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.