Last weekend, my fiancé and I explored a new neighborhood in San Diego. About an hour into our stroll, we popped into a Starbucks so I could get a ginormous iced green tea and use the restroom. After placing my order, I located the bathrooms…and noticed something weird. The lights were off and the door was propped open with nothing but a slim trashcan. A piece of paper taped to the turquoise paint explained everything. The lights weren’t working. They weren’t sure when they’d be back on. They were sorry for the inconvenience.
At that point, I didn’t have a choice. I needed to go. So, I stepped into the dark bathroom, which was cool and quiet and dimly lit with a single sliver of light…and I immediately muttered “Bloody Mary” under my breath three times. And waited. Because that’s what you do.
While nothing happened to me in that Starbucks bathroom last weekend, one thing was unmistakably clear: my book du jour, Pen and Kink’s Legendary anthology, had gotten under my skin. I’m not surprised, because the collection is darkly delightful, and sensuous to boot.
Legendary, edited by Laura Harvey, is a compilation of five stories that retell traditional urban legends—with a romantic twist. Yeah, you heard me. Each dose of horror is tempered with sweetness. And I’m here to tell you, it works.
In “Not Again,” Sara Dobie Bauer tackles “The Hook” with the sensibility of a B horror movie. The result is hilarious, steamy, and campy in all the right ways.
Wendy Sparrow’s “She Wore White” cautions cheating men against picking up women dressed in white along treacherous, winding roads—and follows a couple too stubborn to realize they’re made for each other.
T.R. North’s “Vanishing Point” will take you back to your childhood and high school years—and inspire a soft spot in your heart for hitchhikers holding sunflowers.
A classic South African urban legend involving mirrors and monsters gets an empathic makeover (complete with rosy blush) in Aisling Phillips “La Via En Rose.”
Legendary rounds out with Michael Leonberger’s “The Hook,” which beautifully tackles disability, young love, and menacing psychopaths.
The aspect of this anthology that impresses me the most is the diversity within its pages. There is variety everywhere you turn—the romantic couplings (they’re not all hetero – hooray!), the styles of the stories, the heat levels, and the voices, which are all so very distinct. There’s a tale for everyone in Legendary. (And yes, there are two man-with-a-hook retellings, but in this collection, they couldn’t be more different. Reading both was quick succession was a fun experience.)
Lucky for you, dear readers, you can devour every creepy, crawly, sexy twist of Legendary on Friday…the 13th. Hahaha! (Best marketing ever!) Pre-order your Kindle copy for only 99 cents HERE.
Happy humps and hauntings!