Sunday, 2 March 2014

Book Review: So Tough to Tame by Victoria Dahl

Tough to tame, but not too tough to love... Charlie Allington is supposed to be on the fast track to the top-a small-town girl who was making it big in her career. Instead, she's reeling from a scandal that's pretty much burned all her bridges. Now, out of options, she needs a place to lick her wounds and figure out her future. True, working at a ski resort in rugged Jackson Hole, Wyoming, isn't her dream job. But if there's one perk to coming back, it's a certain sexy hometown boy who knows how to make a girl feel welcome.

Cowboy Walker Pearce never expected a grown-up Charlie to be temptation in tight jeans. She's smart and successful-way out of league for a man like him. But he's not about to let that, or his secrets, get in the way of their blazing-hot attraction. Yet when passion turns to something more, will the truth-about both of them-send her out of his life for good...or into his arms forever?

So Tough to Tame is the third book in Victoria Dahl’s Jackson series but can be read on its own. This is the second book of the series I have read, I really enjoyed Too Hot to Handle, the second book in the series so my expectations going into this was fairly high. So Tough to Tame is nothing like Too Hot to Handle which is a good thing for the series but I didn’t like it as much.

Charlie has returned home after a scandal forces her from her job and home. She is not exactly happy to be back at Jackson but there are some perks. Walker Pierce is just as hot as when she tutored him back in high school and she is not the shy teenager she was back then so when he shows interest she doesn’t turn him down. But he has secrets of his own that might tear them apart for good.

So Tough to Tame is a good contemporary romance, there are some great moments in this book. Victoria Dahl writes so well and Jackson and the surrounding areas really come alive for me. I have seen Jackson in other books like this, it seems to be a popular destination for authors but I have never read a Jackson better than Dahl’s. She is great at building up locations, characters and relationships layer by layer. There is a lot of depth here and as always a lot of heart.

Dahl has created two characters that are really down on their luck. Charlie is fun and flirty but things have not really been going her way. I quite liked her even though her confidence was a little overwhelming at times. I liked that she was determined to make a fresh start, to not make the same mistakes twice but I hated that she was so isolated. She is toeing the ‘I am an island’ line. It is something that both characters share, Walker is no better in that aspect and prefers solitude to trust. I liked Walker as well I thought he was charming and sweet but his life is one big pity party. He thinks he is not smart enough, not good enough for anything. Instead of fixing things like Charlie does Walker prefers to wallow in self-pity which was not cool. However, he was more likable than Charlie and sweeter to.

I liked the romance, it was sweet and hot. Victoria Dahl writes some of the best sex scenes around and So Tough to Tame was no exception. Despite liking the relationship between Charlie and Walker it is where my issue with this book lies. They are constantly making assumptions about each other instead of talking. She assumes that he doesn’t want anything serious because he was a heart breaking in school so goes out of her way to make it seem like she is only interested in sex. He assumes that a woman like her would not be interested in a man like him in the long term because he is not smart enough and women are always using him. This book is full of them jumping to the wrong conclusion and making things up as they go along. I can barely think of a time where they had a real conversation about something important without manipulating the truth or hiding their true feelings. It drove me mad that these two smart and sensible human beings could not talk to one another like adults.

So Tough to Tame is a good addition to the Jackson series and there were some things I loved about it. I had some issues with it but would still recommend it.

3 stars

Published September 24th 2013 by Harlequin HQN.  A free copy was provided for review.  Images courtesy of Goodreads.

Review by Kate Phillips 

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