Talk Me Down

Victoria Dahl
January 2009, Contemporary Romance
HQN, $6.99, 352 pages, Amazon ASIN 0373773560

Grade: D
Sensuality: Hot

Talk Me Down features the shallowest heroine I have met in quite a long time. Not only is she shallow, but she comes across as not very bright either. Pity – the hero was fairly yummy.

Molly Jenkins grew up in Tumble Creek, Colorado under the shadow of her perfect brother Quinn. Quinn’s best friend was Ben Lawson whose father was the high school principal. Mr. Lawson had an affair with a student and that broke up Ben’s family. Ever since then, Ben has been very conscious of not doing anything scandalous. He’s the chief of police in Tumble Creek and a good solid citizen.

Molly moved to Denver where she had a bad relationship with police hostage negotiator, Cameron Kasten. Cameron not only stalked her, but somehow used his hostage negotiating skills to mess up all her relationships with other men. Clearly a change of scenery was called for, and since Molly is a writer and her career is portable, she decided to move back home. However, since Molly is an erotic writer and most of her heroes are based on Ben, she wants to keep her job a deep, dark secret.

Molly sticks out in Tumble Creek like Paris Hilton at a convent. She drives a Mini Cooper,(the locals favor SUVs) wears mini-skirts and towering heels (the locals favor jeans and boots), and orders lemon drops and appletinis at the bar (the locals favor Coors). At one point in the bar, Molly proceeds to get drunk and pretends to be lesbian with her friend Lori. Ben has to take her home while she moans that all she wants is, “to get some-some.” They almost have sex, but Ben comes to his senses when Molly accidently turns on his car's siren. He still thinks Molly’s hot though.

And since Ben thinks Molly is hot, they eventually embark on a full-blown affair. Ben’s uptight secretary Brenda does not approve, but Ben is in thrall to his hormones. He still wonders why Molly won’t tell him what she does for a living, but when lust kicks in, sense takes a hike. The sex is good, and things would be going pretty well for them except that Cameron just won’t give up. When he tracks Molly to Tumble Creek, things get dangerous.

Molly was so shallow, so silly. More than one character tells her she has communication issues and that pretty well summed up her character in a nutshell. It isn’t till almost the end of the book that she finally tells Ben what she does (and only under duress). When Ben realizes that Molly's male characters are based on him, and reads a certain passage that came right out of his misspent youth, of course he blows up. Then there’s a misunderstanding, Molly gets in danger and Ben realizes he luuuvs her and rescues her. Yawn.

I know for sure that when it comes to light and fluffy romances, I can be picky. I simply have to have my characters with at least some common sense. Molly didn’t have any. As for Ben, he was nice enough but not all that interesting. He was pleasant though and really, I wanted him to be paired with someone other than Molly. Sooner or later those two are going to have get out of bed and talk. Given Molly’s communication problems, I think it will be a one-sided conversation.

-- Ellen Micheletti

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