ARC-Review: GOOD GIRLS DON’T by Victoria Dahl

Too much of a good thing…

With her long ponytail and sparkling green eyes, Tessa Donovan looks more like the girl next door than a businesswoman—or a heartbreaker. Which may explain why Detective Luke Asher barely notices her when he arrives to investigate a break–in at her family’s brewery. He’s got his own problems—starting with the fact that his partner, Simone, is pregnant and everyone thinks he’s the father.

Tessa has her hands full, too. Her brother’s playboy ways may be threatening the business, and the tension could tear her tight–knit family apart. In fact, the only thing that could unite the Donovan boys is seeing a man come after their “baby” sister. Especially a man like Luke Asher. But Tessa sees past the rumors to the man beneath. He’s not who people think he is—and neither is she.

Author: Victoria Dahl
Series: Donovan Brothers Brewery, book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: HQN Books
Year of release: 2011, August 30
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Requested a digital review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

First line:
Tessa Donovan stared across the parking lot of Donovan Brothers Brewery, mesmerized by the flashes and swirls of blue and red across the gray brick of the building.

Memorable Scenes:
– the scene after the dinner date at Flagstaff House > against the wall ALWAYS scores with me ;)
– the “art of fellatio”-class at The White Orchid > OMG! I hope Beth & Eric’s book follow the same timeline as I’d love to read the rest of that scene from Beth’s POV!

Tessa Donovan is the mediator/peacekeeper between her two brothers, one staid and responsible and the other carefree and charming. Tess is bubbly (at first a bit too bubbly for my taste) but underneath the vivaciousness there’s fear and vulnerability. She’s afraid of change and willing to do anything to keep the peace. She is almost frantically holding on to her brothers for fear she’ll lose them like she did her parents, for fear they will leave her and she’ll be all alone…

I’m still on the fence about Tessa. I couldn’t get a grip on her. One moment she’d be a responsible and mature woman of the world and the next she’d be like an overexcited 16yo. I did like how her character developed throughout the book because in the end she did lean more towards the mature woman than to the 16yo.

Luke Asher is a hot cop. He’s been through a lot and he’s naturally inclined to protect and take care of others. I liked Luke but at the end of the book I still didn’t haven the feeling I really knew him.

Though it had a slow start, the romance part picked up pretty fast and I loved especially the developments after all misgivings and roadblocks thrown by Tessa’s brothers are negated. If I remember correctly it was the kickball game scene that was the turning point for me in the book. Because that was the scene where the romance took over the lead from all the other stuff going on.

The Donovan siblings are a tight but complicated bunch. They love each other unconditionally and except for some jerky and eyebrow raising reactions from protective brothers Eric and Jamie towards Tessa I liked the family dynamics a lot. I also liked secondary characters Wallace Hood, the Donovan’s brew master and Simone Parker (Luke’s partner)

There was a lot going on in GOOD GIRLS DON’T. As I’ve mentioned before, at first it distracted me from the romance. I felt like there was a lot going on and the focus on the romance was lost in all that. There’s a robbery to solve, there’s a mysterious pregnancy causing havoc and speculation, there are business deals to be made, and then there was the romance between Tessa and Luke. The other stuff took up a lot of pages and the romance was snowed under. The outcome of the robbery and father of the baby plots were clear to me pretty early bit I didn’t mind as having them figured out left me room to focus on Tessa and Luke again.

The writing is as always right up my alley. There is no doubt I love Victoria Dahl’s writing. It’s clean, crisp and funny, with the right amount and mix of humor and emotion. And come on, any author who references to Twitter, Punk’d and has her heroine using the words ‘Oh balls’ can’t go wrong with me. Yet, like with another recently reviewed book I found myself reading towards the love scenes and/or scenes where Tessa and Luke would be together on the page.

GOOD GIRLS DON’T was a good read. I loved the romance but there were too many side stories going on that detracted from that excellent romance and these side plots were not intriguing enough to lift the book to a higher level for me. It displayed Victoria Dahl’s knack for romance and humor and despite not finding it her best contemporary romance work to-date I did enjoy reading it and I’m looking forward to the other two books in the series.

Favorite Quotes:
Luke had known Jamie for ten years, and his demeanor had always registered on a scale that started with sleepy and topped out at laid-back.

“I’m not sweet.”
Boys. Tessa leaned towards him and lowered her voice to a whisper. “It’s okay, Luke. Despite what you’ve heard, men can be sweet and hot at the same time.”

No wonder Jamie didn’t want her dating Luke. They’d gone to college together, and her brother had likely seen girls drop their panties at the first hint of Luke’s smile.

Now, finally, his kisses grew rough. Gorgeously rough. His mouth tasted of heat and wine, and the scent of his skin clung so tightly to him that she had to press closer and closer to get enough of it.

When she turned to him, Luke felt an ache wind through his heart. It touched every chamber like a cruel hand. His chest felt too small.

He’d have to prove restraint and stamina later. Because right now her tongue was rubbing and her mouth was sucking and…this was so wrong. This was Tessa. Yet the feeling was netter than any fantasy he could’ve spun about her.

This was a dangerous situation. There couldn’t be anything more dangerous than a combination of fascinating personality and smoking-hot sex.

“I’ll take care of your heart, Luke. I swear I will.”

3 thoughts on “ARC-Review: GOOD GIRLS DON’T by Victoria Dahl

  1. I've heard that things were a bit stressful at first but then got better as you read on. I'm reading it this week so I hope I make it through the stressful first part! lolGreat review, Pearl.

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