Love You to Death

Love You to Death

4.0 9
by Melissa Senate

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When did Abby Foote's life become an episode of Law & Order?

First, a former boyfriend (who dumped Abby in the most humiliating way imaginable) is found murdered the day his engagement is announced.

Then two other ex-boyfriends report attempts made on their lives right after breaking up with her. Coincidence? Detective Benjamin Orr, of the


When did Abby Foote's life become an episode of Law & Order?

First, a former boyfriend (who dumped Abby in the most humiliating way imaginable) is found murdered the day his engagement is announced.

Then two other ex-boyfriends report attempts made on their lives right after breaking up with her. Coincidence? Detective Benjamin Orr, of the Portland Police Department (and Very Probing Questions and Incredibly Delicious Face), doesn't think so. Neither do Abby's friends, family, coworkers and other exes—who are suddenly shaking in their shoes. Soon everyone is sucking up to her as though the Abby they know and supposedly love to death is capable of poisoning their drinks….

Is someone trying to frame her?

Who? And why? She has to find out fast. Because by-the-book Ben is bound to break her heart.

Which makes him next on someone's list…

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Allie is a perky 22-year old virgin with a hopeless crush. Emma is a free-spirited fashion editor's assistant who parties with a vengeance. Jodine is a responsible law student who makes efficiency an art form. The question is: can this odd trio can live together in a Toronto apartment without driving one another crazy? The answer is probably not, but what they can do is build friendships none of them ever anticipated. Mlynowski, following last year's Milkrun, delivers another fun piece of fluff about post-college 20-somethings trying to figure it all out as they struggle with fledgling careers, the opposite sex and financial woes. Considerable woes, in fact. Somehow, the new roommates must devise a plan to replace their kitchen, which has burned to a crisp. Each character takes her turn telling the story in alternating chapters, and the reader never mistakes one voice for another. When Allie is asked if she could be pregnant after a bout of nausea, she thinks, "Maybe it is morning sickness and I'm carrying Jesus II." Jodine considers her roommates "a munchkin and a truck driver." While making a list of past sexual partners, Emma asks her roomies, "Can I have another piece of paper?" A fourth narrator, in omniscient third-person, is not always as funny as intended, but reminds the reader of important plot points ("Do you remember the effect alcohol has on her when she gets drunk? She's like a librarian in a porno movie.") Mlynowski delivers a solid if formulaic roommate caper. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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According to my half sister Opal, all of twenty-five and a self-professed expert on men now that she was engaged, everything you needed to know about your boyfriend, fiancé or husband you learned on your first date.

Did he talk about his mother? Guess who'll rule your life in a few years?

He blabbed on and on about his job without taking a breath? Even with reminders, he'll forget your birthday.

Couldn't keep his eyes off the hot blonde at the end of the bar? Maybe he'll only lust for other women in his heart like Jimmy Carter. Maybe.

Was he rude to the waiter? And you said yes to a second date?

"Abby, do you wanna know what your problem with men is?" Opal had said last week during breakfast at the diner. (The Foote sisters—which included my other half sister, Olivia—had made a pact to get together the first Saturday of every month without fail and had failed until this month, mostly because it was January and everyone had made resolutions to be more family oriented.) "Your problem with men is that you don't pay close enough at- tention on that telltale first date. One of many cases in point—the linebacker. His commitment issues must have come up fifteen minutes into your first date!"

The linebacker was Charlie. We broke up two years ago at Olivia's wedding. Why? When all the single women (myself included) had lined up for the bouquet toss, Charlie, a former defensive linebacker for Notre Dame, had charged from our table (where he'd consumed four Jack and Cokes) and taken a running dive for the airborne clutch of pink roses, knocking over me, two bridesmaids and my recently divorced aunt Annette.

"Wow, Abby, he really didn't want you to be next," Opal had commented later in the emergency room as we waited for Aunt Annette's ankle to be wrapped.

Opal had the tact of a four-year-old, which was why I paid attention to her. When all was said and done (and a lot had been said that night), the linebacker hadn't wanted me to be next.

I had. Until that night anyway. (Charlie hadn't even stuck around the E.R. long enough for my aunt to be released!) Had his obvious commitment issues come up on our first date? If they had, I'd been too googly-eyed over him to notice.

