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REVIEW: Lead Me On by Victoria Dahl

cover of Lead Me On by Victoria DahlDear Ms. Dahl:

I’m probably not going to do this book justice in the review and I actually have some fear of turning people off the book based on what I am going to write. Robin and I talked about the book and she said it was brave and I agree. It’s brave because Jane, the heroine, is a complicated and messed up character that is both likeable and unlikeable afraid of her own sexuality and ashamed of her past. She is full of prejudice and bias and anger and shame and in order to achieve her happy ending, she has to overcome these things.

It’s often acceptable to read about the damaged hero finding redemption but I appreciate Jane’s road to acceptance just as much as an infamous rake redeemed story.

There is a memorable scene in the Princess Bride wherein Valerie, cries “Liar, Liar” and shakes her finger at Miracle Max for denying that Westley said “True Love” after Max extracts breath from Westley’s mostly dead body. Valerie says that ever since Miracle Max was fired by Prince Humperdink his confidence was shattered and he was afraid to perform any magic.

Jane is like Miracle Max only she never had any confidence. Jane’s mother was a prison groupie who moved from prison town to prison town latching on to various lifers. Jane’s biological father was a lifer who wrote to her from prison regularly until she was twelve. She had no male role model in her life and she thirsted for affection and approval from someone. After Jane suffered one rejection too many at a young age, with her newly blossoming body, Jane went out looking much older than she was to find the only kind of affection that she could from boys and men who never should have touched her.

She ran with a hard crowd and after allowing herself to be used one too many times, Jane had a wake up call and she changed her entire life. She dyed her hair, changed her name, moved away from her family, and suppressed every instinct that she had ever had and became, to the best of her ability, plain Jane. She works as the office manager in Quinn Jenning’s architectural firm. She is efficient, responsible, and very good at her job. She dates upwardly mobile professional men like lawyers, vetinarians, dentists. She is certainly not attracted to a man like William Chase with his beat up pickup, his tattoos, his big rough body, and his job as a excavation specialist, even if he does own his own company.

The truth is that a woman with confidence and self respect (as Jane would like to see herself) would not care whom she was seen with as long as she loved that man. But Jane lives under specter of hurt and shame. She has rebuilt but to a large extent it’s all a facade. Jane refers to herself as faking her way through each day. With Chase, she can let go and be herself but Jane isn’t even sure who she is anymore, only who she wants to be. What she doesn’t understand and has to come to grips with is that she needs to love and accept herself, all her flaws, her past mistakes, her weaknesses and her strengths because who she is is worth loving. And she’s strong. When you read about her past and how she recreated herself, you realize how strong of a person Jane really is.

As for Chase, he understands the embarassing past. He has one. He’s accepted his mistakes. He loves his alcoholic father while being saddened and angered by his father’s addiction. He’s in a good place in his life. The question, of course, is what attracts Chase to Jane who plays hot and cold, who tries to use Chase as a sexual object, who really is embarassed to be seen with Chase.

At first, Jane appeared to be an uptight secretary who might be interested in being messed up by a bad boy and then Chase realizes Jane is far more complicated. Something about her draws Chase and while he knows he’s being dicked around, he sees something worthwhile in Jane. Even more importantly, Chase knows that he can’t fix Jane, that she has to fix herself. And Jane, well, she can’t control everything:

Ending the kiss with a faint taste of her bottom lip, Chase framed her face in his hands so she’d have to meet his gaze. "I’m falling for you," he repeated.

"No."

He let her go. "You have no say in it. Sorry." Reaching past her, he opened the truck door. "Where to?"

"Chase, we can’t… There’s no future for us. None!"

"You want to go to your grandma’s house?"

She put her hand flat to his chest and pushed him. He took a step back so she’d feel some satisfaction. "Listen to me!"

"I’ll do whatever I want, Jane. I just thought you deserved fair warning."

What makes this such an easy read is though the subject matter might be weighty, the overall tone of the book is fairly light. Chase and Jane have great dialogue. There are very humorous moments interspersed throughout the book. One of my favorite is when Chase and Jane are at a biker bar and a bosomy redhead comes on to Chase while Jane is off talking to someone else, trying to get some information on her parole skipping brother.

Chase’s head jerked up so fast the room spun. Smack in the middle of that spinning was a tight bundle of angry Jane.

