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Love in all the Right Places: Flirting with Disaster by Victoria Dahl


Love doesn’t make the world go ’round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.

I have read a smorgasbord of romance over the last little while … and failed miserably at reviewing them. In order to ensure that at least some of these titles get some light upon them, I’ve decided to give them each a day leading up to Valentine’s Day. Today’s feature: Flirting With Disaster (Jackson Girls Night Out #2) by Victoria Dahl!

flirtingThere’s no hiding from sizzling chemistry… 

Artist Isabelle West has good reasons for preferring a solitary life. Tucked away in a cabin in the woods, she has everything she needs . . . except a red-hot love life. That is, until a hard-bodied U.S. marshal threatens to unearth secrets she’s spent years protecting. But giving in to the sparks flying between them can only lead to one thing…disaster. 

Tom Duncan lives by the letter of the law. But no one has tempted him—or confused him—more than free-spirited Isabelle, who arouses his suspicion and his desire. As their connection grows, and their nights get hotter, they find their wild attraction might shake everything he stands for—and expose everything she has to hide. 

This is technically book two in the series, but the third time we’ve visited Jackson thanks to a rather wonderful novella that preceded the series start. Isabelle has been a bit of an enigma thus far, and in this book we find out why – and it’s for a very good reason. Isabelle made the decision long ago to leave her past behind, and to create a new future for herself. Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint – her past is about to catch up to her, in the form of an inquisitive officer with a vested interest in finding out everything he can about the woman who interests him.

One of the reasons I love reading Dahl’s books is because she makes flawed characters so interesting and heartbreakingly real. As with her previous books, she is able to write self-confident women who are strong and independent and fabulous – and part of a larger group of equally fabulous individuals who are there to tease and support each other by turn. While Isabelle and Tom were definitely front and centre, the girls night out scenes come a very close second.

Isabelle is reserved, but that doesn’t mean that she’s shy. She’s extremely talented and enjoys her work as a medical illustration artist. She’s totally confident in her sexuality, and she’s the one making responsible Tom blush on a regular basis. My heart ached for her at times, because she wouldn’t allow herself to believe that she deserved to be happy in the long term, or that Tom could really love her for who she was. Tom isn’t perfect, although he appears so on the surface – hardworking, mature, dedicated and thorough. He struggles between his sense of duty and his own personal needs, and that causes him to make some rather unwise decisions involving Isabelle and honesty. While they may struggle with connecting sometimes, they have no trouble finding their way sexually, and their scenes together are raw and honest and hot.

There’s some lovely side stories involving some of the secondary characters, including characters from other books (yay for Sophie and her life choices!), and I hope that we will see more of them in the next book as well. The overarching story of the threatened judge was balanced well with the character development. It paralleled Isabelle’s past experience enough to trigger her memories, and gave Tom reason enough to stay nearby, without it becoming overwhelming.

If you haven’t read the other books in the series, don’t worry – you can jump in with this book without losing too much, but why would you want that? Strong female relationships, some great sassy lines and lovely rich characters who have some life experience behind them make for fabulous reads. Pick them all up and savour each one… they are the perfect lead-in to Valentine’s Day.

Because I always seem to hear music when I read, I had to include this song because I kept hearing it during a specific section for Isabelle, and because I know from Twitter that Victoria Dahl appreciates Kathleen Edwards as much as I do. 

Flirting with Disaster was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It is available now from Harlequin Books, at your friendly indie bookseller, or other print and digital vendors. ISBN: 9780373779116, 384 pages. 

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