"Forget the football player," Olivia had said. "He was the definition of passive-aggressive, but he was no Ted Puck. "Ted was your worst boyfriend, Abby. I'd be surprised if he didn't start making out with the waitress on your first date!"

Ted was my most recent ex-boyfriend. And I'd loved him the way you love The One. But I clearly hadn't been paying attention on our first date because I'd missed whatever blinking neon sign indicated Caution: Will Cheat On You At Your Own Birthday Party With A Woman He'll Bring And Say Is His Cousin Mary.

That was six heartbreaking, humiliating months ago. And it had taken me that long to agree to go out with a new guy. Mostly because, this time, I knew exactly what I was looking for, and he wasn't easy to find: Clark Kent. A mild-mannered, kind, polite guy who'd morph into someone else (and a superhero, instead of, say, a big fat jerk) only if the world's future depended on it.

My Clark Kent, a quite cute tax attorney named Henry Fiddler, whom I'd been dating for one so-far-so-good month, was at this very moment driving us closer and closer to Olivia's house, where thirty or so relatives and friends of the family were waiting to meet him. No— waiting to see what insane thing he'd do. Because as the whole family knew, "Abby sure can pick -em!"

My relatives weren't really gathered to meet my new boyfriend. The occasion was my newborn nephew's bris. But Olivia had started a hoo-ha by telling everyone that not only was I finally dating again, I was actually bringing the guy to the party. "Good God, what if he knocks into the mohel during the circumcision!" Olivia's husband had worried aloud to more than a few relatives. "I wouldn't put anything past a boyfriend of Abby's!"

A little harsh, but unfortunately true. If the men I got involved with didn't make absolute jerks of themselves in front of my family and friends, Ã la the linebacker and Ted Puck, they turned into martians, like my college boy- friend who, at a dinner to celebrate my father and step- mother's twentieth wedding anniversary, answered the first three questions directed to him—such as So, what's your major? and Did you also grow up in Maine?—in pig latin. We broke up before dessert was served.

Why? Why, why, why? Was it them? Me? Hazards of dating? Or was I just a magnet for every jerk and nut job in New England?

"Didn't you read that book He's Just Not That Into You?" Opal had asked after the pig latin incident. "The only reason guys agree to meet your family when you're dating is because they want a blow job later. It has nothing to do with how serious they are about you or the relation- ship. But then there they are, meeting your family when they're just not that into you, and they freak out and start talking in pig latin."

Or they fracture your aunt's ankle. Or they cheat on you at your own birthday party with a woman they brought and said was their cousin. Mary. (Her name was more likely Angelina or something sexy like that.) "And then ten minutes later," Opal had continued,

"the relationship is over. Because he just wasn't that into you to begin with!" She'd gone on and on about the excuses women (specifically me) make for men who

"just aren't into them." I'd tuned her out, but maybe she'd been onto something.

I glanced at Henry—nice, normal, polite Henry, of the rimless eyeglasses, Dockers and oxford shirt. Did men who "just weren't that into you" agree to meet your entire family after dating you for only one month? Even when they knew for a fact (because you had yet to put out) that there was zero chance of oral gratification later? Did they pick you up promptly at noon on a Sunday during football season for said family function with a bouquet of lilies for you and one for brand-new mother Olivia? Did they say you looked "so, so beautiful" in your pale yellow sweater and f lippy brown suede skirt, which you shouldn't really be wearing when it was f lurrying outside?

No, no and more no. And besides, jerks did not wear Dockers. Unless—they were the clichéd wolves in sheep's clothing.

I slumped in my seat, which Henry had prewarmed for me with a f lick of a button in his Subaru Outback— good-guy car if there ever was one. I had to have faith— in my taste in men, in mankind—that Henry was not another Ted Puck. Or Charlie. Or Riley. Or Tom. Good Lord, I could go back to first grade. "Abs, you have nothing to worry about," Olivia had assured me last week. "Henry couldn't possibly be another Ted. Ted was king of the assholes. There's only down from there. I mean, up. I mean there couldn't possibly be a worse guy out there than Ted Puck. Forget the past. You're dating again, which is great. I'm sure Henry is a great guy."

