Release Date: January 27th 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: HQN Books
So I’m finally going to talk about a book that I didn’t get rec’d by the DBSA Podcast…this one I got from Harlequin’s 14 Days of Valentine Who’s Your Harlequin Boyfriend game.
Set in the woods of Jackson Hole, Wyoming our heroine, Isabelle West, is a medical artist who is enjoying her life in solitude. That is until Tom Duncan, a U.S. Marshall, comes into town with his team to protect a local judge from a dangerous fugitive.
This romance features some of the oldest characters I’ve read in romance so far. From what I can tell mature characters are Dahl’s forte. Isabelle is 36 and Tom is 42. They are very settled in their lives and careers and are not expecting any big changes or romances, which I think is a nice element because neither of them are looking for the other.
This romance has a few secondary plots, one being the fugitives on the run and other being that Isabelle is actually using a fake identity, because she is hiding from the legacy of a father who was a corrupt (surprise, surprise) Chicago detective. I couldn’t really follow all the legalese and bureaucracy stuff that went along with these plots and I got confused as to why people were looking for what and why they couldn’t do certain things.
The best part of this series are the characters, I particularly loved how Isabelle has introverted tendencies, but when she’s ready can also be the life of the party. She has this great self-confidence that keeps Tom on his toes and also kind of intimidates him. Isabelle is especially unashamed of her age and isn’t concerned with how people think of her. There are a lot of feminist themes in this book about women accepting their bodies, meaningful female relationships and women being sex positive.
I generally ask why nearly all the women in genre fiction are artist, but Isabelle’s art career seemed genuine. She is an oil painter who does commissions of anatomical paintings for medical textbooks and doctor’s office.
This is part of Dahl’s Girls Night Out series and I liked the scenes with all the “girls” the best. They have such humorous quick, banter-y dialogue. I liked how the books didn’t linger too much on the characters of books I hadn’t read yet.
There is even some diversity in this novel, Isabelle’s closest neighbor is a Black lesbian in her 50’s who has a romance in the background. At first I thought this character was going to be tokenistic, but she had a lot of agency and purpose within the plot.
Flirting with Disaster is a funny, feminist contemporary romance with a dash of suspense. Now, if you’ll excuse me I am going to raid Dahl’s backlist.
The copy of Flirting With Disaster I had also had Fanning the Flames in the back. The prequel novella is about Isabelle’s friend and local librarian Lauren and how she met her boyfriend, Fire Captain Jake Davis. I liked the 60 page novella length and will probably read more of these. They get right to the point without a lot of the will they won’t they.
This is my first firefighter book and it made me understand the firefighter trope–they are as close as you get to superheros in contemporary romance. While cops and FBI agents are all about stakeouts, waiting and procedure while firefighters swoop in and make quick decisions. Their was one scene of a Jake managing a fire rescue and it was really intense with high stakes.
This is another mature romance with the characters having kids in their twenties which makes me think…has there ever been a romance / NA crossover ? – ★★★★