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Expected Release Date: August 30, 2011 (Available Now!)
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: HQN
Author’s Website:
My Source for This Book: Netgalley
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Donovan Brother’s Brewery
Series Best Read In Order: N/A
Steam Level: Steamy

Official Blurb:

Too much of a good thing…

With her long ponytail and sparkling green eyes, Tessa Donovan looks more like the girl next door than a businesswoman—or a heartbreaker. Which may explain why Detective Luke Asher barely notices her when he arrives to investigate a break–in at her family’s brewery. He’s got his own problems—starting with the fact that his partner, Simone, is pregnant and everyone thinks he’s the father.

Tessa has her hands full, too. Her brother’s playboy ways may be threatening the business, and the tension could tear her tight–knit family apart. In fact, the only thing that could unite the Donovan boys is seeing a man come after their “baby” sister. Especially a man like Luke Asher. But Tessa sees past the rumors to the man beneath. He’s not who people think he is—and neither is she.

Tessa Donovan’s life is never boring.  The family “peacemaker”, she’s trying to salvage an important business deal that’s been threatened by her brother’s playboy ways, attempt to keep her eldest brother out of the loop, dodge the over protectiveness of both of her brothers, and just generally keep her family from falling apart.   Throw in one sexy but troubled police detective, and she’s one step away from a nervous breakdown.

Detective Luke Asher has no time for a relationship right now.  Having a horrible reputation, including the rumor that he’s the father of his pregnant partner’s baby, Luke has his own problems to get past.

When an investigation into a burglary at the Donovan Brother’s Brewery throws Tessa and Luke together, he  knows he has no business getting involved with Tessa, but he can’t resist her incredible blend of sexiness and innocence.

What Worked For Me:

  • Tessa, while a bit of a neurotic control freak, was refreshingly realistic to me. The family peacekeeper, she had a nasty tendency to lie to her brothers for their own good, but was also loyal and dedicated to the family business. I also loved her quirky sense of humor, and even her tendency to doubt Luke on occasion.
  • Luke was wonderful. Sexy yet damaged, he tried valiantly to resist Tessa, and proved over and over again what a good guy he was.  I loved that he wasn’t “perfect”, however, and brought a lot of baggage of his own to the table. The simple fact that he refused to open up about his failed marriage kept him from crossing into that “too good to be true” category, and I loved him all the more for it.
  • It was so much fun to see the family dynamic of the Donovan’s. I had been introduced to the family through the prequel, and really enjoyed being able to explore the relationships more fully.
  • One thing that really stood out to me was the humor.  Ms. Dahl has always excelled with her wit, and this book was certainly no exception. One scene in particular, when there was a misunderstanding about Tessa’s, erm, experience level, had me rolling.  Throw in the passive-aggressive tweets that Tessa would post to get back at her brothers whenever they were avoiding her, as well as some awkward moments resulting from her relationship with Luke, and I grinned through half the novel.
  • Don’t let the humor fool you, however, because this book was wonderfully hot as well. There was just the right amount of sexual tension leading up to the big event, which made sure to steam up the pages.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

  • I’m still vaguely disgruntled that Eric’s story comes last.
  • Frankly, I was disappointed at how Simone’s situation was resolved. I can’t say more without giving out a spoiler, but it really was a bit of a downer.

Readers of the first story in this series (JUST ONE TASTE from THE GUY NEXT DOOR ANTHOLOGY) will recognize the cameos of Beth, who is slated to be the heroine of the third installment of the series.

I loved both Tessa and Luke, and while I’m not usually big on books that are chock full of “family issues”, I have to admit that I adored the family dynamic, dysfunctional as it may be, and am greatly looking forward to the next two installments in the trilogy.

One of the best contemporary novels I’ve read this year, this book reminded me just why I adore Victoria Dahl.  Funny, sexy, and serious all rolled into one package, it had me cracking up one minute and searching for tissues the next, and I highly recommend it for any fan of sexy contemporary romance.

4.5/5 Stars