cover image Taking the Heat

Taking the Heat

Victoria Dahl. HQN, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-373-77970-3

Dahl (Flirting with Disaster) breaks little new ground in this thin story of a 27-year-old woman’s sexual awakening. After failing to make it in the Big Apple, Veronica Chandler returned to Jackson, Wyo., where she gives relationship advice, much of it explicitly sexual, in her “Dear Veronica” column. She carefully hides her own lack of sexual experience. Her deep-seated feelings of unworthiness and undesirability—stemming from her horrible parents and verbally abusive stepbrother—only change after she meets Gabe MacKenzie, an outdoors-loving, rock-climbing librarian who has allotted himself a year of happiness in Wyoming before taking over his family’s restaurant empire in New York City. The two fall in love and share lots of hot sex and dirty talk, but Gabe hides his future plans until the book’s final third. As the fallout falls out, the story finally turns meaningful, but it is too little too late. Agent: Amy Moore-Benson, AMB Literary Management. (Aug.)