, this is another free read that offers a look at some of Ms. Valentine's other works, offering several chapters from books in her Tales Of The Darkworld Series. In the past, a great deal of the time, I have not really mentioned samples provided with freebies, however I am going to take more of a look at them, especially when the previews exceed the length of the title story. The series, as I understand it now from having read the assortment of chapters from various books in it, appears to revolve around vampires, and were-things, and elves, and stuff. Yeah...
The story in part revolves around a powerful vampire family and a powerful group of were-dragons who are all some way involved in the funeral business. Uh-hu, that's right. There's much talk through the chapters about the were-dragons feeling their "inner dragon", which as far as I can tell is Ms. Valentine's code for them feeling horny. As with Blaine's Mates there are no transformations, at least not in the samples, so I have no idea what it means for anyone to be a dragon in any of these stories.
The only line from any of the samples I even found remotely interesting was this one from the first book, Tales Of The Darkworld Book 1: Shifting Winds:
"Granville Cemetery was very old and catered to the elite in the vampire world. They offered cremation, but vampires tended not to go that route."
So, the practically immortal worry about having a decent burial plot? Coffins. Yeah, I could understand a coffin, but a story where a cemetery caters to the upper crust of vampire society to take care of all their burial needs? I think it's pretty obvious that Ms. Valentine has never read The Vampire Encyclopedia.
As with so many others before them the samples provided with A Very Cougar Christmas do nothing to sell me on actually buying them. Tales Of The Darkworld is another example of a fairly new genre where the author immediately attempts to immerse the reader in a world populated with supernatural creatures with little exposition while throwing everything including the kitchen sink at them in an attempt to keep the reader's interest. Having not read the books I can only speculate, but from other examples from other authors in this conglomeration genre are trying to give you an epic tale within 200 to 300 pages while either not possessing the talent to do it in such a small format or being far too lazy to take the time and actually write an epic length story.
As for the title story, A Very Cougar Christmas, according to the ratings it has it would appear I am in the minority in my opinion, because somehow it has a five star rating on ARe, and that's with 81 ratings on it as opposed to three or four. If you want to give it a try it is offered as a free read:
All Romance eBooks: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-averycougarchristmas-398892-149.html
Below is a little rant on this conglomeration sub-genre, which I call the Conglomeration of Assorted Random Prose genre. (Or is it Allied, or Affiliated, or Associated? I can't make up my mind). It should be good for a laugh for those who like to see me look like a stumbling and flubbing fool.