He was! Is! I had paid attention on my first date with Henry. He hadn't committed any of the first-date crimes Opal and Olivia had counseled me to watch out for. He didn't stare at the waitress's chest. He didn't talk about his exes. He didn't refer to his last girlfriend or his mother as a bitch. He didn't excuse himself to check in with his parole officer.

Everything would be fine. Henry would not freak out at the bris and suddenly start singing "Hava Nagila" at the top of his lungs and doing the accompanying kick-dance, bumping into the mohel and scarring young Oscar Grunwald for life.

As snow f lurried on the windshield, Henry, two-hands- on-the-wheel, drove us carefully up I-295 toward Olivia's house in Freeport. He was so cute for a nerd! Truly attrac- tive. Tall and lean, but muscular, broad shouldered. Almost black hair. Blue eyes. Roman nose. And one delicious dimple in his right cheek, at which I was now staring. Not only was he Clark Kent, he was a young Christopher Reeve!

Everything would be okay. Repeat. Repeat.

Henry was singing along to the radio in an American Idol-reject voice that made me smile, but he suddenly snapped off the radio midsong and took a deep breath. "Abby, there's something I need to talk to you about. Okay, I'm just going to say this." He eyed me for a moment. "I wouldn't mind knowing where we stand. I mean, here I am, about to meet your whole family—"

I smiled and turned to face him, relieved that I could be googly-eyed over his Clark Kent face, those gorgeous blue eyes, without worrying that he was a jerk-in-hiding. Jerks did not want to know where the relationship stood! Well, unless they were control freaks. Henry, who'd given me total control of the radio, was not a control freak.

Maybe later today, after the bris, we would go back to one of our apartments and I'd finally say, "Yes, yes, yes, make mad passionate love to me," or something like that. After each of our nine dates, I'd said a chaste good-night to Henry at my apartment door—well, if three-minute killer kisses that left him panting could be considered chaste. But I could finally rip off his clothes without worry. He just might get orally gratified! He wasn't another Ted Puck! I did not have crappy taste in men! I did not need years of therapy! I mentally went through my lingerie drawer. Should I wear the black lace? Or maybe first-time white?

I decided on the white. "Wow, Henry, that is so refresh- ing to hear," I said. "Usually it's the woman who wants to know where the relationship is going, and—"

"I mean sexually, Abby."


He glanced at me. I stared straight ahead at the snow- f lakes being obliterated by the windshield wipers.

"We've been seeing each other for over a month," he said.

"We've gone out, what, like ten times? And all we've done is make out like we're in high school. Middle school, even."

"Or like I just got out of a bad relationship and don't feel ready to jump into bed," I said. "Henry, I like you a lot. So much. But sex is a big deal to me, and I just want to make sure—"

"Make sure what?" he interrupted. "That we're headed for marriage? Abby, it's been a month."

I was getting less googly-eyed by the second. "I'm not talking about marriage." Did I say anything about marriage? "But yeah, it's only been a month and I'm gun-shy, that's all. If it's any help, I'm incredibly attracted to you. Saying no isn't easy."

He laid his hand on my thigh. High up. "So say yes." I grabbed my coffee from the holder separating our seats and sipped at it to have a buffer. "I'm just not there yet, Henry."

"Maybe tonight?" he asked more hopefully than jerk- fully. "I'll have met your whole family. That should help you feel closer to me, won't it?"

Oh, God. Why was Opal Foote always right?

Stop pressuring me! "I really don't know," I said. "I only know that I'll know when I know." You blew it, Henry! You have no idea how close you came.

He moved his hand from my thigh to the steering wheel. "Okay." He glanced at me and smiled. "You're hard to resist, that's all. Okay?"

Barely. Barely okay, buster. It was nice to be wanted. But back off!

Meet the Author

Bestselling author Melissa Senate has written four novels: See Jane Date (which was made into a TV movie for ABC Family), The Solomon Sisters Wise Up (which took her on a whirlwind three-city book tour of Italy), Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? (chosen by Marie Claire magazine as a Top Ten must-read pick), and The Breakup Club, awarded four stars by Romantic Times BOOKclub magazine and also the "Lit Chick's" January pick for The Daily Buzz show.

Melissa's short stories have appeared in American Girls About Town and Flirting with Pride & Prejudice: Fresh Perspectives on the Original Chick-Lit Masterpiece. Melissa's first novel for teens, Theodora Twist, will be published in May 2006.

