Title: Talking After Midnight by Dakota Cassidy
Plum Orchard Series Book Three
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 448 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Shields up, sugar—things in Plum Orchard are about to get real.
Marybell Lyman is notorious for two things:
Her look. The wicked hairstyle, multiple piercings and practiced sneer that say: “Stay back—I bite.”
Her voice. The syrupy lilt that’s her bread and butter at Call Girls, the prim little town’s flourishing phone-sex company.
Hunky handyman Taggart Hawthorn is mesmerized by the contradiction: such sweet tones inside such a spiky shell! He wants to know more about mysterious Marybell, to hear more of her sexy talk—all for himself.
But Tag’s attentions, delicious as they are, have Marybell panicked. She’s been hiding a long time. She’s finally got a home, a job and friends she adores. She won’t have it all snatched away by another stupid mistake—like falling in love. So when Marybell’s past comes calling, she and the Call Girls will prove no one handles scandals like a Southern girl!
Talking After Midnight, the third installment in Dakota Cassidy’s highly addictive Plum Orchard series, is a little more serious than the previous novels. Tantalizing glimpses of Marybell Lyman and Taggart “Tag” Hawthorne have revealed frustratingly little information about either characters’ pasts but learning their secrets is well worth the wait.
Marybell is not the average sweet Southern woman. Sporting a colorful mohawk, multiple piercings and a tough girl attitude, this phone sex operator definitely stands out in the conservative small town of Plum Orchard. Marybell’s protective armor is carefully crafted to keep people at a distance, but underneath all the makeup and metal is a kind, caring and loyal woman whose past is full of hardship and heartache. Although she tries to keep her distance from Tag, he manages to slip past her defenses, but Marybell is afraid the secrets she is keeping will destroy their fragile relationship.
Tag has come a long way from the brooding, angry man we first met in the previous book. By all appearances, he has finally made peace with his demons and he is moving forward with his life. He is very intrigued by Marybell and he good-naturedly pursues her despite her flimsy attempts to rebuff his advances. Although Marybell is less than forthcoming about her own history, Tag is an open book when it comes to his disastrous past. Overall, their relationship is light-hearted, flirtatious and very steamy.
There are a lot of surprises in Marybell’s past and she has excellent reasons for keeping quiet. But with the nasty and interfering Louella Parsons always digging for dirt, it is just a matter of time before everything comes crashing down around her. Em, Dixie and LaDawn are firmly in her corner but Tag is quick to believe the worst of her.
While I really liked the overall story, Marybell’s part of the storyline becomes a little repetitive. It is easy to predict both Louella’s role in Marybell’s downfall and Tag’s reaction to the subsequent revelations. While it is frustrating that Louella really never suffers any consequences for her actions, the characters always take the high road and resist sinking down to her level. Revenge might be sweet but Marybell is too classy and compassionate to destroy anyone else’s reputation.
Talking After Midnight is a wonderful conclusion to Dakota Cassidy’s delightfully heartwarming and sometimes zany Plum Orchard series. I’ll miss the Call Girls but I have loved watching their characters grow, overcome their personal issues and find their happily ever afters. While each of the novels can stand on their own, I highly recommend the entire series.
Read my reviews of the previous novels in the series HERE.