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review 2016-03-11 10:36
That Victoria Dahl Writes Some HOT Romances...
Flirting with Disaster - Victoria Dahl

“I don’t have anything to hide, Marshal.”
Damned if she didn’t lie almost as well as she kissed.

I can always count on Victoria Dahl for a steamy, emotionally driven romance with an extra side of naughty. And Flirting with Disaster has what might prove to be one of my favorite sassy heroines ever.


The Jackson: Girls’ Night Out series has been amazingly entertaining so far. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the other gals, Lauren and Sophie, while they’ve found their soulmates. I will let you know that you can feel free to read these books independently and they will still make complete sense. But I would highly recommend checking them all out as they are just that much fun.


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review 2015-04-29 23:33
#CBR7 Book 50: Flirting with Disaster by Ruthie Knox
Flirting with Disaster - Ruthie Knox

Katie Clark went with her boyfriend when he wanted to move to Alaska and worked to save up for her own college education while putting him through college. Knowing that her family weren't huge fans, she didn't tell them that she actually got married while they were there. By the time it was Katie's turn to go to college, it was too late. Her husband had emptied their joint savings account, leaving her a note saying he was off to find himself, hiking in Nepal. Katie slunk back home to Camelot, refusing to tell anyone in her family what really happened. Her brother Caleb let her move in with him and gave her a job as office manager in his new security firm, hoping to help her back on her feet. 


Now newly divorced, Katie has finally come clean to her family and is determined to put her painful past behind her. She wants to reinvent herself as a confident, sophisticated woman and a full agent in her brother's security firm. She's convinced him to give her a chance to prove herself, trying to figure out who is stalking and threatening a famous singer-songwriter. As there was plenty of sparks the first time Katie met their new client, she's hoping that maybe she can blow off some steam while forgetting her weasel of an ex-husband once and for all. As long as her partner on the assignment, the silent, brooding and constantly disapproving Sean Owens, doesn't sabotage everything for her.


Sean Owens isn't entirely sure that Katie even remembers him from high school, when he was the geeky kid sitting behind her in math class, while she was off with the cool kids. Suffering from a crippling stuttering problem, Sean has mostly managed to control it, except for when he's in the presence of or thinking of Katie. Then he stutters so badly he can't even pronounce her name. Actually the part-owner of a successful internet security company in California, Sean only returned to Camelot to bury his mother and pack up her house and put it on the market, but when he met Caleb Clark in a bar and was offered a job in his security firm, he found that he liked the idea of a new challenge. He hadn't envisioned having to work so close to Katie every day, and when he's sent off on an assignment with her, it's clear he won't be able to give her the silent treatment for much longer. One thing is clear, he's not about to stand around and watch the woman he's had a crush on for over a decade, throw herself at the rock star they're hired to protect.


Unlike with the previous stories in this series, Flirting with Disaster has a mystery subplot, as Sean and Katie try to figure out who has been sending threatening messages to Judah Pratt, the aging music star they're sent to help. Their job is made more difficult by the fact that Judah is clearly hiding a whole host of secrets and seems very reluctant to be entirely forthcoming, even though his life might be in real danger. To readers who may be worried about a love triangle - he doesn't really present much of a threat to Sean, more of a motivating factor for the man to finally reveal his true feelings for Katie. 


While the other Clark siblings, Amber and Caleb, seem to have fallen very quickly for their partners (although we only really see the beginnings of Amber's relationship), Katie and Sean have actually known each other since high school, although they've spent most of their lives since then apart. By the time this book starts, Sean has been back in Camelot for a few months already, though, working with Caleb and trying his damndest to never have to engage Katie in direct conversation - to the point where Katie is convinced he pretty much hates her. Instead, the opposite is true. Having had a crush on her in high school, Sean was not exactly thrilled to discover that his feelings returned with a vengeance upon his return to Camelot.


As soon as Sean and Katie are actually forced to spend time together for more than brief moments, Katie realises that she's seriously misjudged her new working partner. This is nice, as it avoids a load of complications and unnecessary drama. The possible complicating factor of Judah is also very quickly dealt with - he's not a rival of any sort to Sean and in fact becomes an important friend and support for Katie. 


