Little Red Hood by Jenna Jones

Little Red Hood by Jenna Jones
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (28 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Rory Goodwin is fascinated by his mysterious neighbor in 4C. A chance meeting gives Rory an opportunity to get to know Alec Conroy and his world, but it takes a stranger for Rory to learn the full truth about Alec. Can Rory protect Alec from the forces pursuing him? Will he, despite his fears?

Speculation about the mysterious new man residing in apartment 4C runs rampant. All Rory knows is the stranger is drop dead gorgeous and Rory’s deeply curious about him. Rory rushes to help as Mr 4C struggles with his groceries and tries to open his door one afternoon. The beautiful, weary smile Rory’s given is payment enough, though Rory’s also given the stranger’s name – Alec Conroy. After a bit of mild inquisitiveness, before he knows it Rory finds himself visiting the cemetery with Alec to lay flowers at his former partner’s grave. Rory discovers Alec is far more mysterious than he’d first thought and his secrets may prove even more hazardous than the liveliest imagination had speculated previously.

I really enjoyed this short story. The author does an awesome job of introducing the characters and slowly drawing us into the story line. Unlike many “modernized fairy tales” this doesn’t follow too closely to the traditional Little Red Riding Hood story – but there are enough parallels and similes that its being a re-telling doesn’t appear far-fetched either. I laughed at the way the author incorporated the traditional “What big eyes you have” lines – that was fantastic.

Alec is a mysterious though caring man and I enjoyed Rory’s playful and innocent attempts to get to know him better. I did find the explanation of the circumstances surrounding Alec’s nocturnal hours a bit thin. In this day and age it’s quite simple (and realistic) for people to work permanent night shifts in some jobs, or to live in one country and work on another country’s time zones. But nothing other than “he preferred to work at night” was offered and even Rory commented that as a freelancer Alec could pick and choose his own hours. So this did pull me a bit from the story and struck me as not properly fleshed out. Having said that, this was a small disappointment and a minor plot hole. The main story and set up of adventures was still very well written and I found the characters were truly addictive. While I would have liked to seen some consummation between the men, the steamy kisses, foreplay and clear, deep attachment between them showed me that when Rory and Alec do make it to the bedroom it will be a sight to behold. Readers wanting a more explicit read might be disappointed, but the romance, attachment and chemistry was so well written I felt only a minor pang of sadness to not see more.

With a predictable but still deeply interesting plot, vivid characters I cared about almost immediately and a fast pace, this is an excellent short story when you don’t have much time but still want to lose yourself in a wonderful tale. I totally was rooting for Rory and Alec, despite the obstacles in their path and found myself sad to finish the read. A modern, intriguing story and definitely a new author I plan to keep an eye on.

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