Her lips flattened into a thin line as she narrowed her eyes at the woman. "Would you please remove your hands from him?"

"I don’t think so, darlin’," the woman drawled, tightening her hold on Chase. He raised up his free arm to show his helplessness.


Jane drew in a deep breath, her nostrils flared, and he saw the flash of rage in her eyes as she went to the dark side. "Get your tits off him, you heifer!"

"Jane!" Chase coughed, a shocked laugh choking off his voice. But the woman finally let him go.

Arms crossed, Jane watched until she was at least ten feet away before turning her glare on Chase. "You want me to leave so you can get a closer look at those?"

"No!" He held his hands up in complete surrender. "I couldn’t get away from her."

"Funny, because you look awfully big and strong. Almost like a full-grown man."

Chase gave her his best puppy dog eyes, silently begging for forgiveness.

Further, the story is very sexy and the sex scenes, while hot and explicit, actually mean something. They advance the story, the character arc, the romance. It’s not like you can skip these scenes because they aren’t just descriptions of sex but exhibits of the state of mind of the characters and where they are in the relationship. For Chase, he tries to show her she’s worth more than a quick lay and for Jane, it’s a release, but as Jane and Chase’s relationship matures, so does their interaction during sex.

It’s really beautiful to see Jane gain her courage and embrace her confidence at the end of the story.

So why the B+ grade? Jane and Chase were so carefully drawn and so were Jane’s family, her mother, her irresponsible brother, her stepdad, and even her grandmother. Yet, conflict was inserted toward the end with Jane’s ex boyfriend Greg in a hamfisted way. Greg’s actions lack organic motivation and his portrayal seemed obviously manipulative of the events at the end of the story.   Fortunately, the story does not end on this note.

This story has a lot of depth and I think it takes quite a bit of skill to write such a deep story with such a light hand. B+

Best regards,

Jane

P.S.   I still think we readers deserved one last sex scene with Chase and his shaved head.

This mass market can be purchased at Amazonor eHarlequin.com in ebook format from eHarlequin.com or other etailers.

This book was provided to the reviewer by either the author or publisher. The reviewer did not pay for this book but received it free. The Harlequin Affiliate link earns us an affiliate fee if you purchase a book through the link.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

66 Comments

  1. Kati
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 12:16:21

    Damn it, Jane! I’d SO decided not to buy this book, and now look what you’ve done.

    Humph. I love me some blue collar heroes. And Chase sounds fantastic.

  2. Robin
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 12:26:21

    I think this was the first Dahl book where I loved the hero and heroine equally. Chase was soooooo sexy and Jane was so sympathetic (despite her prickliness) that this probably would have been a straight A book for me if the stuff with Greg had been handled differently. Still, because the book didn’t end with that mess, it stands as an A- for me. Loved it.

  3. Sherry Thomas
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 12:31:19

    Heroes, bald or not, blue-collar or not, don’t rouse my interest in a story by themselves.

    But mention a complicated heroine and my attention suddenly perks.

  4. Mandi
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 12:44:59

    Yes – one last sex scene with the skull tatt visible!!!

    This was my first Victoria Dahl and I LOVED it..so sexy, witty writing – really impressed!

    Nice review:)

  5. Rebyj
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 13:07:42

    This book sounds like it stays true to the humor and quirkiness of the previous two. It’s been on my list to buy I just have to brave the cold weather and go to the store lol .

  6. MichelleR
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 13:15:55

    I loved this book. I won a copy on Twitter, so I read it a while back. I agree entirely with your review — even about the ex being a weaker point.

    I liked that her internal dialog during the initial sex scenes showed a certain amount of anger turned inward for “slipping” and allowing her libido to take control. She felt she was regressing. By the end, she’d reached an acceptance of her desires, because for Chase it was never about using her. Plus, the.scenes.were.hot.

  7. May
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 13:47:47

    What she doesn't understand and has to come to grips with is that she needs to love and accept herself, all her flaws, her past mistakes, her weaknesses and her strengths because who she is is worth loving. And she's strong. When you read about her past and how she recreated herself, you realize how strong of a person Jane really is.

    I agree totally, and while I didn’t much like Jane in the place she was at in the book, I still loved the book. I wish the junk with the guy she dated had been eliminated and I’d seen a bit more of Jane realizing she’s strong. Getting over her freaking annoying prejudices on tattoos/non suited men. Being the cool girl I think she was on her way to being.

