Category Archives: Victoria Dahl

Review: Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl

taking heatTitle: Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl
Jackson: Girls’ Night Out Series Book Three
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Passion this hot can’t be faked…

All revved up for bright lights and steamy nights, writer Veronica Chandler chased her dreams to New York City. When she hit a dead end, reality sent her back home to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Saving her pride and her new gig—writing a relationship advice column!—requires some faking. No one can know the truth about her big-city flop or her nonexistent sex life. But the town’s irresistibly rugged librarian is determined to figure her out…and give her hands-on lessons in every wicked thing she wants to know.

Gabe MacKenzie’s heart might be in Wyoming, but secretly his future’s tied up in his family’s Manhattan legacy. Getting down and dirty with Veronica is supposed to give him a few memorable nights—not complicate his plans. But the thing about heat this scorching is there’s just no going back…and it might be too hot for either of them to take.

Review:

Taking the Heat is another scorching hot installment in Victoria Dahl’s fabulous Jackson: Girls’ Night Out series. In this outing, newcomer Gabe MacKenzie is paired up with Veronica Chandler and their romance is a delightful blend of light-hearted banter and fiery sex scenes.

Veronica Chandler’s dream of living in New York was not everything she hoped it would be so she returned to Jackson where she writes an advice column for the local paper. Although her column is well received, she feels like a huge fraud handing out advice when her own life is such a mess. She lives in fear that everyone will see the insecurities and inexperience she keeps carefully hidden. Her insecurities stem from her emotionally distant father and the long term bullying she endured from her ex-stepbrother. But it is her lack of experience with relationships that makes her feel completely inadequate when it comes to dispensing romantic advice.  It is not until Veronica decides to take her own advice that she begins to become more self confident and find the courage to stand up for herself.

Gabe absolutely loves everything about Wyoming, but his time in Jackson is limited due to family obligations. Despite his enjoyment of rock climbing and other outdoor activities, he has never regretted becoming a librarian and he is still very enthusiastic about his career. He is not looking for a romance but he is very intrigued by Veronica and he cannot seem to stay away from her. Gabe is a really great guy but he also likes to take care of people so he has a tendency to keep unpleasant things to himself. Which turns out to be a bit of problem in his burgeoning relationship with Veronica.

The romance between Veronica and Gabe is so much fun to watch unfold. Although Veronica wants to rush headlong into a physical relationship, Gabe insists on taking things slow. Their scenes are full of sexual tension and mercy, it is amazing that Gabe is able to resist Veronica as long as he does!

However, there is much more to Gabe and Veronica’s relationship than witty dialogue, sexy flirting and naughty love scenes. With Gabe, Veronica does not hide who she is and she is completely honest with him about her past which is not exactly all sunshine and roses. Gabe has a lot of excuses for not coming clean about his future plans and while he is a great listener, he deflects the conversation away from anything too personal about himself. It is only a matter of time before everything blows up in his face and when it does, Veronica’s reaction is much worse than he expected.

Taking the Heat is another fast paced and engaging romance by Victoria Dahl. Veronica and Gabe are fabulously developed characters with realistic flaws and issues to overcome. Their sex scenes are deliciously naughty and sizzling hot. It is another non-traditional but completely satisfying love story that old and new fan of the Jackson: Girls’ Night Out series are going to love.

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Filed under Contemporary, Harlequin, HQN Books, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Taking the Heat, Victoria Dahl

Review: Flirting with Disaster by Victoria Dahl

flirting disasterTitle: Flirting with Disaster by Victoria Dahl
Jackson: Girls’ Night Out Series Book Two
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

There’s no hiding from sizzling chemistry…

Artist Isabelle West has good reasons for preferring a solitary life. Tucked away in a cabin in the woods, she has everything she needs…except a red-hot love life. That is, until a hard-bodied US marshal threatens to unearth secrets she’s spent years protecting. But giving in to the sparks flying between them can only lead to one thing…disaster.

