A Little Bit Wild

Start Me Up

Talk Me Down

Bad Boys Do
by Victoria Dahl
(HQN, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-0373-77602-3
Victoria Dahl has written one of those books about families and/or the lack of family. It is also the story of a man who finally comes of age and figures out how to be comfortable in his own skin, while the woman figures out how to reconcile that she is okay despite some of her life’s choices. The story kept me engaged, even if at times I was frustrated with the slow thinking of the characters. Since this is one of three stories, the book is good enough that it made me want to read the other two.

Olivia Bishop is just getting over a divorce that left her questioning who she is and what her character is really all about. She knows she is resilient, but beyond that her head is full of the accusations of her ex-husband. She is no fun, always serious and yet never doing the right thing. She gave up her dream of actually being in the restaurant development business to teach that subject.

She did so because Victor Bishop was a professor at the local college and being older, he needed a specific type of wife on his arm to gain tenure and work towards the chairmanship of his department. But when he started dating younger students and flaunting them in her face, Olivia had had enough. She was still teaching but she was determined to prove she could change her life – be fun, be adventurous and make something of her business ideas.

Jamie Donovan is the middle brother – with his critical older brother Eric and placating baby sister Tessa – they run the family brewery business. Jamie has always been the screw-up of the family. He has major guilt issues over two incidents. One involving the reason for his parent’s auto accident that killed them when he was just sixteen and one involving a client’s daughter – a client Eric was on the verge of making a major expansion deal with.

Of course, his reputation is that of a fun-loving, carefree, never serious man of twenty-six who has been left in charge of running the front end of the brewery because of his nature with the customers, including the women. But Jamie has some serious thoughts about expanding the brewery into a real pizza establishment and is secretly taking courses to learn as much as he can before he puts the idea in front of Eric.

When these two people meet up, sparks fly and they have to both figure out their relationship and figure out the kind of person they want to be. By supporting each other, they discover that they can do more together than ever. But the road is fraught with many roadblocks, lots of starts and stops and some tough discussions with loved ones to get to where they need to be. There were a few times when their innate stubbornness pushed them down the wrong path, but both eventually figured it out and their romance flourished.

I liked all the characters. The only downside was that Victor was portrayed as the bad guy and had few redeeming values, leaving one to wonder how Olivia ever found him attractive in the first place. Tessa and her fiancé seem cute, making me want to find their story and Eric is intriguing. He is the older brother who had to take on lots of responsibility at a young age. He has a major chip on his shoulder and I bet the woman of his dreams is right around the corner. With the right one, he might be a really good hero.

They all made this story one to enjoy and I can easily recommend Bad Boys Do.

--Shirley Lyons

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