When the Smart Bitches and Jane from Dear Author kicked off their campaign "Buy a Contemporary - Save the World" I was in. I bought and simply adored Flat-Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy, their first choice. So of course, when they chose the second book, Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl and announced a Borders discount to buy it, I jumped.
I'm sorry to say that Talk Me Down will be my first "meh" read of the year.
Molly Jennings has moved back to Tumble Creek, CO, where she grew up. And she has a secret. She's a bestselling erotic fiction author. She moves back to find Ben Lawson, her older brother's closest friend growing up is the sheriff in Tumble Creek. The town is a typical small town, full of busy bodies and small town intrigue. Molly has had a crush on Ben since she was a teenager. And once she interrupted him while he was having a romantic liaison with a girl. In fact, this encounter was fodder for her first erotic novel. Of course, no one knows this, since Molly is adamant that no one but her editor will ever know who she is. Practically from the get-go, sparks fly between Molly and Ben, and they have several extremely steamy encounters before enjoying some mind blowing sex. But Ben is a pretty normal guy, and it's making him absolutely nuts that Molly has a secret that she won't tell him. He concocts all kinds of possibilities for what she does for a living. And it becomes quite a bone of contention between them. Add to that the fact that Molly's ex-boyfriend just won't let things go between them, and Molly has been having strange things happening around her house, and she and Ben have some issues.
What I Liked: Ben - Great hero. He's a care-giver, and a sweet man. He's not complicated, and angsty, he's just a good man, who is falling for a woman who is keeping secrets. Also, Dahl has a very deft hand with writing steamy sex. The book's love scenes are pretty much where it stands out. Never once going into a slightly controversial love scene, but always cranking up the steam level. The love scenes are well written and very steamy for a straight contemporary.
What I Didn't Like: Molly. Well. Not really. I liked Molly, I guess I just couldn't understand why it was sucha deep dark secret that she wrote erotica. Now, maybe it's because (1) I'm a romance reader and proud of it and (2) I read erotica, but I just don't get what the big deal was. Sure, some people have preconceived notions about erotica, but any intelligent person can counteract that with a cogent arguement. In fact, once the hero does find out, he basically says, "You write smut." And the heroine's arguement is...wait for it..."It's not smut." SIGH. Seriously? I'm just saying, he's this really wonderful man, and she spends most of her time being all, "We're not dating, we're just 'hooking up'" Maybe it's because I'm single, but I wanted to smack her in the head to wake her up. Here's the awesome man, and she's acting like a ditz and not even representing her profession well once the deep dark secret comes out. It was seriously enough to make me want to toss the book.
Over all, the book gets graded way up for excellent love scenes and a well written hero, and gets graded well down for a self-absorbed silly heroine and even more, for passing on an opportunity to make a cogent arguement FOR reading erotic romance.
Final grade: C-