    V.Dahl = great. I look forward to her next offerings.

  8. katiebabs
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 14:08:52

    What about more licking of Chase’s arm tattoos from Jane? ;)

  9. Sayuri_x
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 14:16:09

    I flat out loved this.

  10. Kalen Hughes
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 14:22:35

    I LOVE Dahl’s contemps!!! I didn’t realize she had a new one out. Thanks for reviewing it and pointing me at it. *wiggles fingers in delight*

    She’s one of the few writers out there who writes heroines who actually seem like real people to me (like modern, 21st century women, more specifically).

  11. Elyssa Papa
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 14:26:25

    I absolutely loved this book. I loved Jane so, so much. And Chase was fantastic. I agree with you and @Robin, that LMO is a brave, gutsy book—the humor and the sexiness in it was just so well done. I really look forward to Vicki’s next book.

  12. SonomaLass
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 14:26:34

    I enjoyed all three of the Tumble Creek books; each hero and each heroine were different, and everyone I know has a different favorite, which is usually a good sign. I especially like how Dahl’s characters have something to learn about themselves through sex and it’s relationship to love. I never feel her (hot!) sex scenes are gratuitous, because they advance the romance and contribute to the maturing of the characters. And did I mention that they are hot?

    In this book, I admired the way she dealt with family, too. She didn’t make family members into cardboard villains, and she explored how one learns to cope with being related to, and loving, people with serious problems. And she did that without it getting too heavy/angsty — I appreciate the light touch. I smiled a lot reading this book.

  13. Robin
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 14:33:33

    I can’t believe no one’s mentioned Grandma Olive yet! She’s a female version of Alan Arkin’s character from Little Miss Sunshine, IMO.

  14. gwen hayes
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 14:34:02

    I was just talking about this book with someone this weekend and we both got kind of teary. Not because we are sappy–most people would agree we are not–just that everything was done so well. The character growth was just….I don’t want to give too much away. It just was. It made me go back to things in my own life that I was still holding onto and reflect on why.

    Most books don’t do that to me.

  15. Robin
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 14:52:33

    @gwen hayes: ITA. And I also felt a personal connection to the book, which may be part of my sympathy for Jane and my thrill at her own happy ending.

    But there were also so many unexpected turns Dahl chose, IMO. It was just such a huge pleasure and relief not to be able to predict every move and to know ahead of time what a character was going to say.

    I don’t think anything here is spoilery (I would have used these in a review if I had written one), but here are two of my favorite passages from the book:

    Jane Morgan was the female equivalent of dynamite. Innocuous and harmless…until it found a spark and exploded.

    Chase was doomed.

    How could a guy who loves to blow stuff up not be attracted to Jane? A perfect way to sum up her appeal to him, IMO.

    Jane looked back to the picture she’d been staring at for the past fifteen minutes. Most of the photos were posed family shots, but this one had been taken when she wasn’t paying attention. Instead of staring boldly at the camera with a smirk or a pout, she was sitting on the hood of Mac’s old truck, looking into the distance. Her knees were tucked up to her chest, her arms wrapped around her legs. Without the camouflage of a defiant glare, she looked very young. And sad. And lost. She looked like a girl grown men should have gone to jail for touching.

    Yes! This is the kind of depth I’ve been waiting for in Dahl’s writing and there was a good deal of it in Lead Me On.

  16. Claire
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 15:13:18

    “get your tits off him, you heifer”.. I loved that line!

  17. Julia Spencer-Fleming
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 15:32:41

    I’ve loved everything Victoria Dahl has written. I hadn’t realized this was out! Looks like I’ll be stopping at the bookstore on my way to pick up my daughter from her track meet tonight.

  18. Elyssa Papa
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 15:32:44

    @Robin, what about the most hilarious line: “A man couldn’t be judged on the depth of his thrusts alone.” Freaking hilarious.

    And, yes, Grandma Olive totally reminded me of Alan Arkin’s character from Little Miss Sunshine. I know Vicki’s said on Twitter that Grandma Olive was based on her own grandma, and I really could see the love there for both the character and her grandma.

  19. Jill Sorenson
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 16:58:00

    This book was just delivered to my doorstep. I’m petting it right now! Great review.

