by Mary Janice Davidson, Leslie Esdaile, Susanna Carr

January 2006
ISBN: 0758212844
Reviewer Graphic Button Brava
Trade Paperback

Mary Janice Davidson kicks off this trio of stories that take place on and around Valentine’s Day. Cuffs and Coffee Breaks has greeting card writer Julie Kay About (pronounced Aboot) making an exception to going on a blind date on Valentines. Scott Wythe works for the same company, but has only met Julie through email. Julie has had exceptionally bad luck on this day in the past, and this year is no different when she walks into the restaurant to meet Scott, and finds him handcuffed and standing near a dead man. Davidson has written her typical self-sufficient, mouthy heroine but this story actually worked for me. It’s very short but the snappy dialogue keeps you smiling throughout.

A “No Drama” Valentine’s by Leslie Esdaile has four friends with no dates making plans to spend Valentine’s together. Jocelyn Jefferson’s evening doesn’t go as planned, and rather than spending the evening with her friends she finds herself hosting an unexpected party for strangers, and actually having a good time. Well, she was having a good time until she finds herself arrested and sitting in an interrogation room at the police station. Detective Raymond Mayfield always volunteers to work on this holiday since his love life is so depressing. He soon realizes that sexy Jocelyn was not as she first seemed and he just may have to rethink his opinion on this romantic time of year. Though I don’t usually read African-American romances, I found this one rather entertaining and enjoyed the story once the two main characters were interacting.

Lastly, is Susanna Carr’s Valentine Survivor in which Shanna Murphy was determined to make this Valentine’s Day a day of her dreams. She even had a list detailing her requirements. However the day didn’t go as planned when her date backed out and she found herself working overtime for the boss from hell. When said boss was later found dead, Calder Smith, her ex-boyfriend and co-worker, was the only one there to defend her. This was a cute story, but at times aggravating because so much heartache and pain could have been avoided if these two had just been more willing to communicate and compromise.

Valentine's Day is Killing Me continues the “Wicked” Women series and like the rest concentrates mainly on the romances and not the mystery.

Reviewed in December 2005 by Jackie.