Having made a number of poor decisions in her personal life, allowing herself to be used by her ex-husband until she was left stranded in Alaska without barely a penny to her name, despite the years she put in supporting him. She's always given everything of herself to help others, but is coming to realise that a person can be too giving and helpful and that it shouldn't come at the expense at your own health and happiness. She's so eager to reinvent herself and prove her worth to her brother and family. As the story progresses, she comes to accept that a lot of the qualities she thought were pure weaknesses and that she needed to change, can in fact be assets and that the image she had of what she needed to become might not be what will actually bring her happiness. She may not have what it takes to be a good security agent, but she has excellent interpersonal skills and a real gift for getting people to open up to her. 


Sean is a really great hero. Self-conscious and awkward around Katie because of his stutter, he is also a very successful businessman who along with his best friend turned their teenage hacking hobby into a lucrative internet security business. Unfortunately, coinciding with his mother's death, the company is facing challenges and he's feeling the pressure to come up with something new and innovative to put his company back in the forefront, ahead of their competitors. He's worked hard to overcome his confidence problems and speech impediment. When he finally cracks and has no choice but to talk to Katie, he's surprised to discover that she seems completely unfazed by his stutter and once he starts relaxing around her, his stutter becomes much less of a problem, as well. 


Once again, this book felt realistic and the characters were nice people to hang out with on the page. While it turns out Sean is really wealthy, this wasn't a "billionare and the secretary" type of story. Both Katie and Sean have a number of personal challenges that they need to work through in order to get their relationship to function properly, no matter how scorching their chemistry is when they finally let go and jump each other. The slow build of their relationship, coupled with the satisfying solution to the mystery of who is stalking and threatening Judah made this another fun and quick read. Based on the books I've now read by her, Knox is about one book away from becoming an auto-buy author for me.

Source: kingmagu.blogspot.no/2015/04/cbr7-book-50-flirting-with-disaster-by.html
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review 2015-03-01 21:29
Flirting with Disaster by Victoria Dahl
Flirting with Disaster - Victoria Dahl


There's no hiding from sizzling chemistry…

Artist Isabelle West has good reasons for preferring a solitary life. Tucked away in a cabin in the woods, she has everything she needs . . . except a red-hot love life. That is, until a hard-bodied U.S. marshal threatens to unearth secrets she's spent years protecting. But giving in to the sparks flying between them can only lead to one thing…disaster.

Tom Duncan lives by the letter of the law. But no one has tempted him—or confused him—more than free-spirited Isabelle, who arouses his suspicion and his desire. As their connection grows, and their nights get hotter, they find their wild attraction might shake everything he stands for—and expose everything she has to hide.





I'm really enjoying this series. For once, the heroine is over the age of 25. Woo hoo! The hero is an over-worked US Marshall. Isabelle and Tom have great chemistry. Isabelle is prickly in the beginning due to her past. When she finally lets her guard down, I love how she pushes his buttons. Isabelle may be guarded but she has a great friendship with her gal pals. Flirting with Disaster is a fun, quick read. It's not as sexy and hot as the previous book but that's okay. Not everyone can have sex on a Harley. ;-) I really enjoy this series and I'm looking forward to next installment. 

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text 2015-02-24 15:11
Canvas: Painters in Contemporary Romance
Wild Man Creek - Robyn Carr
The Cinderella Deal - Jennifer Crusie
Flirting with Disaster - Victoria Dahl
Collide - Megan Hart
Sweet Mercy (Harlequin SuperRomance #1339) - Jean Brashear
If You Stay - Courtney Cole
In Your Eyes - Laura Moore
Mr. Family - Margot Early
Counterfeits - Kris Bock
Seducing Cinderella - Gina L. Maxwell

Oh those sexy artists...


Here are some wonderful Painter Heroes and Heroines in Romance Novels. My lists are never in any particular order. 



1. Seducing Cinderella by Gina L. Maxwell


Mixed martial arts fighter Reid Andrews's chance to reclaim his title as light heavyweight champ is shattered when he's injured only months before the rematch. To make sure he's healed in time, his trainer sends him to recuperate under a professional's care--Reid's best friend's little sister, all grown up.

Disorganized and bookish Lucie Miller needs some professional help of her own. She'd do anything to catch the eye of a doctor she's crushed on for years, so when Reid offers seduction lessons in exchange for 24/7 conditioning for the biggest fight of his career, Lucie jumps at the chance.

Soon Reid finds himself in the fight of his life...winning Lucie's heart before she gives it to someone else.