  20. Tae
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 17:07:41

    I may be one of the readers who feel uncomfortable with the subject matter. I’m not sure why, but just reading the review made me squirm. However, everyone’s comments makes me think the book is lighter than the review seems to make it out to be.
    Perhaps this is something for me to read when I’m not so mentally drained and tired from work.

  21. Bonnie
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 17:11:54

    I feel so left out!

    I gave her a try with Talk Me Down after I read all the rave reviews. I simply don’t get it.

    I think I’m too old for her. That’s probably it.

  22. MichelleR
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 17:33:33

    @Tae,
    Well, the author tends to have a quite mischievous sense of humor, and so there are always some light moments.

    @Jill,
    Pet? You’re petting the book? I’d consider it, but I have three dogs and a hubby that I need to pet first. Oh, and a bitchy cat.

    @Bonnie,
    Hmmmm. I’m curious about this topic: how experienced or “interested” heroines can be before they start to lose readers. I assume that’s what you mean by saying you’re too old. :)

  23. Bonnie
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 17:51:13

    @MichelleR:

    Michelle, I just found the dialogue too young. It was written well, but it just seemed silly to me. Again, probably because I’m older. It’s been a while since I’ve read it, so I can’t quote anything specific.

    I do recall that I didn’t feel any depth from either the the heroine or the hero. I got nothin’.

    I’ll call it up on my Kindle again and skim through it and see if I can offer a better explanation.

  24. Joanne
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 17:58:50

    @MichelleR:If you’re really curious, I’m older then rock and I like Ms Dahl’s writing very much. Sexual experience in a female character’s background isn’t a concern for me at all unless she’s stupid with her health and/or saftey.

    I understand what Bonnie is saying about ‘young’ dialogue but it wasn’t a problem for me with the previous books from this author.

    rant: I’d be reading this book right now if B&N had it in stock today, which they did not. Stacks of bargain “classics” in hardcovers but no new romances./rant

  25. Bonnie
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 18:03:17

    @Joanne:

    See, there you go. It’s probably not about age then. It’s just preference.

    And it’s definitely not the heroine’s experience.

    ETA: Jane, I love you, but why doesn’t the site remember me anymore? :)

  26. Bonnie
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 18:06:06

    @Joanne:

    And Joanne… “older than rock”. LOL. Welcome to my world. :)

  27. Jane
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 18:07:36

    @Bonnie I don’t know. I wondered if this problem had resolved but apparently not. Will consult the theme creators and hopefully solve it.

  28. fakename
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 18:14:36

    Ignore me. Just testing.

  29. Bonnie
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 18:18:44

    Jane and all involved:

    I’m sorry, it seems to be okay. I hadn’t signed in. I didn’t have to do that in the past. Hopefully it’ll stick.

  30. MichelleR
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 18:30:29

    I’m in my forties, but I keep forgetting that — it’s either a young at heart thing or the beginning of senility.

  31. Bonnie
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 18:35:54

    @MichelleR:

    Michelle, I’m 51 and I behave as a 31 year old. Trust me, it’s not about feeling my age. Talk Me Down just didn’t work for me. I assumed it was an age thing, but apparently not. I guess when I was reading it I viewed it as a YA book.

  32. MichelleR
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 18:43:07

    I hope I didn’t come across as critical rather than curious. I’m a sucker for book discussions, and it’s more fun with differing opinions. :)

  33. Bonnie
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 18:46:40

    @MichelleR:

    Michelle, I didn’t get that at all. No worries. I like to discuss books as well.

    And I mean to disrespect to Ms. Dahl.

  34. Jocelyn Z.
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 20:45:34

    @Bonnie, I think I understand what you mean about the “younger” dialog – I don’t think that the subject matter of Dahl’s contemporaries is YA approriate at all, but breezy tone combined with a fairly spare writing style is something that we see more often in YA writing. I love that in the narritive, though it grated slightly in the dialog in one spot for me in LMO (the french-fry scene) it never jarred me out of the book. I wasn’t conciously aware of it until you made that comment.

    You might be more interested in Dahl’s historicals, especially “A Rake’s Guide”, which shows off her writing style but has denser dialog.

    I really loved this book because of how Jane treated the nastier things in life as normal (which they are) but avoidable (which they usually are), instead of just ignoring them completely. I often feel like contemps are set in a PG movie instead of the real world, and it bugs the hell out of me. With Dahl’s writing, it’s the real world, and that makes everything else so much better.

