So one night the other week I was kind of sad and needed to escape into something, so I poked around my very messy bookshelf until I found this little gem, the final of my four books from the sweet ladies at the church basement sale. I was about 80 pages in when Joe came over and said, “Love Me With Furry? What the hell are you reading?” That’s a subset of the romance genre I hadn’t thought about before. I know there’s fantasy romance and Christian romance and LGBT romance and BDSM romance (and so much more!), but furry romance? Does it exist? This bears (HAHA PUNS) some looking into! As a resident of Pittsburgh, which as we all know hosts the furries’ annual convention, it seems only right.
Also: this book is dramatically improved if you think about Alex and Spencer as fluffy, anthropomorphized animals. I picture Alex as a raccoon with huuuuuuuge boobs and Spencer as a skunk. Or maybe a weasel. Like, a weasel with rabies and also venereal disease. Your thoughts?
This book! Oh my goodness! Adjective-a-palooza! And in strange places. Like, the book opens with Alex(andria) fighting with her dad because she doesn’t want to get married and there’s all these references to her “taut body” and her supple mouth and her figure, etc. SO INAPPROPRIATE. It creates this weird, horrifying kind of sexual tension WITH HER FATHER and it’s totally weird and gross. But the book does not stop being weird and gross there, oh no! See, after their fight, Alex runs off (mounted bareback on her white stallion…I AM JUST SAYING) and goes to her secret little pond in the woods or whatever and she’s like, oh I really need to relax so I think I’ll swim naked and then sleep naked on the shore of this pond. If that sounds like the set-up of a bad porno, congrats! You guessed it! Then comes Spencer, fresh from a fight with his grandfather ALSO about not wanting to get married (they should get not-married to not-each other!) and HE wants to relax by this pond, but he sees this naked girl laying there and he figures, I will have sex with her! OF COURSE HE WILL. Problematic, is what I’m saying. Disgusting, is what I’m saying. So then HE gets naked and first he just rubs up on her a bit (ughhhhh) and meanwhile SHE is dreaming that a hot dude is sexing her so she’s totally into it…until the sex part because SURPRISE! Virgin! (Of course this is only a surprise to Spencer, who is horrible.) When Alex objects, Spencer is all, well you shouldn’t have been laying around naked if you didn’t want me to come have sex with you! HE IS THE WORST! This scene only gets worse, because he says he’s going to let her leave AND THEN HE HAS SEX WITH HER AGAIN. And they both lie and tell each other the wrong names and then Spencer lets his guard down and she hits him with a rock and escapes. Good girl! Except she immediately feels bad about it and stays awhile to tend his wound and he wakes up (after she’s gone) and he’s like, I’ll kill that bitch! And maybe also have sex with her again! Probably I will have sex with her again! AND THEN HE GETS IN THE POND TO WASH THE BLOOD OFF HIS…YOU KNOW. I just can’t even process this book. I’m reduced to incoherent sputtering and eye-twitches. WHY WHY WHY?! Find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place, find your happy place…!
So. Alex’s dad puts her on a ship to America (also, Alex’s dad is a spy for the Americans) to spend a month with his dead wife’s brother (also, to keep her out of the way while he betrays his county and then, hopefully, joins her stateside). She goes willingly-ish but can’t stop thinking about her mysterious and horrible lover (rapist). Where is he? Is he all right? Is he thinking about her? Will she see him again? Spencer is also on a ship to America (also, he is a spy for the Americans). HIS SHIP! His merchant ship but also his pirate ship – see, he is both a rich Englishman and a pirate American. Just because why not! Also, he is sort of in love with his ship. He literally hates women, except to have sex with (and also he broke his last girlfriend’s arm when she tried to do I don’t remember what because HE BROKE HER ARM, and he recounts this story triumphantly, like, “haha! Showed her! Yeah, I broke that arm!”), but he loooooves this boat. Maybe he should just have sex with the boat and leave Alex alone? Maybe we could try that storyline on for size? But of course not! He’s OBSESSED with her! He misses her! Craves her! Wants to sex her! Also wants to punish her for hitting him in the head with a rock. Haha! Sure! Sexy fun! (OH MY GOD ALEX RUN AWAY)
Meanwhile Alex is like, America is awesome! I love America! They’re not gross backwoods trash like I thought! And Spencer goes to Virginia and hangs out with Madison (that’s President Madison to you, commoner) and then does some pirate shit and steals secret documents and whatever. And then Alex finds out that WAR IS NIGH and she wants to go home to warn her father but her uncle is like, no no it’s too dangerous, but after a lot of arguing he’s like, ok you can go but take these super-secret spy messages with you because that’s not dangerous at all! So she goes on this ship and pretends to be an old widow but then the captain finds out she’s young and hot and just as he’s about to rape her the ship gets attacked by pirates! GUESS WHO!!!! So she gets transferred to Spencer/Stephen/Joshua’s ship (Stephen being his original alias and Joshua being his pirate name, we know this because the rapey captain says, “Captain Joshua Steele!” in a completely natural, normal way, like how I address all of my friends with their title and full name, no big deal guys) and he’s sort of happy/mad to see her and she’s sort of mad/happy to see him and then they have sex for a while, which…whatever. Just whatever. But then! Spencer/Joshua suggests that if she feels trapped by the prospect of a future with some English husband pumping out babies and being boring that she should stay with him and be his mistress. And Alex is like, well how about we get married and I get the freedom of being somebody’s wife but getting to do my own thing and you get the respectability of my name (which she won’t tell him until they get married)? And he’s like haha sure, whatever, haha, you’d have to pay me ten thousand pounds, haha, and she’s like DONE! HAHA TRICKERY! But then of course he discovers her super-secret spy messages and he’s like, “waaaaaaaaaait…you’re a spy! Deal’s off! Damn you!” And she’s like, “I’m not a spy! I’m just bringing letters to my dad! I don’t know why they’re in code!” And he’s like, “we’ll see about this!” But mostly they just get naked and screw some more. Liking the way their man and lady parts fit together is about the only thing they have in common so I guess that explains why they never resolve any argument or stick to their guns ever. And it’s pretty vanilla stuff, nothing really exciting here. But he’s got too big of an ego to admit that and she doesn’t know any better and so it goes (and goes and goes – like rabbits, these two!).
