With New Year’s celebrations, people usher in the new year and eagerly leave behind the old. The feeling is often “been there, done that,” with many looking forward to a change. Kiss the Year Goodbye, a steamy collection of four sexy novellas, left this reviewer with those same feelings of old. Each story’s premise is ever so familiar, almost clichéd, and the tone is reminiscent of traditional romance novels. However, the infusion of sultry, explicit sex scenes puts this anthology in a category all by itself.
“Whatever It Takes” by Tu-Shonda Whitaker revisits the older woman/younger man storyline. Yes, Stella is getting her groove back - again. This time it is thirty-six-year-old India who is suddenly attracted to twenty-three-year-old Devin, who happens to be her best friend Joan’s son. The attraction is lightning quick. India goes over to Joan’s house to return a borrowed camera; Joan is not home, but Devin is. India notices how handsome he is and - just like that - they begin a torrid romance. But will the age difference be too much to bear? What if Joan finds out? While the dialogue is authentic, the whirlwind romance is hard to believe. If Whitaker had spent more time setting up the story, creating a buildup, the tale would have been more realistic.
In “Every New Year” by Brenda L. Thomas, Dr. Cynthia Lampley is a respected urologist whose profession has her frequently examining male genitalia - a problem for her fiancé, Terrell. Days before New Year’s Eve, the good doctor is involved in an accident that lands her in the hospital and leaves her with short-term memory loss. Although Dr. Strohmile is not her usual type, she is nonetheless attracted to his bedside manner. When her memory returns, she realizes things have changed, but are they changes she can live with? Despite the soap-opera-like plot of a heroine who suffers from amnesia, Thomas’ writing is fluid and engaging. This is a story you don’t want to end.
“Dangerously in Love” by Crystal Lacey Winslow is the best of the quartet. What starts as a basic boy-meets-girl is carefully spun into an explosive tale of betrayal with unexpected twists and a shocking ending. London isn’t looking for love after being dumped by his girlfriend; he is merely drowning in his sorrows when he meets a singer at a bar. They kiss at midnight and never hear from each other again. Fast-forward to a year later when their paths cross. Although the singer, Jovie, is shy and somewhat quirky, London falls for her. But one night, he falls into bed with her twin sister. He wants to marry Jovie, but will the guilt of that fateful night keep him from the altar? This story sparks interest right from the prologue and doesn’t let up until the end.
In “My Boo” by Daaimah Poole, the major issue is a character’s inability to handle a long distance relationship, which is not enough to carry the plot. Twenty-three-year-old Gina loves her boyfriend, Chris, who lives three states away. After a year, the distance becomes an issue. Gina wants her man there when she wants him. Meanwhile, her roommate Bianca is having regular sexual escapades with Khalil, a guy she met at the club. After a heated argument between the roommates, Gina kicks Bianca out. Later Khalil comes knocking at Gina’s door with seduction on his mind. Will Gina give in or remain faithful to Chris?
Overall, Kiss the Year Goodbye is an okay read. It is not a recommend-to-everyone-you-know book, but it’s not a waste of paper either. The trite storylines are the book’s major downfall, but a couple of the authors successfully spin them in a way that makes for interesting reading.