Author: Rhian Cahill
Valentine’s Dates is one of the February releases for Escape Publishing so when I found myself ready to choose a new read I couldn’t go past one with links to Valentine’s Day, not this week.
This is Rhian Cahill’s third Escape title and continues the holiday theme begun with Christmas Wishes and New Year’s Kisses, which makes me very interested to see if there will be an Easter offering.
Short fiction needs to have tension and be reasonably self contained to capture my attention, I don’t have time to get bogged in back story and the tension has to keep me flicking pages to find out what comes next. Tension is something that was well and truly present in Valentine’s Dates, tension purely of the chemical sparking kind.
I think every woman with a big brother would be able to relate to this story on some level, because lets face it who can honestly say they never crushed on at least one of their big brothers friends. Yes, me too – on more than one occasion. Which makes it delicious to read of a scenario where that pairing works out, I know I spent a lot of time fantasising about it as a teen.
For much of this story there doesn’t seem to be any working out in sight. Every time Vee (Valentine) and Brent are in range of one another they are at each others throats, and it all stems back to something that happened a decade ago. We hear all about what happened and how it happened but I didn’t get an answer that satisfied me about why it went wrong.
So this is a little bit friends to lovers, a little bit second chances, and a little bit every teen girls fantasy to be with the gorgeous friend of her older brother.
Vee and Brent have known each other forever, there’s a scene where Brent was remembering years gone by when they spent lots of time together and their history shows. Brent has had feelings for Vee from very early on but who wants to risk the wrath of a protective older brother, especially when it jeopardises a friendship, so he tries hard to bury the feelings and hope they disappear. As is always the way, everyone knows how Brent feels except Vee and Brent is shocked to discover that his secret is anything but.
Vee’s emotions are a little more turbulent, a little harder to read, but as an onlooker we see the writing on the wall. Big Brother Wade believes the bluster of Vee’s argumentativeness, the passion with which she seems to dislike him but passion is still passion regardless of how it’s expressed.
Valentine’s Dates is that moment in time when the stars align and things start to look different. A moment that has been captured with humour, and with heat.
I found the characters to be likeable, the plot believable and Rhian captured me quickly with this story. I was invested in the outcome and wanted there to be a happily ever after. But there were some elements which seem a little far fetched when I sit back and reflect. Overall this was an engaging and enjoyable way to spend my evening and I will look out for more of Cahill’s work.