ARC-review: Lead Me On – Victoria Dahl

Back Cover:
Raw, animal magnetism…

…is a big red flag to prim and proper office manager Jane Morgan. After a rough childhood with a mother who liked her men in prison-jumpsuit orange, Jane changed her name, her look and her taste for bad boys. So why is she lusting for William Chase with his tattoo-covered biceps and steel-toed boots? The man blows things up for a living!

She gives herself one explosive, fantasy-filled night with Chase. The next day it’s back to plain Jane and safe men.

But when her beloved brother becomes a murder suspect, it’s Chase who comes to her rescue. And Jane discovers that a man who’s been around the block knows a thing or two about uncovering the truth…

Note from reviewer:
You all know I try to include memorable/funny/arousing quotes in all my reviews and you’ll also note that, except for one, they are missing in this review. That is because with LEAD ME ON Victoria Dahl managed to get me to writing another separate Quote Post while breaking the all time record for most quote markers in one book. I had stopped doing the Quote Posts as they are pretty time consuming but for this record breaking book I will make an exception and do one, once more. As I am seriously lacking time right now I promise to have the LEAD ME ON Quote Post up early in the first week of January 2010.

And now for my review:

Victoria Dahl has a sense of humor that strikes a cord with me. Every. Single. Time. Every. Single. Book! With LEAD ME ON the giggles started at page 10 and set the pace for the most of the book!

Quote:
But even his promising career couldn’t make her forget the fact that he made love like a rabbit. (…) She’d tried to let it go. She really had. A man couldn’t be judged on the depth of his thrusts alone.

Victoria Dahl had me laughing, panting, frowning and even tearing up right there in the end. All these feelings make for a great read and that is exactly what LEAD ME ON was for me. In this final installment of the Tumble Creek Trilogy Victoria Dahl puts it all out there for us to read, judge, challenge and enjoy.

Reading about Jane and how she wanted to separate her past from her present gave me the Superman vibe: Conservative business persona from the present by day, including the glasses and wild, wanton, dirty little sex pot by night, or let’s say with Chase! She has kept her good girl act up for 10 years but the right man, Chase, makes her want to drop her act, even if she has a really hard time actually doing that because she doesn’t want to go back to being the girl she used to be and Chase makes her want to lose her self-imposed inhibitions. There was a moment I was a bit disappointed in Jane and though I understand why she did what she did in that scene and that it was part of her characterization but I still wanted to slap her silly.

Jane fits right in with Victoria Dahl’s other heroines in the Tumble Creek Trilogy. I’ll even go as far and say she’s the boldest one of the three. Molly (heroine book 1) has nothing on Jane. I think people who didn’t like Molly will like Jane even less, but since I loved Molly, I loved Jane too. Especially when she shed her “respectable” restrained persona and allowed the true Jane to surface and she finally embraced her past and stopped trying to hide the person she was and stopped trying to deny where she was from.

There will be readers out there who aren’t going to like Jane because of some of her actions, her views on life and the things she sometimes does or says. I did like her, a lot. Fear, disappointment, and self-preservation drive her to overcome her crappy past. She is driven by ambition to leave a past she is not proud of behind her. Underneath that ambition she is vulnerable, caring and loyal. She may seem superficial, materialistic and snobbish and with her background, her high and mighty attitude seems wrong but Victoria Dahl pulled it off and made me like Jane as much as I liked her other heroines. Jane’s fight with and ultimate surrender to love was beautifully written. Jane’s groveling, which was totally justified and called for made me like her even more than I did before. And just when I thought I’d dodged the bullet on the emotional-make-me-cry stuff, the lovely and talented Ms. Dahl had me tearing up right at the end, with a smile plastered to my face.

As I am writing this review, I discovered that I didn’t write down many notes on Chase. This doesn’t mean Chase wasn’t a very major factor in my liking this book. Chase is the man every woman dreams about, whether you’re a good or a bad girl! What woman can resist that big, tattooed demolition man who gets excited when he blows things up and who knows how to make a woman feel like a woman? I sure couldn’t and Chase has taken his rightful place next to Ben (hero book 1) on my favorite heroes list. Chase is a straight forward as they come. I love how Victoria Dahl switches the traditional roles in her books and puts the men in the position of wanting a decent, respectful relationship, whereas the women are only looking for a tumble in the bed. And without compromising femininity, masculinity and true romance she gives them all want they wanted and more!

In the secondary characters department Victoria Dahl scored once again too. I hated the ex, Greg, really he was the ass of all asses! But I loved Grandma Olive, Chase’s dad, Jane’s step dad Mac and of course Quinn and Lori. Even Molly, whom I really wasn’t expecting to make an appearance, made it to this party, right at the very end and was her usual extravagant self.

As with the other books in this trilogy, there’s a side plot next to the romance, this time it’s the story thread of Jane’s brother being arrested for something he didn’t do. I liked that in all three books of the trilogy the sub plots are all different and tackle different subjects within law enforcement and suspense. A suspense writer Victoria Dahl is not but she does a great job in fusing the plot and the romance together. The balance is perfect for contemporary romance and since that is what she writes, no complaints or critique from me there.

This book had a bit of everything: humor, fun, emotional stuff, hot sexing and some soul searching. I really laughed out loud when the fry selection process came up. (OMG I eat my fries exactly like Jane does!). I got flustered at the scene on the biker bar parking lot and my heart ached for the stuff Jane went through as a child/teenager. I absolutely love the role that parents play in the formation of the characters in Victoria Dahl’s Tumble Creek books. The parental influence, the way they were brought up, all contribute to the three-dimensional feel to the characters.

If you are tired of the fluffy and the PC you need a dose of Victoria Dahl’s Tumble Creek books. When you peel of the layers of humor and the hot sex you’ll find that each and everyone deals with real issues, real people and stuff we sometimes don’t want to deal with but have to. LEAD ME ON was the perfect example of this with serious emotional stuff seeping through next to the Victoria Dahl signature style of sharp, snappy and laugh-out-loud funny humor, proving that her writing is about more than naughty heroines, sex-on-a-stick heroes and salacious sex scenes.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

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6 thoughts on “ARC-review: Lead Me On – Victoria Dahl

  1. You really make it hard to resist this trilogy Pearl, really VERY HARD LOL The only question remain; will I like Molly and Jane *grin* Your review hums with how much you enjoyed this novel and I look forward to your quote post!

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