Title: Something to Talk About by Dakota Cassidy
Plum Orchard Series Book Two
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Sexy is as sexy does. And in Plum Orchard, sugar, it does!
Emmeline Amos is sick of her ex saying she’s boring and prissy. After all, she works for a phone-sex company! (As general manager, but still.) On a rare girls’ night out, fueled by blender drinks and bravado, Em accepts a shocking dare—to handle a call herself. But it’s tipsy Em who gets an earful from an irate single father on the other end of the line. Awkward.
But not as awkward as discovering that same mad dad is Call Girls’ gorgeous new programmer. Jax Hawthorne is still upset that his daughter called the “girlfriend store” on his behalf, but he can’t deny he’d choose a hot-librarian type like Em if he were looking for love. Which he’s not.
Em wants to do more than just talk the talk. So she makes a bawdy bargain with Jax. They’ve both been burned before—this time, they’ll keep it strictly physical. Except as soon as they settle on no strings attached, things start to get tangled….
Something to Talk About is another über entertaining and scrumptiously steamy installment in Dakota Cassidy’s marvelous Plum Orchard series. In this outing, Emmeline “Em” Amos finally learns to stand up for herself while Jax Hawthorne puts the ghosts of his past to rest.
Em is still struggling to find her footing following her (now) ex-husband’s shocking revelations and their subsequent divorce. A single mom with two young boys, she is working as the General Manager of Call Girls, her good friend Dixie’s phone sex business. Trying to shed her good girl image, Em accepts a drunken dare to answer a call, but wouldn’t you know it, the next caller is really a little girl who is trying to find her dad a girlfriend. Jax is not amused to discover his daughter Maizy chatting it up with a phone sex operator and he lets loose with an angry tirade. Unfortunately for Em, Jax is an old college friend of Dixie’s boyfriend, Caine, and their paths are soon going to cross on a daily basis when Jax begins working at Call Girls as a computer programmer.
Em is the town sweetheart which is just a really nice way of saying she is a pushover. She is genuinely caring and thoughtful, but she will go to any lengths to avoid confrontation. However all of this begins to change when Em maintains her unlikely friendships with Dixie and the other women at Call Girls despite everyone’s obvious disapproval. She loves her newfound independence but she is still she overcoming the habits of a lifetime drilled into her by her unhappy mother. When malicious gossip begins continues to adversely affect her sons and her ex-husband issues a surprising threat, Em’s response to all of these challenges shocks everyone, including herself.
Jax is a roguishly charming character with a surprising amount of depth. There is a a lot of heartache in this devoted dad’s past, but it takes most of novel to unlock all of his secrets. Jax wants a real relationship with Em, but since she is insistent that she does not want a serious entanglement, he agrees to her no strings fling proposal. However they do get to know each on a more personal level when he convinces her to help him decorate his house.
Em is really not cut out for a casual affair and she has as much difficulty keeping her emotions out of their relationship as Jax does. There is plenty of heat between them and their sex scenes are highly sensual. In and out of the bedroom, their exchanges are meaningful and laced with humor.
While there is plenty of internal conflict as Em and Jax deal with their respective issues, there is also some external conflict as well. Jax’s brothers Gage and Tag are extremely supportive but he and Tag butt heads occasionally. Chief troublemaker Louella Palmer is in fine form as she dredges up a long-buried secret. Em’s mother is a huge help but that assistance comes with a high price tag when her negativity causes problems for Em.
Something to Talk About is a heartwarming novel with a well-developed cast of multi-faceted characters. The plot is well-written and beautifully executed. Unexpected revelations keep the story fresh while Dakota Cassidy’s tantalizing glimpses of secondary characters Marybell Lyman and Tag Hawthorne leave readers eagerly anticipating the next novel in the Plum Orchard series.