  35. Robin
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 21:14:32

    @Elyssa Papa: Oh, yeah, I tweeted that line, lol. That’s the point where I knew I was gonna love the book.

    @Tae: While there is a strong comedic sensibility to the book, I wouldn’t really characterize it as light. It’s funny, but IMO it doesn’t minimize the issues Jane’s dealing with, however that affects your comfort with reading it.

    @Bonnie: IMO this is a very different book from Talk Me Down, in part because Jane and Molly are very different types of women. Although both are very sexually frank books, to be sure.

  36. Bonnie
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 21:17:37

    @Jocelyn Z.:

    Jocelyn:

    I think I understand what you mean about the “younger” dialog – I don't think that the subject matter of Dahl's contemporaries is YA approriate at all, but breezy tone combined with a fairly spare writing style is something that we see more often in YA writing.

    Exactly. Thank you for this.

  37. Bonnie
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 21:21:35

    @Robin:

    IMO this is a very different book from Talk Me Down, in part because Jane and Molly are very different types of women. Although both are very sexually frank books, to be sure.

    Thanks for this, Robin. I forget, is this a series? Can I skip to this book?

  38. Bonnie
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 21:29:55

    Oh, and look! We have numbers! Thanks girls!

  39. Robin
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 21:51:15

    @Bonnie: Yes, you can definitely skip to this book. It’s written to introduce previous protags to readers who haven’t read either SMU or TMD.

  40. LizaL
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 22:17:42

    Victoria Dahl is a favorite. This was one of the first romances I’ve waited longingly for (I’m still sort of new to the genre- my roommate hooked me with a Crusie a couple years ago). The review captured many of my feelings- I liked Jane with all of her issues, although she seemed so clear on her issues, that I grew impatient sometimes. I like flawed characters, but don’t enjoy heavy implication that the point of view character will soon Learn her Lesson. It’s harder to appreciate the protagonist’s point of view when the author makes it very clear that it is Wrong. The contrasting of men who work with their hands (Chase isn’t really “working class” is he?) with professional, men moved toward stereotype, although I appreciate that this is Jane’s perspective. I know plenty of thinkin’ men who like to rebuild bikes, work on cars, hunt, dig holes (and have crazy wild sex)- just as I know men who build engines all day, who also like to read and talk politics. But I suppose if Jane can learn she was wrong about Chase, we can assume she is also wrongly stereotyping the bland professionals. And it is implied that Jane liked the bland men she dated, they just didn’t get her going like the men she’d grown up around.
    I agree that the Greg character and his subplot were perfunctory and extraneous. Start Me Up and Talk Me Down had similar problems with their villains, as if they all needed a bit more length to make the danger real and the villainous plots mesh with the more developed trajectory of the love stories. Although I liked it that Jane got to punch Greg and save herself! Dahl’s sets her heroines on equal footing with their men, which appeals to me. I really enjoyed Lead Me On in spite of the flaws I’m picking at here, and I hope this is not the last of the Tumble Creek books! Dahl writes some of the sexiest sex scenes I’ve encountered (I never skip them to get back to the story).

  41. Eliza Evans
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 22:26:51

    I really, really loved Lead Me On — I even bonded with a girl in the bookstore the other day after I saw she had it in her stack.

    I really love how Dahl was willing to let Jane be so, so flawed. Maybe I liked Jane because I can see myself in her, a little.

    I’ve been reading Megan Hart, too, after someone mentioned her, and now I’m feeling more inspired for the heroine in my manuscript. Anyone have suggestions (contemp or historical, but maybe not suspense) of books with heroines like Jane?

  42. Sabrina M.
    Jan 06, 2010 @ 04:56:18

    What really annoyed me about this book is that Mac (Jane’s stepdad) would not have waited four years to put a stop to Jane’s behaviour.
    He would have never allowed her to leave home at night dressed like a cheap whore. And people would have told him about it immediately so there’s no way that Jane would have been able to drink and sleep around for four years without any consequences by Mac.

    There also would have been unwanted pregnancies and diseases after four years of sleeping around and I don’t like that this point was never really mentioned.
    This part of Jane’s past seemed so forced and illogical and that’s why I couldn’t really enjoy the rest of the book.

    I really love romances but some basic logic and sense of reality are a must for me.

