Dickey--who will inevitably be called ""the male Terry McMillan""--shows a willingness to take on deep-rooted stereotypes, while occasionally lapsing into some of his own. His third novel (Friends and Lovers, 1997, etc.) offers two narrators who take turns telling their stories: the red-haired, white-skinned painter Kimberly Chavers, and the classic buppie Jordan Greene. Jordan's not even interested in dating a white woman, but finds himself drawn to Kimberly's fiery personality and independent spirit. Events test the couple royally: Jordan loses his job; his best friend Solomon and Solomon's fiancÆ’e, Zoe, break up for the worst possible reason; and Kimberly's ex-husband appears unexpectedly. Her mysterious past is revealed, including the fact that her ex is black and her own father, from whom she's estranged, is half black. Peripheral characters are drawn carelessly: Solomon is a textbook bad-guy, and Kimberly's best friend, of Jamaican descent, always speaks in exaggerated Bob Marley fashion. The most chilling aspect of this romantic relationship? Virtually without exception, Jordan's friends, relatives, and acquaintances are unwilling to accept Kimberly--and their hostility is convincing. Still, even with the story's overly dramatic end, the appealing dynamic between Jordan and Kimberly wins out against the odds.