Tom Duncan lives by the letter of the law. But no one has tempted him—or confused him—more than free-spirited Isabelle, who arouses his suspicion and his desire. As their connection grows, and their nights get hotter, they find their wild attraction might shake everything he stands for—and expose everything she has to hide.

Bonus Girls’ Night Out novella, Fanning the Flames, included!

The Review:

Flirting with Disaster is another highly entertaining and steamy romance in Victoria Dahl’s fabulous Jackson: Girls’ Night Out series. There is also a hint of suspense in this installment which helps keep this dynamite series fresh and provides yet another layer to the very appealing main characters.

Isabelle West has a quiet but happy life on the outskirts of Jackson Hole, WY. She is good friends with her nearest neighbor, Jill and she shares a close friendship with Lauren Foster and Sophie Heyer, two of the local librarians. She is a bit of a free spirit with a successful and lucrative career as an artist. In her mid thirties, she is sexually confident and unashamed about fulfilling her desires. But Isabelle is hiding a huge secret which makes it impossible for her to have a long term relationship. Which is not really a problem until Deputy US Marshal Tom Duncan arrives on the scene. At first scared to death her past has caught up with her, Isabelle cannot deny her attraction to the handsome lawman, but can she trust that he won’t uncover her secret?

Tom is a very refreshing male lead-he is sexy but he is not the typical alpha male who is in complete control of the heroine and their relationship. Instead, he is just an all around nice man who is easy to embarrass (which is a very endearing trait) and an impossible to resist need to meddle in the lives of the people he cares about. With nearly twenty years of law enforcement behind him, Tom has good instincts and Isabelle’s reaction to him puts him on high alert. He knows she is hiding something and since he cannot resist helping someone in need, Tom keeps digging into her background until he discovers what that something is.

Isabelle and Tom know their budding relationship has an expiration date since he will be leaving once his current case wraps up. At first, both of them are ok with this since neither is really in a position for anything long term. By the time Tom unwittingly brings Isabelle’s past smack dab into her present, their feelings for one another go deeper than desire. But things go horribly wrong in a hurry and Isabelle discovers that her trust issue run deep and she is fearful of another rejection by another important person in her life.

Flirting with Disaster is a wonderful addition to the Jackson: Girls’ Night Out series. The characters are immensely appealing with flaws and imperfections that are realistic. The plot is unique and quite compelling. The characters from earlier books make brief guest appearances and these scenes are absolutely hilarious and beautifully demonstrate the close friendship shared by the women. The sex is, as always, sizzling hot, but it is the camaraderie and friendship that Isabelle and Tom share outside of the bedroom that makes Flirting with Disaster such a delightful read. It is another outstanding romance by Victoria Dahl that I absolutely adored and highly recommend.

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Filed under Contemporary, Flirting with Diaster, Harlequin, HQN Books, Jackson Girls' Night Out Series, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Victoria Dahl

Review: Looking for Trouble by Victoria Dahl

looking troubleTitle: Looking for Trouble by Victoria Dahl
Jackson Girl’s Night Out Series Book
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

A good reason to be bad…

Librarian Sophie Heyer has walked the straight and narrow her entire life to avoid paying for her mother’s mistakes. But in tiny Jackson Hole, Wyoming, juicy gossip just doesn’t go away, so the last thing she needs is for history to repeat itself. Falling hard for the sexiest biker who’s ever rode into town would undo everything she’s worked for. And to add insult to injury, the sexy stranger is none other than Alex Bishop–the son of the man her mother abandoned Sophie’s family for. He may be temptation on wheels, but Sophie’s not looking for trouble!

Maybe Sophie’s buttoned-up facade fools some, but Alex knows a naughty smile when he sees one. Despite their parents’ checkered pasts, he’s willing to take some risks to find out the truth about the town librarian. He figures a little fling might be just the ticket to get his mind off of family drama. But what he finds underneath Sophie’s prim demeanor might change his world in ways he never expected.

