Shields up, sugar—things in Plum Orchard are about to get real.
Marybell Lyman is notorious for two things:
Her look. The wicked hairstyle, multiple piercings and practiced sneer that say: "Stay back—I bite."
Her voice. The syrupy lilt that's her bread and butter at Call Girls, the prim little town's flourishing phone-sex company.
Hunky handyman Taggart Hawthorn is mesmerized by the contradiction: such sweet tones inside such a spiky shell! He wants to know more about mysterious Marybell, to hear more of her sexy talk—all for himself.
But Tag's attentions, delicious as they are, have Marybell panicked. She's been hiding a long time. She's finally got a home, a job and friends she adores. She won't have it all snatched away by another stupid mistake—like falling in love. So when Marybell's past comes calling, she and the Call Girls will prove no one handles scandals like a Southern girl!
Paperback, 448 pages
Four Stars: Another delightful installment in the Plum Orchard Series.
Marybell Lyman is hiding out in Plum Orchard. Every morning, she spends hours putting on her "people shield", layers of outrageous makeup, a brightly died mohawk, piercings and a colorful wardrobe. Slowly, she has rebuilt her life, and at last, she has found friends and a family amongst the girls who work at Call Girls. When Taggart Hawthorn comes to town, Marybell lives in fear that her secret will be exposed. Then when Tag insists on pursuing her, Marybell's traitor heart tells her one thing, while her head warns her away. Can Marybell come to terms with her past and find love, or will the horror of her past once again destroy her?
What I Liked:
- This is my fourth trip to Plum Orchard, and with each installment, I grow more fond of the town and its inhabitants. With every book, you get a new romance, a little drama and lots of sizzle. This is a series that can be read as stand alones as they are all companion novels, but I highly recommend binging and reading all three books and the novella. Come get to know the fun folks in Plum Orchard.
- This was my second favorite romance in the series. Marybell keeps pushing Tag away because of her treacherous past, but the harder she pushes, the more Tag pushes back. What ensues is a fun series of non dates where Tag attempts to woo and win her heart, while Marybell tries to drive him away. The more outrageous she makes her wardrobe, the more interested he becomes. Then it turns into sizzle and chemistry as two damaged souls come together. It is a romance of ups and downs, and learning to be honest. I liked the trials the couple endured and the way things settled out.
- A visit to Plum Orchard wouldn't be complete without checking in with all the old regulars, from the feisty Dixie, to the sweet mannered Em, as well as the hilarious LaDawn. Not to mention, you can always count on the nasty Louella Palmer to stir up trouble. I love hanging out with all the folks and catching up with the ladies from the previous books and seeing how their romances are coming along. Plum Orchard may not be the friendliest town, but you can bet that their is never a dull moment.
- I liked the mystery in this one. Marybell is harboring many secrets, and I was most curious to uncover the truth about her. Her story is heartbreaking, but full of hope and redemption. I thought the overall story line in this one was the best yet.
- Once again, I appreciated that this book comes to a complete resolution. All the loose ends are tied off and the questions are answered. Feel free to read any book in this series, you always get a complete, stand alone story.
And The Not So Much:
- While I enjoyed the overall romance, I was a bit disappointed that it moved into the lust part and there was a lot of steamy sex right away. I was expecting a bit more time for the romance to build, especially considering that both parties were damaged, but they jump into bed very quickly and the romance seems like it is based more on sex for awhile. It does balance out, but I felt like the romance aspect moved into the same pattern as the other romances in the series.
- Louella Palmer is the town mean girl. She is conniving and vicious, and you can always count on her to stir trouble. With every book, she has been the source of conflict, and I keep expecting something to happen to her. Either she will finally get bitten in the ass by bad karma or someone will slap some sense into her. I kind of thought after the second book, she would change a bit, but that is not the case, she is back to her old tricks. Once again, Louella manages to bring about chaos with a bit of far fetched resourcefulness. Something needs to change with her character.
- Perhaps it was just me, but I felt like the ending was a bit rushed. There is a big dramatic reveal surrounding Marybell as her past finally catches up to her. The girls rally around her and help find the truth. Then nothing comes of it. There is no public clearing of her name and no long term resolution for Marybell. The press will eventually come back. I thought a bit more closure was needed.
Talking After Midnight is another winning book in a charming series. If you are looking for fun, sizzling romances check out this series. I appreciate that the romances are without heavy drama, and I love the setting of Plum Orchard and its inhabitants. These books are perfect for summer vacations or anytime you want something on the light side. I am hoping that there are more books to come!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.