2. Counterfeits by Kris Bock


Painter Jenny Kinley has spent the last decade struggling in the New York art world. Her grandmother’s sudden death brings her home to New Mexico, but inheriting the children’s art camp her grandmother ran is more of a burden than a gift. How can she give up her lifelong dreams of showing her work in galleries and museums?

Rob Caruso, the camp cook and all-around handyman, would be happy to run the camp with Jenny. Dare he even dream of that, when his past holds dark secrets that he can never share? When Jenny’s father reappears after a decade-long absence, only Rob knows where he’s been and what danger he’s brought with him.

Jenny and Rob face midnight break-ins and make desperate escapes, but the biggest danger may come from the secrets that don’t want to stay buried. In the end, they must decide whether their dreams will bring them together or force them apart.


3.  Mr. Family by Margot Early


Kal Johnson is a still-grieving widower with a young child. He can't imagine marrying again—not for love, anyway. But it's becoming increasingly clear that his daughter needs someone besides him. A mother. Kal's solution is to place an ad in a local magazine.


Wanted: Woman to enter celibate marriage and be stepmother to four-year-old girl. Send child-rearing philosophies to Mr. Family….


Erika Blade is a woman who's afraid of love. And sex. She answers the ad, figuring she's probably the only person in the whole world to whom a "celibate marriage" would appeal. After all, she does want children but she doesn't want to acquire them in the usual way. As it turns out, Kal likes her letter—and soon discovers that he likes her. More than likes. He's attracted to her. The one thing that wasn't supposed to happen.


4. In Your Eyes by Laura Moore


A gifted artist, Genevieve Monaghan expresses the wonder and beauty of life on canvas. When millionaire philanthropist Alex Miller asks her to create a painting for the new children’s wing of a major Boston hospital, she finds his high-handed ways exasperating and his stunning good looks distracting—but she cannot resist his proposal. She embraces the project, willing to suffer Alex’s presence for the sake of her art. Yet soon Gen finds herself falling for Alex and his virile charm.

At the pinnacle of wealth and power, Alex Miller stands alone. Women flock to him, drawn by his standing and immense sex appeal. Nothing touches his heart—until he meets Gen. A natural beauty, she is a breath of fresh air in his life and has no interest in his riches or glamour. Although they couldn’t be more different, the growing attraction between them is palpable, sizzling with intensity. Even as they fight to deny their feelings, Alex and Gen are losing themselves to the one thing more awe-inspiring than beauty: love.


5. If You Stay by Courtney Cole


24-year old Pax Tate is an asshole.


He's a tattooed, rock-hard bad-boy with a bad attitude to match.
But he's got his reasons.

His mother died when Pax was seven, leaving a hole in his heart filled with guilt although he doesn't understand why. What he does know is that he and his dad are left alone and with more issues than they can count.

As Pax grew up, he tried to be the kid his father always wanted; the perfect golden boy, but it didn't work. His dad couldn't overcome his grief long enough to notice and Pax couldn't keep up the impossible perfect façade.
So he slipped far, far from it.

Now, he uses drugs and women to cope with the ugliness, the black void that he doesn't want to deal with. If he pretends that the emptiness isn't there, then it isn't, right?

And it's never more apparent than when he meets Mila.

Sweet, beautiful Mila Hill is the fresh air to his hardened frown, the beauty to his ugly heart. He doesn't know how to not hurt her, but he quickly realizes that he'd better figure it out because he needs her to breathe.

When memories of his mother's death resurface from where he's repressed them for so long, Mila is there to catch him when the guilt starts making sense. Mila is the one...the one who can save him from his broken troubled heart; from his issues, from the emptiness.

But only if he can stop being an asshole long enough to allow it.

He knows that. And he's working on it.

But is that enough to make her stay?


6. Sweet Mercy by Jean Brashear


Honey Creek Cottage is the house of Jezebel Hart's dreams -- and the place of Gamble Smith's nightmares. The place he built with his own hands, every stick and brick a testament to his love for the family he lost. The place now in disrepair, its gardens tangled with loss and neglect, much like Gamble's heart. He can't bear to live in it. Yet he isn't ready to let go. Not even to the vivacious Jezebel, who has put her volatile past behind her and wants to plant roots. A woman whose sex-goddess looks, Gamble discovers, can't match her strength and compassion. They come together out of mutual need, but find mutual healing. Except...she's hiding something that could shatter their fragile bond.


7. Collide by Megan Hart


A childhood accident left Emmaline vulnerable to disturbing fugue states that last minutes but feel like an eternity. The blackouts are unsettling but manageable…until she meets Johnny Dellasandro.


