Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-61923-350-8
Our hero, Jacques Germain, is not the happiest person at the moment. Someone broke into the company and stole the notes for the new perfume formulation, and the big boss put the blame on him. Disgusted, he resigns at the start of this story. Eventually, he meets our heroine Patrice McClendon, who needs a perfume researcher to help her develop a new Valentine’s Day scent. Is this kismet or what?
That’s basically the story in Be My Valentine. Nothing too dramatic happens here, just two normal people falling in love and doing things together. However, this is one story that could have been tighter. Too much of this story drags, and I often feel like I’ve been given an unnecessarily belabored blow-by-blow detail of every small thing happening to these characters. The story starts dramatically with Jacques being targeted for investigation, but that angle peters out as the pacing sags, and indeed, the story is written in a way that is just flat – no build-up, no faster pacing for more dramatic scenes, nothing; everything reads like a diary. Today he talks to her about this, she then goes here, he goes there, she meets this person and talks about this, she then catches up with him and they do that… oh my, I’m feeling sleepy already. After a while, I’ve forgotten what this story is supposed to be about in the first place.
This one, as a result, is one of those stories where the story and the characters by themselves are not an issue, but the author wrote things in such a dull “just tell everything – who needs showing?” way that any sense of direction, focus, and pacing seems nonexistent here. This one is way too easy to put down and forget.