The Girl’s Guide to Man(Hunting) by Jessica Clare
May 1, 2012
Erotic Contemporary Romance
Reviewed by Mandi
Miranda Hill and Dane Croft got hot and heavy at the end of high school in a closet at a party. But to Miranda’s devastation, pictures of what they did inside the closet ended up on the Internet, and Dane left the next day to pursue a NHL hockey career without a word to Miranda. Left in the small town of Bluebonnet, Texas, by herself, Miranda became known by a derogatory nickname because of what ended up on the Internet. Her mother suffered a nervous breakdown because of the shame. Dane went on to play hockey, but last Miranda heard, he had slept with the coach’s wife and no longer was in the league.
After nine long years, and still known by the terrible nickname, Miranda is ready to leave her job as a librarian and get out of town. She has a corporate job waiting for her in Houston. But a few days before she is set to leave, she spots Dane in Bluebonnet, and all those humiliating and angry feelings come right back to the surface.
Dane is done with hockey, the spotlight and women. After leaving the NHL, Dane met up with his buddies Colt and Grant and lived off the grid in Alaska for a year. With no electricity and catching his own food every day, Dane found peace and also something he really enjoyed. So Dane and his two friends bought a big ranch in Bluebonnet and created a survival-training school, where they will teach their customers to live in the wilderness for a week, not only building survival skills but also learning team-building skills.
Miranda gets wind of this and sets a revenge plot in motion. She signs up for the first class and plans on wooing Dane, sleeping with him, and then leaving him high and dry so he knows what pain she went through all those years ago.
The Girl’s Guide to (Man) Hunting is the first book in this new erotic series by Jessica Clare (aka Jill Myles). I really enjoyed this author’s voice in her previous books, and when I heard this series was erotic, I jumped.
First, let’s talk about sex. There is a lot in this book, and it is well done. It’s dirty — as in dirty talking and dirty deeds — but also fun because most of it takes place outside during the week-long survival school. Dane is known for being a womanizer and promises his friends he will not sleep with Miranda (who shows up as a total surprise to him at the beginning of the week). But he can’t help himself around her, and the first night they end up sneaking off into the dark woods. Miranda’s first thought is to seduce and use him. Get her revenge. As the evil side of her thinks:
She felt a bit dismayed at the sight of him. Why couldn’t he have been more torn-up looking? Why couldn’t his face be covered with hockey injuries, his nose broken beyond all hope, and his cheekbones crushed like a boxer’s? Why did he have to have those scars that made him look so damn … delicious?
All the better to seduce him, Evil Miranda whispered in her ear.
Hm. Evil Miranda definitely had a point.
And they go on to have much sexy times. While this is supposed to be revenge sex, I had a hard time actually believing Miranda was in it for revenge. Obviously you want them to eventually fall in love — but I never felt as though Miranda was using Dane for her own evil purposes. It is stressed a lot in the beginning of the book just how hurt and humiliated she is. To the point where her mother had a nervous breakdown, and Miranda is still traumatized, nine years later, by those pictures on the Internet. But she just falls right into Dane’s bed so easily. That bothered me. I wanted to see the hurt side of her more. At one point halfway through the week, Miranda thinks:
Was Dane just using her? She’d thought she’d seen real interest in his eyes, but was she being blind? Was this just round two of Dane’s twisted games, nine years after he’d ruined her life the first time?
The thought made her sick to her stomach, because she couldn’t tell what Dane was up to.
But when they are together, whether having sex or just doing their survival thing, this never comes across. I felt genuine interest on both their parts. So, I don’t think the revenge plot comes through all that clearly.
Now, at the end of the book Dane does something that made me smile so much. I won’t say what it is, but once everything is explained, and both Dane and Miranda know the truth about everything, Dane really comes through as a gentleman. I really adored it.
I like this book: It is sexy and funny and sets up Colt and Grant well for their books (which I can’t wait for). The revenge plot wasn’t my favorite, but I still enjoyed Dane and Miranda together.
Note: This review first appeared at USA Today’s Happy Ever After