Anthology-Review: THE GUY NEXT DOOR by Lori Foster, Susan Donovan and Victoria Dahl

Ready, Set, Jett by Lori Foster
A vacation from her no-strings romance with her sexy next-door neighbor. That’s what Natalie Alexander needs to get her head—and heart—together. But her solo trip south turns into a disaster when gorgeous Jett Sutter turns up with another challenge.

Gail’s Gone Wild by Susan Donovan
Single mom Gail Chapman insists on chaperoning her teenage daughter’s spring-break trip to Key West. But she never expects to face temptation—in the hunky form of Jesse Batista, the mysterious man in the cottage next door.

Just One Taste by Victoria Dahl
All-work-and-no-play businessman Eric Donovan won’t be distracted by a “businesswoman” who’s all wrong for him. Beth Cantrell owns a women’s erotica shop! And she has a juicy little secret. Can she tempt him to put pleasure before business for once?

Author: Lori Foster, Susan Donovan, Victoria Dahl
Series: Lori Foster’s story is the prequel to her new series “Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor”. Susan Donovan’s story is standalone and Victoria Dahl’s story is a prequel too, to her “Donovan Brothers Brewery” series.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Year of release: 2011, February 15
Format: Mass Market Paperback, Anthology
Source: Requested from the publisher via NetGalley

READY, SET, JETT by Lori Foster

Neighbors Natalie Alexander and Jett Sutter have been seeing each other for a while but where Natalie only wants the sex, for Jett it’s turned into wanting more than that and taking the next step to make it an official relationship.

Natalie has her reasons for keeping the relationship strictly physical, even though she’s slowly but surely falling for Jett. Her past bad experiences with men and love hold her back from giving into those feelings and develop a more intimate emotional relationship with Jett.

I enjoyed reading this story, especially reading about the contrast in the people surrounding Natalie and Jett. Natalie’s dysfunctional family was the complete opposite of Jett’s loving and caring family. I’d take his nosy and meddling sisters over her cold and distant father and stepmother any day.

The end of this novella felt a bit rushed as after Natalie’s doubts and hesitation her declaration of love and agreement to marry Jett came a bit quick and out of nowhere. Still, it was a nice and entertaining anthology story that made me curious about the first full-length book, in this new series, which features Natalie’s sister Molly.

READY, SET, JETT was a very nice introduction to a new series that promises to be both hot and action-packed. I do hope to see a little more depth in the characterization and story-development but I really can’t hold those things against this story as it was a short one and I had a nice time reading it.

7.3 out of 10 – GOOD READ!

GAIL’S GONE WILD by Susan Donovan

Gail Chapman accompanies her 17 year-old daughter and daughter’s best friend on their Spring Break to Key West and they end up neighbors to a local celebrity, the well-known author J.D Batista (Jesse Dominic Batista). Jesse’s been burned by money-grabbing, fame-seeking women before and is very cautious even though he’s very attracted to the fascinating woman next door.

Gail is an English professor. I loved her character. She’s soft-hearted, protective of her daughter and a little insecure. But she’s also honest, quick-witted, direct and a little geeky. Jesse was sweet, big-hearted and self-assured despite his trust issues with women.

I loved this story! It was fast-paced, well-rounded and I liked how the story was set up and wrapped up. It also was a little steamier and more erotic than the first story and that always works for me.

GAIL’S GONE WILD was an easy and quick read and I was fascinated by the vacation (spring) fling storyline and Susan Donovan’s humorous writing style. I’ve read a book by Donovan before and it made me buy up her entire backlist so I should’ve known I was going to love this story as much as I actually did.

Favorite Quote:
It was the small hoop earring that sent her over the edge. It caught the sunlight and zapped her like a laser. Later she would convince herself that the bright flash had short-circuited her brain.
“I haven’t had sex in two years,” she blurted out, breathing hard. “I’m a wreck. I came here hoping to meet a man of dubious character who could make my knees weak. I’m sorry but it’s the truth. I’m unstable and very, very deprived. You should probably stay away from me.” (Gail to Jesse)

8.5 out of 10 – GREAT READ!

JUST ONE TASTE by Victoria Dahl

For the record: JUST ONE TASTE is the first and foremost reason I pre-ordered the print paperback of this book and requested the galley at NetGalley. I’m addicted to Victoria Dahl’s writing and any book she writes or any anthology she contributes to must be added to my bookshelves. That being said…I do have a bone to pick with Ms Dahl but I’ll get to that later, in the actual review of this story.

Eric Donovan is at a local business convention trying to strike some (distribution) deals for his brewery. Beth Cantrell is at the same convention for her sex shop. A case of mistaken identity (Beth thinks Eric is his ladies’ man brother Jamie), a sinfully delicious torte and instant chemistry leads to an explosive encounter they both want to keep private. Unfortunately they’re small-town people and in small towns nothing stays private for long.

In this novella, the prequel to Victoria Dahl’s new series centered on a family-owned brewery, we’re introduced to the Donovan siblings. The hero of the story is Eric: the eldest Donovan brother and “behind the scenes” business manager at Donovan Brothers Brewery. He’s smart, dependable, cautious and staid. From these adjectives you’d think Eric is a little boring but nothing is further from the truth. You know what they say about the quiet and staid ones *wink* and hey, this is a Victoria Dahl story… boring is NOT in her vocabulary.

Beth may seem the total opposite of Eric as she’s the manager of a boutique erotique (doesn’t that sounds so much more sophisticated than a sex shop? LOL), but she’s a levelheaded, composed and analytical woman who’s not so very different from Eric. Beth is the typical Victoria Dahl heroine I love so much: unapologetic, independent, wicked and not afraid of expressing her sexuality! I loved her. I loved Eric too, despite him not telling Beth he wasn’t Jamie right away.

JUST ONE TASTE is the steamiest, hottest of the three stories in this anthology (want to guess which one is my favorite?). Victoria Dahl doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the heat in her contemporaries. The scene in the winebar was scorching!

As steamy and fun as this read was, I wasn’t completely satisfied when I finished it. At the end I realized this was a prologue to Beth and Eric’s story and not the full story. So there was no resolution/closure to their story and in the end Beth still doesn’t know Eric isn’t Jamie.

After finishing JUST ONE TASTE I immediately went to Victoria Dahl’s website to see which of the Donovan Brothers Brewery books continues to tell Eric and Beth’s story and damn, crap and other expletives I cannot use as this is a civilized blog. It’s the effing last book of the first three coming out this Fall. It’s not that I’ll mind reading Tessa’s and Jamie’s stories but still, Ms Dahl, the strain this puts on my patience is not welcome and waiting for this until November is going to be the death of me! Thank you very much for that!

Favorite Quote:
Eric had a sudden fear that this night would turn him into a pervert who got off on fondling used underwear in his darkened living room.

8.5 out of 10 – GREAT READ!

Overall rating for entire anthology:

3 thoughts on “Anthology-Review: THE GUY NEXT DOOR by Lori Foster, Susan Donovan and Victoria Dahl

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