Talk Me Down
by Victoria Dahl, contemporary (2009)
HQN, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-373-77356-5


Talk Me Down is yet another story that suggests to the readers that romance authors based their heroes on someone in real life that they have a hankering for, which is to say, these authors are writing to get their own jollies off as much as they are writing to make us readers' world a happier place. This is why I always roll up my eyes when some random romance author would squeal either in a blog or in a forum that she is so misunderstood and she doesn't understand why people would imagine that romance authors and readers are all sexually deprived people.

Molly Jennings, our heroine, is an erotic romance author. She's not ashamed of what she does, she'll have you know, only, she doesn't tell even her family member what she does for a living. Because she can write full-time for a living, she can also afford to drop everything when she encounters writer's block thanks to a creepy ex-boyfriend stalker. She decides to flee back home to Tumble Creek, Colorado. After all, the fact that Tumble Creek is a four hour drive from her old home will clearly deter a determined stalker who has been at it for a long time now. Even better, when it snows, as it does in this story, the folks of Tumble Creek are pretty much snowed in for the better part of winter. It is a good thing that the stalker will clearly not show up or things may turn ugly for Molly here... oh, wait a minute. Lucky for her, Ben Lawson, the obligatory hot sheriff that every small town must have, is here to keep her busy when we don't have the stalker in the picture.

Did I make the story seem exciting? Because it's not really that exciting. There are many sex scenes here though. Whether there is danger or not, it doesn't matter - every scene is an excuse to lead up to another scene where Molly and Ben are going at it as if their relevant body bits will fall off if left idle for ten pages. Eeek, Molly sees a guy at her window and calls Ben. Ben shows up and... oh boy, Rescue 911 has never been this accommodating to a distressed lady, let's just say. On one hand, I can't blame these two. They are snowed in, it's cold, and it's not as if they have anything better to do than to boink like rabbits. Then again, the author set her story in this particular setting, so she could at least spice things up a little, plot-wise.

After all, there isn't much of a plot here. Molly spends a her non-boinking hours productively wondering whether to tell Ben about her stalker ex-boyfriend even when it's clear that someone is out there giving her trouble. Ben spends his non-boinking moments wondering when she will tell him about the ex when he's not speculating about her secret job. I'm quite disappointed with Ben, by the way. He guesses that Molly is either a prostitute, a phone sex operator, a stripper, or something else of a similar nature. It's quite insulting, if you ask me - just because Molly is hot, it's not as if she has to use her sexuality to make money. Why can't she be a drug dealer, an assassin, or a secret agent? Ben is such a silly twit, isn't he?

It's a pity that the plot is so flimsy and the story becomes very easy to put down as a result because Molly is a great heroine. Ben is a familiar hero, but Molly is a refreshing heroine in that she has a realistic sex life and a great attitude. She has a sense of humor, she isn't bogged down by contrived emotional baggage, and she has a pretty modern outlook on sex and love too. In other words, Molly comes off like a realistic contemporary woman rather than a typical romance heroine, and I really like her as a result. She and Ben have a great chemistry going here. It's unfortunate, therefore, that the author has them having sex more often than not because I'd really like to see them interact more in a non-sexual context.

I love the heroine and I enjoy the chemistry she has with Ben. Okay, the sex scenes are pretty good too, if you really have to ask. I just wish that the subplot has been more interesting and the characters have talked a little bit more to each other. There is only so much the sexual chemistry can do before the story gets bogged down by a plot that just isn't as happening as the characters' bedroom rumba.

Rating: 79


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