The Review:

Looking for Trouble is the first full length novel in Victoria Dahl’s spin-off series, Jackson Girl’s Night Out, and it is FANTASTIC! This über sexy romance between Sophie Heyer and Alex Bishop is a scorching hot love story that has a surprising amount of depth.

Sophie and Alex had very different reactions to the scandal surrounding their parents’ long ago disappearance. Sophie goes to extreme lengths to maintain a squeaky clean image.   But underneath her prim and proper exterior is a sexy and vibrant woman who has put her hopes and dreams on hold while taking care of her father and brother. As one of the town’s librarians, Sophie is very much in the public eye, but she keeps her life as private as she can. She occasionally indulges in passionate flings with the local tourists, but Sophie carefully avoids any entanglements with the local men.

Alex could not leave town fast enough and for the past sixteen years, he has successfully avoided returning to visit. But when his brother, Shane (from Too Hot to Handle), asks him to come home for their father’s memorial service, Alex reluctantly agrees.   Alex is dismayed by his mother’s continued erratic behavior and while he keeps her at arms’ length, he and Shane work hard to mend the rift between them.

There is an instant attraction between Sophie and Alex and although Sophie knows she should stay far away from him, she cannot resist the tattooed biker. He brings out her inner bad girl which results in blistering hot sex scenes between them. However their casual relationship soon gives way to deeper emotions, but with Sophie’s strong commitment to her family and Alex’s vagabond lifestyle, is there any chance for a future for them?

Looking for Trouble is a fast-paced and engaging novel with an endearing cast of characters. The storyline has serious overtones but it is mostly a light-hearted, drama free read. Victoria Dahl has once again created a believable romance between two flawed but realistic characters whose relationship not only helps them heal the wounds from the past but ultimately makes them better people. This heartwarming, sweet, sexy love story is an outstanding addition to the delightful Jackson Girl’s Night Out series that old and new fans are sure to enjoy.

You may read my reviews of the other novels in the series HERE.

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Filed under Contemporary, Harlequin, HarlequinHQN, Looking for Trouble, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Victoria Dahl

Review: Fanning the Flames by Victoria Dahl

fanning flamesTitle: Fanning the Flames by Victoria Dahl
Jackson Girl’s Night Out Series Book .5
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: Novella
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Burning for you

Some men are off-limits. Close friends of your ex-husband, for instance. Or firefighters who work in the same building as you. Yet despite her best judgment, librarian Lauren Foster can’t help noticing fire captain Jake Davis whenever he jogs by…shirtless. They’ve always been friends, but all it takes is one not-so-chance meeting at a local bar and one not-quite-innocent walk home to ignite a fierce, uncontrollable desire between them.

Widower Jake Davis has tried to ignore the spark he feels whenever Lauren’s around, but once he sees her curves in a little black dress, there’s no turning back. No matter how often she says she’s all wrong for him, the sexy, outspoken divorcée is driving him wild in the best possible way. Maybe she’s just blowing off steam. Or maybe he can convince her to fan these flames into something deeper, hotter and truer than they ever expected….

The Review:

Love, love, LOVE Victoria Dahl’s Fanning the Flames! This fast-paced and engaging novella is witty, flirty and oh, my goodness smokin’ hot! It is the perfect introduction to her upcoming Jackson Girl’s Night Out series and I thoroughly enjoyed this captivating story.

Lauren Foster and Jake Davis are wonderful characters and I love the fact that they are in their early to mid-forties and comfortable with themselves and their sexuality. Lauren is a divorced empty-nester whose libido is running at full throttle and she is seriously crushing on Jake. Jake also has a thing for Lauren but their long history together and the close proximity of their jobs makes both of them hesitant to act on their desires.