Things continue in exactly this vein until Spencer has the genius plan to soften Alex into telling him the truth and he is nice to her for two months. Two whole months! We don’t get to see this supposed niceness, we’re just told about it. But don’t worry, it doesn’t last long! Soon he’s back to being an asshole and yelling and threatening and telling her that he’s not really nice he was just pretending. This guy!!!!! UGH. Shockingly, Alex is unhappy and tries to run away but gets caught (she bashes a sailor over the head to get out of the cabin) and dragged back the stupid boat and continues to be unhappy for awhile and then Spencer does this whole stupid junior high set-up where he has a fake conversation with someone about how he’s going to send her to work in a brothel if she doesn’t shape up, which Alex overhears like she’s supposed to and freaks out and runs away again (she bashes another sailor over the head – this girl is dangerous!) and this time it’s successful and she gets all the way back to her uncle’s house in Philadelphia. And things there are OK, I mean of course she misses him so much (WHAT IS THERE TO MISS?!) and she’s so in love with him (WHAT IS THERE TO LOVE?!) and she has to fake being interested in the other dudes until she starts to feel interested, but the dude she likes might be a British spy, but this doesn’t have time to matter because Spencer shows up (OF COURSE HE DOES) and tries to kidnap her again and she tells him she’s pregnant and he’s like, OK we’ll get married!, and then as soon as his back is turned she runs away. But then it turns out she really IS pregnant and she tells her uncle it was Captain Joshua Steele who did it to her and clearly her uncle knows that Captain Joshua Steele = Spencer Whatshisname so he arranges this goofy wedding where the groom isn’t even present? I don’t know. Strange. Anyway, after her weird wedding, Alex goes back to England (the seas are totally safe for a married lady, obviously) and has her baby (a son) and there’s STILL no sign of Captain Joshua Steele/Stephen/Spencer Whatshisname who lives next door. To which I say – honeybun, you dodged a bullet! Count your blessings, grab that baby and RUN.
You know how this story ends: he comes back, there’s a lot of confusion and head-scratching, they finally untangle the whole messy lie and realize that they’re already married to the person they want to be married to, and so everyone lives happily ever after, forever and ever, amen. It’s the classic sitcom set-up where the whole thing could be avoided if one person at any point had said, “hey, you know what…?” but of course that never happens. And, I don’t know, I guess we’re supposed to just ignore all the things that came before and accept it when they say that they love each other and they’re happy to start a life together, and ignore the part where she says, “I just didn’t know you! I didn’t trust you!” because she’s describing how she felt THE LAST TIME THEY SAW EACH OTHER and I don’t even understand how you can go from not trusting someone one minute and then to actively running away from them and then to seeing them again and being like, OMG THANK GOD YOU’RE HERE I MISS YOU I LOVE YOU LET’S GET MARRIED. And also spending the WHOLE BOOK talking about how marriage is a trap and you won’t get tied down and you want to have awesome adventures and see the world and then, WHOOOOOOOOOPS, in the blink of an eye actually marriage is awesome and adventures are for men and ugly women who don’t know their place! And did I mention this guy is terrible? Awful? The worst ever? HE IS! HE IS ALL OF THAT AND MORE!
But seriously? Yuck. Yuck, yuck, yuck! Yuck and gross and yuck some more! Yuck to everything that happens in this novel and yuck to the heroine and yuck to hero – double yuck to the hero! – and yuck to the ending and yuck to the people on Amazon who thought this was sooooo romantic – you guys, just yuck. And yuck especially to them doing it on the back cover of my book! Get a room, assholes!
Yuck, yuck, yuck.