Passionate Hearts
By Claudia McRay
Mar 5, 2004 - 1:22:00 PM

In CANDY STORE, Bella Andre tells of a young lady who is about to lose her heart's dream. 

Callie Moore has always wanted to own and operate her own candy store.  Her truffles are to die for and she's a big hit in her small town.  The problem Callie has lies in the fact that the downtown area where her store sits has been revitalized and her rent has tripled since she opened her store. 

Enter the Candy Consultant.  Tobey Danville, The Candy King, is Callie's only hope of saving her store and her livelihood.  Tobey has been has accepted Callie as his last client.  Family pressure is forcing him to abandon his life's dream to go into the accounting business with his brother. 

Unknown to one another at the time, Callie and Tobey meet at a wedding where she's providing her truffles and he's the best man.  The spark between them is instantaneous.  She disappears.  When he finds her, she's hiding in a walk-in refrigerator.  He goes in after her.  Clothes are gone in a matter of seconds and a torrid love scene ensues.  Callie runs away in embarrassment before Tobey can find out how to keep in touch with her.


When Tobey arrives at Callie's shop the next morning, the door is unlocked and he finds her bent over in the walk-in refrigerator taking inventory.  You get the picture. 

Tobey helps Callie and she, in turn, helps him make a decision of a life-time as to what he plans to do with his business. 

Bella Andre tells a delightful Valentine's Day tale and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

A VALENTINE'S BRIDE by Doreen DeSalvo brings together a very bitter man who has lost his wife and the woman her parents have sent as a replacement. 

When Giovanni DiAngelo married Francesca Del Dio Russo he paid her father a hefty bride price.  When Francesca passed away all too soon, Giovanni wrote her family asking for a portion of the bride price to be returned.  Instead of money, the family sent him another wife that he doesn't want.


Mariana Del Dio Russo arrives on a very cold and snowy day when Giovanni (who Americanized his name to John) is worried about being able to stretch his supplies until the spring.  Mariana has spent months on a ship and another four months on Ellis Island recovering from an illness.

John asks if she's brought the money and she tells him that her family sent her since they were obligated to give him a wife.  The tension is high between these two adversaries.  He doesn't want a wife and she has nowhere else to go.  Little by little, they work out their differences and John warms to this waif-life creature.


Mariana doesn't fully understand the English language.  John, in his anger over not getting the money and his unwanted attraction to Mariana, doesn't attempt to sift through her answers to his direct, and sometimes leading, questions.


Doreen DeSalvo writes a sad but lovely story of the two adversaries who come to care for one another and find a way to communicate both in the bedroom and out.  It will make you laugh, it will make you cry and it most assuredly will make you want to take John and shake some sense into him.


VALENTINE WISHES by Mlyn Hurn is the story of a young woman, Vicky, who doesn't care for Valentine's Day.  "National Suck-Up Day" is how her ex-fiancé referred to Valentine's Day.  What Vicky doesn't know is that this hater of Valentine's Day, Nick Ingles, now designs wedding dresses


Valentina Vale and her new husband, Mark Magnuson, are very much in love and wish the same for his son and her daughter.  The daughter, Vicky, lives in New York and has been asked to come to California to help with a fashion show that will feature a wedding at the end.  Mom wants Vicky to wear the wedding dress and participate in the fake wedding held at the end of the show.


Mark's son, Kirk, works for Valentine; however, he and Vicky have never been introduced.


Read along as Vicky and Kirk discover they're both now living in her mom's apartment.  The relationship between these two sparks from the beginning.  Follow as they work through a budding relationship only to have Nick step in and try to re-claim Vicky.  The fast and furious love scenes between Vicky and Kirk will keep you turning the pages.


PASSIONATE HEARTS is a recommended read and a keeper to pull out and re-read each year in February.

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