I absolutely adored Lauren and Jake and I could certainly relate to their trepidation about becoming involved with one another. They went to one another’s weddings and although they were not close friends, their paths have crossed fairly frequently over the years. Jake is friends with Lauren’s ex and Lauren feels like she can never measure up to Jake’s deceased wife. However when the two meet up while Lauren’s enjoying a girl’s night out, their mutual desire spirals out of control and the sexy goodness between them is SCORCHING hot.

Lauren and Jake are superbly developed characters and their shared past makes their new relationship believable. Lauren is gutsy, outspoken and incredibly honest about her insecurities and doubts. Jake is all kinds of sexy wonderful, but the fact that he makes the first move to sort out their relationship after they wind up in an embarrassing (but hilarious) situation just adds to his appeal.

Fanning the Flames is an angst-free, humorous and sexy romance that I highly recommend to old and new fans of Victoria Dahl. It is a very enticing introduction to the upcoming Jackson Girl’s Night Out series and I cannot wait to read Looking for Trouble which releases at the end of the month.

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Filed under Contemporary, Fanning the Flames, Harlequin, HarlequinHQN, Jackson Girls' Night Out Series, Rated B+, Romance, Victoria Dahl

Review: So Tough to Tame by Victoria Dahl

Title: So Tough to Tame by Victoria Dahl
Jackson Series Book Three
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Harlequin HQN
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: C+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Tough to tame, but not too tough to love…

Charlie Allington is supposed to be on the fast track to the top—a small-town girl who was making it big in her career. Instead, she’s reeling from a scandal that’s pretty much burned all her bridges. Now, out of options, she needs a place to lick her wounds and figure out her future. True, working at a ski resort in rugged Jackson Hole, Wyoming, isn’t her dream job. But if there’s one perk to coming back, it’s a certain sexy hometown boy who knows how to make a girl feel welcome.

Cowboy Walker Pearce never expected a grown-up Charlie to be temptation in tight jeans. She’s smart and successful—way out of league for a man like him. But he’s not about to let that, or his secrets, get in the way of their blazing-hot attraction. Yet when passion turns to something more, will the truth—about both of them—send her out of his life for good…or into his arms forever?

The Review:

So Tough to Tame is the fast-paced and extra steamy third installment of Victoria Dahl’s series set in Jackson, WY. Although characters from previous novels are mentioned and there are guest appearances by others, it can be read as a standalone story.

Charlotte “Charlie” Allington’s return to Jackson Hole is precipitated by a cataclysmic scandal involving her previous job. Her brother and an old friend have helped her secure a position in a yet to be opened resort and while she is working hard, Charlie is planning to move on when her professional reputation has been repaired. Needing a little distance from her boss’s intense scrutiny, Charlie moves in to the Stud Farm and discovers that Walker Pearce, her long ago crush, is her next door neighbor. The sparks are soon flying between them but misunderstandings and poor communication soon come between them.

Charlie and Walker are fun, flirty and likable but they come across as superficial for much of the story. Each of them has issues stemming from their childhoods that influence their actions in the present but neither of them is willing to discuss their past or current problems. This leaves the reader with the impression that there is not much depth or substance to their characters. By the time the truth begins to emerge, it is fairly late in the story and the resolution feels rather rushed.

The storyline with Charlie’s career is rather confusing because the back story of how she ended up in Jackson is slow to be revealed. The secondary storyline with her friend/boss Dawn is not only puzzling but rather irritating since there does not seem to be any context for Dawn’s actions. Charlie was slow to catch on to how she was being manipulated but she was quick to act when she figured out what was going on behind the scenes and I like how this part of the storyline played out.

Some of the best scenes in So Tough to Tame involve Rayleen Kisler, the feisty owner of the Stud Farm. Charlie proves to be a pretty good match for the outrageous octogenarian and I laughed out loud at their witty banter. It was great to finally see Rayleen’s relationship with Easy make progress.

