Too Hot To Handle by Victoria Dahl
Romance: 3/5 Raunch: 3/5
“There was nothing worse than being felt out when you really wanted to be felt up.”
Redonk Nutshell: Cheerful nerd is at her wit’s end and accepts aid from a man who ends up being her arch nemesis
Merry Kade has always been a bit flighty. When life has thrown her lemons she made lemonade, and the roots she’s managed to put down in Jackson Hole, thanks to her friend Grace, and starting to uproot when she finds out the position she accepted to found a living museum was actually a front to stall a legal proceeding holding up the grant funds tied to the estate. Merry puts on her best face and tries to show how much of an asset she can be to the board that holds her fate in their hands. She talks Shane Harcourt, a friend of Grace’s boyfriend, into doing the contracting work at the ghost town at the edges of town. Shane accepts only because he wants to keep an eye on the board and what Merry is up to. He is the reason the grant money is in legal limbo, but Merry, god love her, has no idea. When Shane realizes the good of what Merry is trying to do, he comes clean. But it’s too little too late, and Merry is once more forced to pick up the pieces of her heart.
This is the 2nd book in Ms. Dahl’s Jackson Hole series. I didn’t really dig the first one. I found Grace, the heroine, too off-putting and didn’t really connect with her. I enjoyed book two much more. I adored Merry. She’s a very happy-go-lucky, rose-colored-glasses kind of gal who is a self professed nerd that sports graphic tees and jeans and is proud of it. She makes no excuses for who and what she is, and she’s completely comfortable in her own skin.
I am not fucking stupid. I trust people because I choose to, because if you fuck me over, it says something terrible about you, not me. I see the good in people, because that makes me happy, not because I live in fairy-tale land where bad things don’t happen. Bad things happen, Shane. I’ve spent my whole life well aware of that. Bad things like you.”
Shane, on the other hand, has some emotional demons. He has unresolved issues with his dad’s desertion and has no desire to shackle himself in any sort of long term relationship. When he begins to have a lasting attraction to Merry, he realizes he has to come clean with her, not only about his role in the grant money and her job, but as well as why he can’t give her more. Because Shane recognizes that Merry deserves more. And that is why, in a nutshell, I found myself really enjoying this story. There is drama, but it’s believable and emotional, and you can’t help but root for these two as they struggle to find their footing on the rocky path.