by Janet Dailey, Sandra Steffen, Kylie Adams

January 2002
ISBN: 0-8217-7293-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

Three short stories tucked into a tidy package and all bound together by a single theme – chocolate. Well, stand back and wait for the stampede, because other than George Clooney and possibly Russell Crowe, what do a majority of women crave? Yup – that sweet confection that melts on the tongue and satisfies like nothing else (okay with the possible exception of the aforementioned Clooney and Crowe!)

Janet Dailey takes the first bite out of this delectable anthology with her tale titled The Devil and Mr. Chocolate. Kitty Hamilton, successful art gallery owner, has just become engaged to potential husband number four – a Belgian chocolatier (Mr. Chocolate himself). However, the only impediment to her happiness is husband number one, renowned artist Sebastian Cole, who lives in a studio attached to Kitty’s lovely Santa Fe home, and still feels attached to Kitty! His wicked smile and sensual ways certainly explain why he is the Devil of the title. Luckily, Kitty doesn’t have to choose between chocolate and passion – but her life takes some unusual turns as she tries to have her sweet and eat it too!

In I Know I Love Chocolate I must admit that Sandra Steffen’s use of chocolate in the story is really only lip service to the theme of this anthology; it would have been quite a nice little romance without it. Dusted with a slightly paranormal frosting, this tale is about a man who has unusual powers – Sam O’Connor makes people tell the truth! Apparently, after a close encounter with a lightning bolt on a golf course, something changed in Sam’s electro-magnetic aura (well – I don’t know – I’m not a brain surgeon, and clearly neither was the author). Anyway, the result is that people find themselves powerless to stop blurting out the truth around him – sort of a good deal/bad deal kind of arrangement. So when his friend brings a lovely amnesiac to his attention, Sam sighs and tries to avoid the situation. No such luck – this lady breaches Sam’s reserve, and under the influence of his “truth” gaze, starts remembering things. Of course, she never forgot she loved chocolate! (I told you, it’s a stretch!!)

Kylie Adams wraps up this charming confection with her story Sex and the Single Chocoholic! Candace Rowley owns her own chocolate shop and is determined to get her truffles placed front and center in a new movie. To do this, however, she needs the usual makeover – boardroom to bimbo – that results in her attracting the attention of her biggest competitor, Strider Moore. This story is absolutely wonderful, funny, poignant and oh-so-sexy! Any hero who yells out the names of all the Bond actors at the moment of climactic passion (and doesn’t forget George Lazenby) is all right in my book!! Needless to say, the best truffle wins the day, and the hero wins the heroine, chocolate and all!

I heartily recommend this anthology as a delightful way to spend a few hours, and the nicest thing of all is that in spite of all that chocolate, you won’t gain an ounce!!

Reviewed in March 2002 by Celia.