by Jennifer Dunne, Kate Douglas, Chris Tanglen

February 2003
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Please don’t wait for St. Patrick’s Day to pick up this wonderful anthology from Ellora’s Cave. You certainly don’t need to be Irish to enjoy it, either, although I have a feeling a tall, cold glass of Guinness might help cool the fires these stories are sure to ignite. Revolving around the premise that what you wish for and what you want are not always quite the same thing, Jennifer Dunne leads off with an enchanting tale of magic, dryads, Wiccans and a millionaire with a fetish. The romance is strong here, although the sex is by no means lacking. In fact, sex starts a lot of Dermot Stone’s troubles when he gives new meaning to the expression “woody”....

Kate Douglas invites us to the magical world of the Fae (that’s fairies for us mortals), but this is not the Hallmark card variety. Zev Cable finds himself at the mercy of a pair of fledgling witches anxious to skip a couple of grades and graduate early. Also at their mercy is the delightful green woodsprite, Fern. After shifting his viewpoint, Zev learns that just about anything can be accomplished with faith, love, and magic. To end this trilogy, Chris Tanglen takes us on a wild ride through the corporate jungle with an exhibitionistic and pretty much nymphomaniacal vision named Vivian who wants to grant Greg Tennerson’s deepest desire. She’s interpreted it as being lots of great sex – in public. Chaos, as you may imagine, ensues.

These three stories are absolutely delightful. The characters are well crafted, the plots neat and compact, and the writing style will make you laugh, sigh, squirm and laugh all over again. Ms. Dunne captures all the charm and magic of Ireland in Eileen, whose intelligence rivals that of millionaire Stone. Apart they’re a great pair, together they’re dynamite. This is a really nicely paced story that is delightful and fun.

Kate Douglas’s fairies are amazing, to say the least. They leap off the page and into the room, inviting you to share their escapades. Fern, the woodsprite, will charm you as easily as she does Zev, and within minutes of first meeting her, you’ll be cheering for the two of them to finally get their deepest desire. A super and innovative take on an age-old genre that will have you believing – if not in fairies, then in the power of love.

Chris Tanglen’s story, however, will have you believing that you simply cannot laugh any more without doing serious internal damage. His characters' rapid-fire dialogue is reminiscent of the wonderful Tracy-Hepburn style of repartee, and they move from funny situation to funny situation with the exchange of a quip. Realistic as the guy next door, and improbable as a Victoria’s Secret model, Greg and Vivian certainly generate enough heat to set fire to your monitor. I roared with laughter at some of their antics, and was thrilled to note that the romance hadn’t been neglected in favor of the humor. And yes, I will probably never pack with bubble wrap again. Chris Tanglen’s story has taken the fun out of running my office chair over it.

All things considered, I can’t think of a better read than The Luck of The Irish for some lighthearted fun, magical moments and hot sex. Don’t expect brooding intensity here, save that for Halloween, or some other pagan festival. This is the Irish – colleens, leprechauns, rainbows and all. And the “Luck” in the title? Getting to read these stories. Four-leaf clover not required.

Reviewed in February 2003 by Celia.