Culled from the past decade's Pushcart Prize selections, a collection for those who like their tales of love light on sentimentality and with a twist. Some of the best work features strong voices from people of color. In ""Crazy Life"" by Lou Mathews, Chuey's girlfriend gets him off the hook for a murder rap, but Chuey abandons his partner to a prison term and the East LA community makes life miserable for him. Lorna Goodison's ""By Love Possessed,"" set in Jamaica, details the affair of Dottie and Frenchie, who is ""probably better looking than Ricardo Montalban"" but unemployed. Dottle looks like Olive Oyl but can support Frenchie. The tenuous trade of different currencies ends disastrously. Likewise, Joyce Carol Oates's ""The Hair"" tells of one rather ordinary couple's friendship with a pair of socialites. The first couple's efforts to hold on to their status-lending friends threaten to compromise their own marriage. Incest is a frequent theme or subplot in the collection. ""Lawns"" by Mona Simpson portrays an abusive situation and its damaging effects on the daughter in later life. ""Hush Hush"" by Steven Barthelme presents a more off-beat, yet compelling incestuous scenario. If there is a flaw in this collection, it's that it takes itself too seriously. The book could use more entries such as ""Tell Me Everything"" by Leonard Michaels -- perhaps the most well-crafted and playful of the lot, featuring an epic novel embedded within the story. ""Yukon"" by Carol Emshwiller likewise provides a refreshing perspective. A north woods woman leaves her bearish, north woods man and shacks up with an actual bear in a cave. She's happier with the bear, for a while. Many of ""the rest of us"" will be pleased with this thoughtful collection of intelligent romances. However, it fails to include a number of topics: safe sex, cybersex, etc. Also, the focus is overwhelmingly heterosexual.