Reviewed by Mandi
When I recently read the novella that kicks off this new series, I really hoped I’d enjoy the first full length book as much as I enjoyed the previous story. And hooray, I did! This book has a sexy hero, a sexy heroine and just the right amount of conflict.
Twenty-Five years ago, Sophie’s mother and Alex’s dad ran away together, only to disappear and never be heard from again. Later it was discovered they died in an accident, but the betrayal and the abandonment on both sides was very hard to deal with. In present day, Sophie has stuck around her hometown, helping her aging father take care of the business side of his ranch. A librarian, she often drives to her dad’s house to help him with his books, as her lazy brother sleeps the day away. The scandal of her mother running away has always clouded Sophie and her family, but she does her best to try to live her own life and keep a good reputation. All of this changes though when Alex roars into town on his motorcycle.
Alex (shaved head, tons of tattoos, motorcylce…come to mama) left his broken family the first chance he got. His mother has never gotten over his father leaving and even in present day still holds on to those memories. Alex put himself through college becoming a groundwater engineer, making sure oil companies are complying with regulations. He travels all over the world for his job, and likes it that way. He hasn’t seen his mother or brother for a very long time. But when his mother decides to have a funeral service for his father (yes 25 years after he left) his brother convinces him to come back home for a few days to attend. He grudgingly comes back. And it’s then when he meets Sophie. At first he doesn’t know Sophie is the daughter of the woman who ran off with his father. But his mother, who viciously hates Sophie soon clues him in. Cue the drama. But Alex doesn’t scare off easily, and with the sexy Sophie around, it’s hard for him to pack up and get back to his life.
You know what I liked best about this book? How many people judge Sophie for the mistakes of her mother (especially Alex’s mom) yet, Alex doesn’t. Yay Alex! He is grumpy, and mad because he is forced to spend time with his family, but when he learns that Sophie’s mom is the one that ran away with his dad, he doesn’t blame her. Even with his ill mother ranting and raving every second she can. This has a big impact on Sophie. She consciously tries to have a clean reputation, always attempting to be modest and polite. But her real personality is bigger and more adventuresome. Alex falls for Sophie because she has so much to offer than what people see. She is funny, confident, flirty…she has big dreams but the weight of her aging father and useless brother on her hands. She is loyal to her family and a hard worker. And damn sexy. I really enjoyed her.
Alex – oh Alex. Big. Tattooed. Harder edge. The first time he takes Sophie on his motorcycle
Alex kept his eyes straight on the road, but all this concentration was focused on one small place. He took a deep breath and let it out, then slowly spread his fingers out on her thigh, edging an inch under the hem of her skirt.
She didn’t tense. She didn’t stiffen against him or clear her throat or nudge him with her clasped hands.
Alex slowed around another curve, then, as he straightened the bike out again, he slipped his hand a centimeter higher on her thigh. Then another.
His fingertips tingled from the intensity, the anticipation. And finally, he felt it. The smooth seam at the top of the stocking, The slightest rise of the edge. Then..bare skin. Bare hot skin. She was wearing stockings. And a garter belt. Holy shit. Something feral inside him roused itself.
Lauren from the previous novella, Fanning the Flames made me laugh the hardest in this book when she drops by Sophie’s house with some cinnamon rolls, unaware that Alex is there (or even who Alex is):
Alex had turned off the shower.
Lauren froze. Her eyes flew toward the far wall. The shower door squeaked.
“Anyway!” Sophie sang, as if that would distract her friend. Strangely, her ploy didn’t work.
Lauren’s gaze began to stutter over different parts of the room. The man’s T-shirt crumpled on the couch? Check. The empty beer bottles next to the sink? Check. The bedroom door opening to reveal a big, naked, tattooed beast of a man wearing nothing but a white towel around his waist? Oh, fuck yes, that was probably a big check mark, too.
“Oh, shit,” Lauren murmured. “I guess that’s better than a cinnamon roll.”
As this series is titled Girlfriend’s Night Out, Dahl gives us good girlfriend time and relationships. I also like the way it ends. There is the I love you exchange, but their entire future isn’t mapped out. This is really only the very beginning of their relationship and some might want a little more conclusion but I thought it the story well.
I had a lot of fun reading this one. Excited for more in this series.