My Valentine Anthology

my valentineTitle: My Valentine

Authors: Gina Wilkins, Kristine Rolofson, JoAnn Ross and Vicki Lewis Thompson

Mills & Boon imprint: Harlequin Temptation

Year of publication: 1992

The blurbs:  Denim and Diamonds by Gina Wilkins

Executive Alison Tindall was all silk – power company lineman Beau Harmon only wore denim. None of Alison’s sexual fantasies included a man like him. Then Beau appeared on her doorstep on February 14, dressed to kill….

The Valentine Raffle by Kristine Rolofson

Celebrating Valentine’s Day with raffles was tradition in Valentine, Nebraska, and hairdresser Stella Hathaway was happy to participate. She loved rancher Matt McNeil, but he seemed determined to avoid her. So the townsfolk decided to fix Cupid’s aim….

A Very Special Delivery by JoAnn Ross

Every New Year’s Eve patrolman Patrick Sullivan vowed to forget his sexy ex-wife, Valentine Alexander. By every Valentine’s Day he’d broken his resolution. This year was different…chance sent Val – and her newborn twins – to him.

Valentine Mischief by Vicki Lewis Thompson

When Reid Halstead appeared in Jessie Neal’s photography studio, it wasn’t to order one of her Valentine glamour shots. Yet Jessie couldn’t resist teasing the conservative C.E.O. with a naughty picture of herself in a negligee – not the kind of visual aid Reid wanted in his boardroom….

Standalone or series: Standalone

The review: I thought I’d read this Valentine’s Day anthology now, given that the day in question is next week. The book is almost twenty years old, so I’ll give the stories a little bit of leeway. Here’s my reviews for each one.

Denim and Diamonds: I wanted to like this one better than I did. Alison was just a snob, pure and simple. She thought her neighbour Beau was nice looking but didn’t look twice at him because of his job as a lineman. He overhears her talking with another neighbour at the laundromat and decides to surprise her with gifts and dinner on Valentine’s Day. When he turns up to pick her up for dinner, she reluctantly agrees to go.

They end up in a relationship and the sex is hot, but Alison decides their differences are just too insurmountable and breaks up with him – even though Beau has been nothing but a really nice guy. Alison annoyed me with her attitude – she didn’t deserve Beau. But after they break up, they’re both miserable and end up back together.

The Valentine Raffle: I actually felt it a shame this was only a novella, because this could easily have been a full length novel. I adored Stella. Matt was reluctant to get involved with anyone because his wife left him and their two young sons for another man, but he couldn’t resist Stella. He did run a bit hot and cold, which is where I think it being a full length novel would have worked better. But I really enjoyed this novella.

A Very Special Delivery: Again, another novella that would have been better as a full length novel, because it felt a bit rushed. News anchor Valentine Alexander married her boyfriend, Patrick Sullivan, when they were teenagers. However, her rich parents threw a hissy fit and dragged her home six hours later, and had the marriage annulled. So Val marries some douchebag her parents picked, only to find out he was cheating on her the day she told him she was pregnant with twins.

When Val gets caught up in a snowstorm on New Year’s Eve, Patrick, now a cop, races to her car in a ditch and helps deliver her twins, who make a speedy arrival. When he realises Val is looking after the twins alone, he offers to come help her and she finds she can’t resist. Eventually, they realise their love never really went away and they end up remarried. I really liked this one.

Valentine Mischief: This was probably my least favourite of the four. I’m all for a whirlwind courtship, but what ruined this for me was the prank played by the heroine. CEO Reid hires photographer Jessie to design a poster he needs for an upcoming board meeting. She finds he has a hidden sense of humour, and amongst much flirting decides to play a joke on him by switching out the photo she took for him for one of her in lingerie. What she thought would happen was that he’d look at it, laugh and then she’d give him the real poster. What did happen is that he had his assistant pick it up, didn’t look at it and got a plane to another city for the board meeting.

Jessie, panicking, flies to the city where the board meeting is being held, with the intention of intercepting Reid before he uses the poster, but she happens upon the board meeting just as he unveils it. The board meeting is supposed to be to entice potential investors in Reid’s company, and the whole idea was, to me, just plain stupid. Why would any professional risk jeopardising a potential revenue stream by playing a prank that stupid? As it happens, Jessie runs into someone after the meeting and tells him what happened (without mentioning names), not realising this nice grandfatherly man is one of the board directors. Anyway, she ends up having sex with Reid, who forgives her for the prank, and then after like two days he asks her to marry him. This one didn’t work for me, alas.