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Saturday, February 6, 2010

'Lead me on' by Victoria DAHL

From the BLURB:

Raw, animal magnetism…

…is a big red flag to prim and proper office manager Jane Morgan. After a rough childhood with a mother who liked her men in prison-jumpsuit orange, Jane changed her name, her look and her taste for bad boys. So why is she lusting for William Chase with his tattoo-covered biceps and steel-toed boots? The man blows things up for a living!

She gives herself one explosive, fantasy-filled night with Chase. The next day it's back to plain Jane and safe men.
But when her beloved brother becomes a murder suspect, it's Chase who comes to her rescue. And Jane discovers that a man who's been around the block knows a thing or two about uncovering the truth….

I really didn’t like this third instalment of Victoria Dahl’s ‘Tumble Creek’ series (*ACK!* put down your pitchforks!).

For starters, it’s not even set in Tumble Creek. Dahl did such a wonderful job of creating this fictional town and its characters in the first two books, but then she totally ditches the entire premise of her series in book three! Sure, there are cameos from the characters of ‘Start me up’, Lori Love & Quinn Jennings, but it’s not the same thing.

Secondly, I never warmed up to protagonist, Jane Morgan. With the first two female leads, Molly Jennings and Lori Love, there was an instant familiarity to their plights – they were two very relatable characters with everyday problems that I could sympathize with. Jane’s problems are bizarre. She had a very unconventional childhood. Her mother wasn’t exactly the best role model, as Jane explains it;

“She was a prison groupie. She married guys in prison. Four of them, to be exact. All of them men she met after they’d been sent to the big house. You are looking at the tender outcome of a conjugal trailer visit.” She put her hand to her mouth. “Oh, my God, did I say that out loud?”

As a result of her unusual upbringing, Jane went off the rails. She was having sex from the age of 12, in bar parking lots – she drank, partied hard and was on a serious downward spiral. A frightening incident scared her straight when she was a little older and she reinvented herself as Jane Morgan – boring secretary.

I could understand and appreciate a storyline about a woman who had a wild past she was ashamed of. But Jane’s history is so completely bizarre and I think only a very small fraction of people could actually relate to her background.

The complication for Jane in ‘Lead me on’ comes in the form of William Chase – a tattooed, hulking explosives expert who titillates Jane’s long-dormant wild side.

I really liked Chase. Physically he was very intimidating, but like Dahl’s other leading men, Ben and Quinn, Chase was a complete gentleman – very tender and polite. A contradiction to his outward appearance.
What I didn’t like was Jane and Chase together. I didn’t think she deserved him. From the get-go she sees Chase as an easy lay, a way to scratch an itch she’s tried to ignore. She constantly stereotyped Chase and often times treated him purely as a bed partner instead of a real human being. Chase calls her out on it many times throughout, but never really put his foot down.

I also didn’t really respond to Jane and Chase’s romance because it felt like something more appealing to men than women. When he meets her, Jane is an uptight secretary complete with crisp suits and her hair in a bun. But when Chase gets Jane into the bedroom she turns into a sex kitten – complete with massive boobs (which he waxes poetic about quite a bit) and tiny waist. It sounded more like a porn plotline (oxymoron?) more appealing to men than women. Sure, the scenes are hot (Dahl is exceptional at writing smut) but it kind of killed the mood when it turned out that the mousy secretary was stacked and had a Victoria’s Secret body.
I think I would have preferred a storyline in which Jane Morgan didn’t have a lecherous background and really was just a plain-Jane secretary walking on the wild side for the first time.

I know lot’s of people raved about ‘Lead me on’ – but I think a few of those reviews were reading the ‘Tumble Creek’ series for the first time with book #3 and had never read #1 and #2. I think ‘Lead me on’ would have worked better as a stand-alone novel, because it really doesn’t fit into ‘Tumble Creek’ and I was disappointed at how much this book skewed from the first two.

My biggest problem was with the heroine, Jane. She had a background story that was just too weird to be relatable, and I was kind of disappointed to learn that her ‘hum drum’ appearance was all just a façade to hide a roaring sex kitten.



  1. Ahhhhhh say it ain't so. LOL.

    I just didn't see what you saw. I saw a woman who was on the edge and Chase was her lifeline.

    Still you cannae win them all. LOL. You should try some of her historicals next.

  2. I think I'm in love with you. ;)

    I haven't commented on anyone's post about this book because I've only seen raves about it and this book just wasn't all that for me. In addition to the reasons you mentioned, I just think her big issue about "he isn't respectable, he's got tattoos" just doesn't work in this day and age - tattoos are too common these days for it to work for me....and she harped on his tats a lot.

    Loved the first two and will definitely pick whatever she writes next, but as far as this one I think I gave it two stars.

  3. Patti - Yes! Her hang-up on tattoo's really started to bug me too. I just think in general Chase was a *great* character and an all-round sweet guy and Jane was just so disrespectful to him. I will definitely read Dahl's next installment in the series, I just wasn't thrilled with this one.

  4. Great review! I will have to read to see about this one... Im yet to read a contemporary romance lOL

    btw, this whole "she has a problem with tatoos" reminds me of Seph from Vicious Circle and Johnny LOL =))))

  5. I hopped into this one and then read your review and was worried I was going to hate it! But surprisingly I have enjoyed it, in fact I stayed up way too late with it last night!

  6. This was my first Dahl and I really liked it. I get what you are saying about Jane - I got a little tired at the end of her still pushing him away, but her background and her situation appealed to me.

    This may be the first book we really disagree on *GASP* :)

  7. I actually really liked this book, though Jane was a bitch for such a long time and it was really hard to forgive at the end. The thing with tattoos being bad... all the time, really pissed me off LMAO