Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: ”I don’t think pancakes can make you scream like I do.“
“You’ve never seen me eat a pancake.”
Dakota Cassidy once again leads us through the pitfalls of divorce with plenty of charm, laughter, and snark as we get to know Melina Cherkasov, the third trophy wife in her hilarious Ex-Trophy Wives series. A character driven series, it’s the fast pacing and conversational style writing that enhances the appeal of this story. Ms. Cassidy dances up a potent samba of humor and seriousness with zany one liners, reality checks, and a cast of eccentric characters tossed in that will have you laughing away tears. What I truly enjoy about this series is that she deals realistically with a serious subject. Divorce is hard enough but it’s even harder when your tossed aside for someone younger and are left to pick up the pieces of your life. Ms. Cassidy doesn’t sugar coat the ups and downs of divorce for the sake of an HEA in here. It’s a messy, heartbreaking, unfair, and all that and more is presented clearly and without apology.
Melina was a ballroom dancing champion who married a much older dancing idol and retired from the spotlight to teach underprivileged kids to dance. After twenty years of marriage, she learns of her husband’s affair when she is accosted by tabloid reporters trying to enter her dance studio. Left with nothing but the clothes on her back and her little dog Weezer, Melinda goes into hiding at her father’s house. Wallowing in chocolate frosting is all fine and dandy, but soon Melinda is soon pulled dragging and screaming out her of her death by sugar spiral by Maxine Barker, ex trophy wife #1 and owner of the The Trophy Jobs Employment Agency. Armed with Maxine’s motivational pamphlets and a job interview, Melinda becomes the new dance instructor at Westmeyer, a private all boys school for geniuses. While boys will be boys in all things, Melinda sees something mighty interesting at the end of the tunnel in the form of handy man extraordinaire-Drew McPhee.
Drew McPhee, a divorcee himself, does handyman jobs around Westmeyer to help pay for his son’s tuition. A gorgeous self proclaimed Neanderthal, he equals dancing with sissies and resents his hard earned money being used to fund it. When he first meets Melinda at the retirement village, he has some preconceived notions about her previous lifestyle and personality. It’s only after he gets to know her he realizes what an assuming jerk he has been. He himself has some underlying issues to deal with from his own divorce and I like how Ms. Cassidy chooses to address both characters problems and help them find their way towards forgiveness and acceptance.
The chemistry between Drew and Melinda is HOT HOT HOT and is made hotter by their clever wicked dialogue. Lust and snark makes for some wild and steamy times as these two bicker and flirt their way into bed and each others hearts. Though their relationship starts out rocky (Drew and his assuming…) they progress at a reasonable pace which is helped out by Melinda’s attitude. She isn’t as emotionally broken as the other heroines from previous books. This is explained later in the book but it was nice that the usual over the top misconceptions weren’t made a main focus in this installment. I enjoyed watching Drew and Melinda get to know one another and one scene, Melinda’s blind date, sets the tone of their relationship and had me howling.
“One word from your mouth, McPhee, and I swear, this compact and you are going to mate for life. Got it?”
“Far be it from me to remind you how cold the waters of the dating pool can be.”
Mel clenched her teeth, rubbing her head. “Shut up.”
“Should have gone on a date with me. I would have at least left my mother at home.”
The secondary characters are all well fleshed out as they add delightful snarkiness and humor to the story. I love that we see Maxine, Frankie, and Jasmine in here; each in a better place and offering friendship and unwanted advice to Melinda in her time of need. I found it hilarious that she, like Frankie, finds Maxine’s little idioms to be just as nauseating but effective. Her entries into the divorce journal are both enlightening and snort worthy.
Dear Divorce Journal,
Stupid. That’s what this divorce journal is. How do you like that, Maxie Barker. Oh and suck this, Princess.
Melinda’s dad Jake and Drew’s insane Aunt Myriam kept me in stitches while Drew’s son Nate was a breath of fresh air through out the story. Melinda doesn’t come unprepared herself though in the “peeps who got her back” department. She is lucky that she has two incredible BFFs all her own, Neil and Jackie.
The main conflict is resolved in a unique fashion as we learn that there are no real villains in this story. Fear is hard battle to fight and when the whole truth comes about both Melinda’s and Drew’s exes, they learn that they were all victims. Though I felt the resolution came a little too easy, I enjoyed the different path Ms. Cassidy took with this storyline.
Waltz With Me is another delightful installment in this series and I recommend it to everyone who loves an engaging romantic contemporary brimming with laughter, love, and a healthy dose of lust. I look forward to the fourth of this series, title to be announced.
Overall Rating: B+