Read the full, spoiler-free review here.
Start Me Up is set in the same town as Talk Me Down, and most of the characters cross over. Lori and Quinn were previously introduced as Molly's friend and brother, respectively, and now take centre stage.
One thing I love about Dahl's heroines is that they're unapologetically sexual critters. They have sexual histories and they enjoy getting down and dirty without feeling guilty about it. Lori is no exception. She reads like an adult woman with with life experience, and although her life has been in stasis for years, she doesn't sulk around about it; she carries on as best she can and cultivates dreams for the future.
Quinn is freaking adorable. Beta heroes are rare in romance land, so if you're like me and have a distinct fondness for them, Quinn is a fantastic speciman. Smart and slightly dorky with a sense of humour, he's very much the absent-minded professor who's finally found something to make him sit up and pay attention to what's going on around him.
The dialogue shines and the sex scenes sizzle, particularly when Quinn and Lori are acting out one of her naughty fantasies. It's easy to believe these two honestly enjoy each others' company, in spite of the jealousy and arguments that keep popping up between them. They're the kind of couple for which arguing is a form of foreplay, which means there's as much fighting as there is banter, but either way, the dialogue flows naturally and with a kick.
Ultimately, when I pick up something written by Victoria Dahl, I expect a lot of fun. Between the mockery of punishing kisses and the sex ninja, there was much giggling to be had, and you'd better believe I'll be harrassing Dahl next year when her next contemporary comes out.