A former editor of women's fiction and young adult novels, Melissa lives on the southern coast of Maine with her husband, their young son and their four lap cats. She's hard at work on her next Red Dress Ink novel, Love You to Death, a lighthearted mystery to be published next January.

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Love You To Death 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Sherri_Hunter More than 1 year ago
Could Abby Foote’s day get any worse? She already has the worst luck with men and discovers that her ex-boyfriend has been found murdered. The cop investigating the murder happens to be the guy she had a major crush on in high school. She soon learns that attempts were made on two other exes and she is the prime suspect for all three crimes. It’s bad enough that you’re being investigated by your high school crush for crimes you did not commit, but adding insult to injury, he doesn’t even remember you! Your family claims they believe in your innocence but they start acting strange, don’t want you around your newborn nephew and even insist you be accompanied by a police escort to your bridesmaid’s dress fitting for your sister’s wedding! I completely understand that Ben is just doing his job, but I started to get annoyed at his insistence that she “could” have done it and “it’s possible” instead of not appearing to look at anyone else as the suspect. Even when there’s evidence that someone Abby knows is committing the crimes, Ben still asks Abby if she planted it! If it wouldn’t have made her situation worse, I would have cheered Abby slapping him a good one!  The list of possible suspects is large. It could be anyone starting with the dead ex-boyfriend’s new fiancée, to Abby’s family, to her co-workers and even her friends. Sadly, everyone seems to believe it’s Abby and people are walking around on eggshells around her, which I found highly insulting, but there isn’t much to be done to help the situation except prove her innocence. It was next to impossible for me to figure out who did it as I was likely to believe any of the people in Abby’s life were capable. When the culprit is revealed, I was surprised and a little disappointed that I didn’t pick up on it sooner.  The story moved very slowly for me until Ben starts to entertain the possibility that someone close to Abby could be responsible for the crimes. By then I was pretty frustrated at Abby’s insistence of innocence falling on deaf ears and more agitated that there were no signs of interest in Abby coming from Ben, except as a perp. Probably a good thing as there is a killer watching and Ben could have ended up on the killer’s list of targets.  Overall, this was a good book. I really enjoy the mix of chick-lit and mystery. As frustrating and annoyed I as I was at the lack of passion in this story, I have to applaud Ben’s ethics and integrity. Fortunately, he steps up when Abby finds herself face to face with the killer so all ends well. I recommend this to fans of both the chick-lit and cozy mystery genre that are looking for something light to read and don’t mind the lack of passion and romance for our heroine.
melbiddle More than 1 year ago
Poor Abby is having a rough day. First she hears her ex is getting married and then he is found dead and she is the suspect. As if that wasn't bad enough more of her ex-boyfriends are dying. Can she prove her innocence before more ex's die?
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Guest More than 1 year ago
i absolutley love this book. it is all of the things you need in a book. death,love,and mystery. you never know whats gonna happen next. thats why this is a book everyone should get.
harstan More than 1 year ago
As her Foote half-sister Opal points out, being an expert on men since she is engaged, Maine Life columnist Abby always picks losers. One of them, Ted Puck and Mary-Kate Darling have made the wedding announcement section of the paper Abbey knows the pair as ¿cheating jerk¿ and ¿cheating slut¿ catching them in her bed making love on her birthday. Her siblings and ¿Abby Too¿ wish hell for Puck.------------------- The next day Portland Police Department Detectives Benjamin Orr and Frank Fargo question Abby as someone has poisoned Ted. Her family, friends and Maine Life peers assume Abby killed the cheating jerk and is capable of murdering others. Though she knows Ben from when she had a crush on him in high school, Abby fears she will be railroaded so she begins her own inquiries that lead to her tripping over Big Ben as she begins to agree Opal is right that you know everything that matters about a man fifteen minutes into the first date..--------------------------- Readers will know everything they need to know about charming neurotic Abby Foote in the first fifteen pages while appreciating her escapades as she tries to prove her innocence. The amusing amateur sleuth displays a wild support cast who suddenly fears this mild mannered reporter has become a lethal poison Ivy with each of them pondering if they did anything to Abby that will make them the next target. The game¿s a Foote with Abby on the case, as the audience obtains a delightful romantic mystery.--------------- Harriet Klausner