Title: Talk Me Down
Author: Victoria Dahl
Genre: Romance – Contemporary
Publisher: HQN Books
Publishing Date: January 1, 2009
Paperback: 352 Pages
Stand Alone/ Series: Stand Alone
Summary: Molly Jennings might look like the girl next door, but she has one naughty little secret: her job. Molly is a very successful writer of erotic fiction. Until her inspiration runs dry—thanks to a creepy ex—and she decides it’s time to move back home to tiny Tumble Creek, Colorado.
Tumble Creek doesn’t have much going for it, but one look at luscious chief of police Ben Lawson, who starred in her girlhood dreams, and Molly is back in business. But while her fantasies are pouring out on paper, the town gossip is buzzing at her door and, worse yet, a stalker seems to be watching her every move. Thankfully, her very own lawman has taken to coming over, often. The only problem now is that Molly may have to let the cat out of the bag about her chosen profession, and straight-laced Ben will definitely not approve…
Why did I read the book: I love Victoria Dahl’s historicals and thought I should try her first contemporary
The reviews for Talk me Down are all over the place – the first one I read, from Romantic Times Magazine calls the heroine a Dog in Heat. (I was shocked – it was the first time I read the magazine and I think it shall be my last.) The second one, from Dear Author, was a much more positive review. I was really curious to see how I would feel about the book – so I thought it was the perfect time to call for a Powerpuff Review with the Awesome Katie of Babbling about Books. You know the drill: Ana, aka, Bubbles, reviews it here. Katie,aka Blossom at her place. Buttercup, remains MIA, frolicking about with Gambit or Batman, maybe both.
Molly Jennings is back in town after ten years – small Tumble Creek, Colorado to get over a writer’s block and start anew after a few complicated months with a stalker ex-boyfriend. Being back in town also means being back into the life of Ben Lawson, the current Chief of Police and former adolescent flame. Last time they saw each other Molly ran into Ben and a girlfriend into a compromising situation – an image that has been present in her life both as fantasy and as inspiration ever since, for Molly is an Erotica writer – and this is the infamous Molly Jennings Secret. No one knows what she does for a living and she likes to keep it that way – not because she is ashamed of it but because not only she has a complicated family that has always looked down on her achievements compared to her brother’s but also because her first book is inspired by Ben and is too close to reality to comfort. Plus she likes her privacy and truth be told she now has fun with the whole secrecy thing.
Ben and Molly rekindle straight away, Molly is more than happy to finally work on some of the fantasies she has dreamed for so many years and wants a no-strings- attached relationship, whereas Ben wants to date. Right off the bat, this is exactly what I loved the most about Talk me Down – this inversion of roles. Where Molly is the chick coming up with the excuses for the sex and Ben with the excuses for the dates, where she is the one talking dirty and being unapologetically fond of sex. Where Ben is the one that needs to take it slow not to scare her off when trying to figure her out and know her secrets.
Victoria Dahl writes fantastically refreshing, away- from- the-norm heroines and Molly is no different. I just loved her – she was just full of life, fun , carefree, open and self- confident. She just knew who she was – even with her shortcomings – yes, she could at times, take things less than seriously and be thick as a wooden door which can drive some people (and some readers, I am sure) nuts, but that was part of her self-defense mechanism. People that are bubbly by nature have this tendency and Molly was just like that and that was part of her charm and also something she knew she had to work on. So there you have you have, a heroine that is aware of her strengths and weakness and she was proud of the first was prepared to face the latter.
As for Ben the hero, oh boy, deliver me strong and blushing heroes more often. And who seek the joy that their heroines can give them. I loved this passage:
“She seemed to draw eyes without even noticing, seemed comfortable with attention without needing it. And she laughed. A lot. Ben didn’t laugh much, and he thought it would be a grace in his life, a blessing, to hear a woman laugh every day, every hour. To hear her laugh in his bed.”
In this sense Molly could not be more perfect for Ben. If it wasn’t for the small matter of the Secret – being a policeman he simply cannot afford problems and being the child of a father who compromised the entire family by having an affair with a teenager he was not keen on secrets, or scandals either…so he spends the whole book trying to find out what she does for a living which is at first humorous, but later turns quite serious, as they fall in love and everything now is a matter of trust and of faith in each other.
The conflict between them, in my opinion, was enough to carry the book – could Ben live with an Erotica writer and the publicity that her life would bring to his? Could he forgive her for the secrecy? Add to that the VERY hot sex encounters, the funny moments, Molly’s hilarious inner monologues and I would have been a happy camper.
But no. We need to have not only one stalker but two! The ex-boyfriend Cameron which was ok, the story was cool, well done, the ending was both heart –racing and aw-worthy with Ben being all shook up and rescue-y; but the addition of a second one was completely unnecessary, and this is a bit of a spoiler for you, that person was the one to spill the secret of Molly’s profession to Ben, and with that the writer missed a great chance to have her characters have great interaction and for Molly to talk to Ben herself.
All in all though, I really liked Talk me Down. I am a fan of Victoria Dahl’s Historicals and now it seems I will be reading her Contemporaries as well.
Notable Quotes/ Parts: Ben is an amateur photographer and Molly loved his photos. Because her mind is a gutter she asks him to take naked pictures of her, just for the two of them, of course. He says absolutely not – and she thinks this is it. The next morning she wakes up to find beautiful photos scattered around the place – all of them close-ups of her, but not naked her, only things like the curve of her neck, her blond hair spread across the pillow or “you, in morning light” . Awww. Needless to say, this is when Molly started to realize that she was in deep trouble.
Additional Thoughts: Go check Katie’s aka Blossom’s review at her place!
Verdict: VERY hot , funny, light contemporary. There are a couple of unnecessary secondary storylines but they do not detract from the overall enjoyment of the book. Go for it.
Rating: 7 VERY GOOD
Reading Next: The Magic Knot by Helen Scott Taylor