Review: Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl

24338317 Summary: 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: This is the latest in Victoria Dahl’s Jackson: Girls’ Night Out series. If you like contemporary, humorous romances and you haven’t read these you really, really should. What I enjoy about Dahl’s books is that they’re actually both funny and relatable. When I’m reading them I feel as if I could be listening to a friend telling me some of these stories, obviously with some embellishments, but still. She also doesn’t leave out any saucier details, which I appreciate, even in my romantic comedies.

Veronica Chandler is a great heroine, she was flawed and real without seeming helpless – which is a personal pet peeve of mine. She’s terrified when her boss pretty much forces her to do a live version of her Ask Veronica advice column at a local bar. She feels like a complete fake in general in her life in Jackson and in her career so to do this in person on stage makes her completely overwhelmed. I enjoyed seeing this character so off kilter so early in the book, we get to see why she feels so overwhelmed and why she feels like such a fake. I think generally many people feel that way in their careers so I know I could relate in some small way to that and definitely to the stage fright as well. I found Veronica’s flaws endearing.

The hero, Gabe MacKenzie, is a male librarian. Male librarian, with a beard. In my head he also had sexy glasses but I can’t actually remember if that’s in the book or not so don’t take that as gospel. Gabe is in Jackson for a limited time, not that anyone knows that, and that’s the way he wants it. He wants to enjoy his life in Jackson before he has to return to his real life that he doesn’t want. His initial impression of Veronica is exactly the opposite of what he is looking for – too polished and put together. I really loved to see Gabe’s impression of Veronica – on the stage and off and as he got to know her. Dahl did a great job of capturing how what you see is definitely not always what you get.

As things go on their relationship deepens in a variety of ways and of course there are outside factors that contribute issues to the relationship. I liked the secondary characters and how previous characters from the prior books came back to make appearances in this one as well. There are a few other plots that come into play that are important too and Dahl handles the weaving of those into the main issue of the relationship very well.

Overall this was a great book, Victoria Dahl is definitely one of my favorite contemporary romance authors! Oh and this is to be released on this upcoming Tuesday, 7/28.

ARC provided by Netgalley via the publisher in return for an honest review.

4 Stars

~Melinda

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