Despite a few issues, So Tough to Tame is an easy to read and entertaining romance. The characters are engaging and likable and the sex scenes between Charlie and Walker are scorching hot. An enjoyable addition to Victoria Dahl’s Jackson series that fans of contemporary romances are sure to enjoy.

Read my reviews of the other novels in the Jackson series HERE.

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Filed under Contemporary, Harlequin, HarlequinHQN, Jackson Series, Rated C+, Review, Romance, So Tough to Tame, Victoria Dahl

Review: Too Hot to Handle by Victoria Dahl

Title: Too Hot to Handle by Victoria Dahl
Jackson Series Book Two
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Harlequin HQN
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 320
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

This good girl’s going bad….

Merry Kade has always been the good girl. The best friend. The one who patiently waits for the guy to notice her. Well, no more. Merry has just scored her dream job, and it’s time for her life to change. As the new curator of a museum in Wyoming, she’ll supervise a lot of restoration work. Luckily she’s found the perfect contractor for the job.

Shane Harcourt can’t believe that someone wants to turn a beat-up ghost town into a museum attraction. After all, the last thing he needs is the site of his dream ranch turning into a tourist trap. He’ll work on the project, if only to hasten its failure…until the beautiful, quirky woman in charge starts to change his mind.

For the first time ever, Merry has a gorgeous stud hot on her heels. But can she trust this strong, silent man, even if he is a force of nature in bed? When Shane’s ulterior motives come out, he’ll need to prove to Merry that a love like theirs may be too hot to handle, but it’s impossible to resist.

The Review:

Victoria Dahl’s second installment in her Jackson Hole, WY series, Too Hot to Handle is a light, easy to read romance that fans of contemporary westerns romances are sure to enjoy.

Merry Kade has finally found her niche in her new job and she is bubbling over with enthusiasm with the renovation of the Providence ghost town. Hoping to jumpstart the slow moving project, Merry takes the initiative and hires local carpenter Shane Harcourt to begin restoring the dilapidated buildings. Unbeknownst to Merry, Shane is the reason the project has stalled and his reasons for accepting the job are not exactly as altruistic as she thinks.

Merry is an absolutely delightful breath of fresh air and I adored her. She is refreshingly down to earth with realistic insecurities and self-doubts. Merry’s childhood was not easy, but she has an optimistic and sunny outlook on life. She deliberately looks for the good in people and although she is not naive, she is trusting. Merry is not overtly sexy or drop dead gorgeous. Instead she is every guy’s best gal pal; the one they discuss their woman problems with. So when Shane begins to treat her like she is a sexy, desirable woman, Merry is flustered and her self-esteem issues cause her to doubt his intentions. But when she eventually accepts that his attention is genuine, she eagerly enters into a no strings attached passionate fling.

Shane is a little more difficult to like since he is deceiving Merry. He has abandonment issues that stem from his childhood and he has serious commitment issues. In his favor, he is upfront with Merry that he is not looking for a permanent relationship. Of the two characters, Shane undergoes the most growth. Part of his change in attitude results from Merry’s positive attitude. New information about past events also comes to light and he finds closure for a childhood loss.

Some of the characters from the first novel in the series, Close Enough to Touch, play key roles in Too Hot to Handle. As Merry’s closest friend, Grace Barrett is fiercely protective of her and she is always looking out for her. While Grace is distrustful of Shane, but she is respectful of Merry’s decision to become involved with him. Grace always has Merry’s happiness and best interests at heart.

Too Hot to Handle is an entertaining novel and an excellent addition to the Jackson Hole, WY series. The romance between Merry and Shane is sweet and their sex scenes are deliciously steamy. Victoria Dahl’s writing style is humorous and engaging and her characters are well-developed and true to life. An all around lovely story that I highly recommend.

Read my review of Close Enough to Touch HERE.

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Filed under Contemporary, Harlequin, HarlequinHQN, Jackson Series, Rated B, Review, Romance, Too Hot to Handle, Victoria Dahl