The painter gained fame in the '70s for his debauched lifestyle and raunchy art films. His naked body achieved cult status, especially in Emm's mind—she's obsessed with the man, who's grown even sexier with age. Today he shuns the spotlight and Emm…until she falls into a fugue on his doorstep.


In that moment she's transported back thirty years, crashing a party at Johnny's place. The night is a blur of flesh and heat that lingers long after she's woken to the present.

It happens again and again, each time-slip a mind-blowing orgy, and soon Emm can't stop, though every episode leaves her weaker. She's scared by what's happening, but she's even more terrified of losing this portal to the Johnny she wants so badly. The one who wants her and takes her—every chance he gets.


8. Flirting with Disaster by Victoria Dahl


Artist Isabelle West has good reasons for preferring a solitary life. Tucked away in a cabin in the woods, she has everything she needs…except a red-hot love life. That is, until a hard-bodied US marshal threatens to unearth secrets she's spent years protecting. But giving in to the sparks flying between them can only lead to one thing…disaster. 

Tom Duncan lives by the letter of the law. But no one has tempted him—or confused him—more than free-spirited Isabelle, who arouses his suspicion and his desire. As their connection grows, and their nights get hotter, they find their wild attraction might shake everything he stands for—and expose everything she has to hide.


9. The Cinderella Deal  by Jennifer Crusie


Daisy Flattery is a free spirit with a soft spot for strays and a weakness for a good story. Why else would she agree to the outrageous charade offered by her buttoned-down workaholic neighbor, Linc Blaise? The history professor needs a makeshift fiancée to secure his dream job, and Daisy needs a short-term gig to support her painting career. And so the Cinderella Deal is born: Daisy will transform herself into Linc’s prim-and-proper fiancée, and at the stroke of midnight they will part ways, no glass slippers attached. But something funny happens on their way to make-believe bliss, as a fake engagement unexpectedly spirals into an actual wedding. Now, with Linc and Daisy married and under one roof, what started as a game begins to feel real—and the people who seem so wrong for each other realize they may truly be just right.


10.  Wild Man Creek by Robyn Carr


Colin Riordan came to Virgin River to recuperate from a horrific helicopter crash, the scars of which he bears inside and out. His family is wonderfully supportive, but it's his art that truly soothes his troubled soul.

Stung personally and professionally by an ill-advised affair, PR guru Jillian Matlock has rented an old Victorian with a promising garden in Virgin River. She's looking forward to cultivating something other than a corporate brand.

Both are looking to simplify, not complicate, their lives, but when Jillian finds Colin at his easel in her yard, there's an instant connection. And in Virgin River, sometimes love is the simplest choice of all….


To vote for the best of the best and get more recs, visit my Goodreads list: Canvas: Painters in Contemporary Romance.

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review 2015-02-10 02:28
Flirting with Disaster - Victoria Dahl
Flirting with Disaster

The Characters

Isabelle West is fun and amazing. I don’t think I would have survived what she went through as a young adult. But she thrived and came out stronger on the other side.
Tom Duncan is such a good guy, with a bit of a hero complex. That need came in handy though… you know after the big cluster f**k along the way.

The Story

I’ll try to do this without revealing too much.

Isabelle is hiding a big secret, from everyone. Tom rolls into town to protect her neighbor (he’s a US Marshall). They meet and sparks fly but at first only because she is cagey. Tom investigates. He discovers her secret but can he break down her wall of trust enough to be able to help her?

Getting to know these two was a joy. And getting to know their friends, Jill and Mary, was also great. This story is fun, sexy and emotional. Overall a really good read.

The Random Thoughts

I love cameos from characters in previous books. Lauren, Sophie, Nate a.k.a. Jenny’s boyfriend.

So, is Veronica our next heroine? She was kinda quiet in this one, I’m not sure how that will go.

Favorite Quotes:
”Yes, but I’m luring him with food. What are you luring him with?”
“My tits. And my sparkling personality, I’m sure.”
“No, it’s your tits. They’re gorgeous.”

*You have to love friends you can have conversations like this with.

”I know, but there’s nothing like the real thing. Warm skin and that velvety texture and the smell of a man’s body. God.”
*Poetic truth

”I’m seriously offended.”
“I don’t care.”

*He wasn’t really offended and she did care.

4 Stars
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