Too Hot to Handle, Victoria Dahl

Too Hot to Handle
Victoria Dahl
Published date: Mar 26, 2013

Cheeseball rating: Two cheeseballs.
Authenticity of Spirit:  Great.
How hot is it: Prettyhot.
Hero: Shane. I liked him. Age: 35.
Heroine: Merry. I really liked her! Age: 30.
 
So I’m not sure how I’ve gotten this far in romance reading that I haven’t come across Victoria Dahl! What an unexpectedly  splendid find! Like with Kristan Higgins, since high school, I haven’t found much interesting about anything Harlequin is publishing, but maybe I need to revisit that decision because this was a pleasure. I attribute this almost entirely to Merry, the main character, who was a total nerd. Sort of, I mean, she likes Star Wars, so I guess that puts her in the major nerd camp along with, like, most of the entire living world… But anyway, that blanket stereotype aside, I liked her because she is perpetually positive, which is such an underrated, yet extremely difficult to maintain trait.

Basically, Merry is, while not a slacker, just someone who hasn’t found what she’s good at. She moves to Wyoming to be with her friend and restore a ghost town, hoping to finally settle down and grow up. Shane is a local carpenter convinced that because all his ancestors didn’t know the meaning of commitment, that it’s not for him either. When the two meet, it’s not exactly fireworks. Shane’s grandfather didn’t leave him money in his will because he changed his last name to spite the father who ran out on him, so he’s suing the ghost town Board of Directors who got the money. Bring in Merry, who the Board has hired to  restore the ghost town, and boom, you’ve got a story.

 Of course, Shane chooses not to tell Merry that he’s the grandson suing the Board, which is one of my romance novel pet peeves, the whole someone keeps a secret that if told could so easily resolve the situation. It is used often enough, and while it doesn’t make me want to punch myself in the face like some of my other pet peeves, it does bore me.  These plot devices are so often contrived, and yet they never seem to add much to who the characters are or serve as interest to the story itself.

Regardless, this is a fun one. Even though the romance moves too quickly for it to really be believable, Merry and Shane really do have a good time together. Add in some steamy sex scenes, and you’ve got a quick, enjoyable read. My biggest complaint is that we didn’t get a whole bunch of Shane’s point of view. I think I’ve got to read more books in the series to get more glimpses of him. So while I liked him, and thought he was sexy, after I finished I didn’t really remember him all that well.  In the end, it hardly mattered because Merry’s enthusiasm pretty much moved the story along, and you really rooted for her. Moreover, the dialogue between Merry and Grace, and Merry and Shane was some of the most realistic and humorous that I’ve read in a long time. Even though my initial excitement for this book decreased by the end, it still won’t be the last Victoria Dahl book I pick up!

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