  43. Jane
    Jan 06, 2010 @ 08:02:21

    @Sabrina M.: I got the sense that Mac really wasn’t that great of a dad. I mean, he tried but look at the mess that the brother made of his life. Further, as a parent, you can try to put a stop to a lot of things in a kid’s life and they still act out.

    The diseases and pregnancies? Yeah, Jane was pretty lucky there.

  44. Gina
    Jan 06, 2010 @ 09:19:52

    The nook my kids bought me for xmas will be here on Monday.. perhaps this should be my first buy? I need to fill it up for my upcoming trip to chilly FLorida

  45. Kalen Hughes
    Jan 06, 2010 @ 09:29:29

    There also would have been unwanted pregnancies and diseases after four years of sleeping around and I don't like that this point was never really mentioned.

    Why is this a foregone conclusion? Plenty of us were more than a tad “slutty” (and I honestly don't mean this in a derogatory way, since I'm talking about myself and I wouldn't change a thing) in our younger years and managed to avoid both.

  46. Lori
    Jan 06, 2010 @ 10:09:26

    Thank you Kalen! A big ditto from me.

    I loved the earlier books of this series and have ordered this one. Ms. Dahl is an auto-buy for me now.

  47. Robin
    Jan 06, 2010 @ 11:28:56

    re. Mac, I think there are several clues we get about his parenting (or rather, lack thereof). First, he was Jane’s stepfather and, on top of that, he entered the house unexpectedly — both he and Jane’s mother never expected him to be released, despite his innocence. Then there’s the fact that Jane’s mother wasn’t exactly welcoming of Mac at first, and the fact that she was somewhat scared of men generally. Not to mention Mac’s own anger at being incarcerated unjustly. Taken together, how functional could that household really have been?

    Also, I got the impression that people only kept Mac informed later on, NOT while Jane was running wild. Even he admits at one point that he let her running around go on too long, and I think that’s also key.

    I rarely judge a book’s authenticity by the example of my own life, but as a child of upper middle class, corporate, “normal” parents, in a family that appeared from the outside to be happy and well-adjusted, I could still relate to Jane. I ran wild starting at age 16, and I don’t know whether my parents didn’t notice or willfully ignored it, but neither intervened or gave any indication they knew what was going on. Now if the cops ever had me in custody and called my parents, things likely would have changed drastically. But fortunately or unfortunately, that never happened to me. ;)

    Oh, and another ditto on the “not necessarily” for disease and pregnancy thing.

  48. CupK8
    Jan 06, 2010 @ 12:36:13

    I think Lead Me On is my favorite Dahl so far. I love her historicals, but Jane was definitely a character I related to. It is… eerie how much of myself I saw in Jane. And obviously, from the comments in this thread, I am not the only one.

    RE: the disease/pregnancy thing – I got the sense that Jane realized just how lucky she was. “There, but for the grace of God, go I,” as my mother has frequently said to me.

  49. Sabrina M.
    Jan 06, 2010 @ 12:46:25

    Ladies, I can understand your points but I just can’t believe that Mac wouldn’t have realized what Jane did when she was twelve. That’s just completly illogical and not possible to me.
    She couldn’t even stay at the biker bar for 5 minutes without someone calling Mac, so someone would definitely have talked to him when she was a 12 year old.
    And I honestly think that Mac was a good father and would have done something to stop Jane destroying herself.

    Regarding the pregnancies and diseases it’s more than possible to catch something when you sleep around for four years with the guys Jane did. I don’t say it’s a must to get pregnant or a disease, I just wished that there was a comment about it in the book.

    I really wanted to like the book because I enjoyed the other two in the series a lot but I just can’t get over what’s bothering me.

  50. Robin
    Jan 06, 2010 @ 13:05:37

    @Sabrina M.: Is it that you couldn’t believe Mac as presented wasn’t a more engaged father or that a guy like Mac wouldn’t be a more engaged father? If it’s the first, then I think the novel speaks otherwise. If it’s the second, then I think that’s a slightly different issue.

    IMO it’s entirely possible that Mac knew exactly what Jane was doing. But just look at his fatherly example to his now-adult children. How involved and engaged is he? He’s pissed at Jessie and won’t speak to him or bail him out of jail; he seems to spend most of his time in his shop or office; he doesn’t approach Jane – she approaches him.

    And not that good parents can’t have screwed up kids, but BOTH those kids have big problems. Does Jessie seem like he had a strong fatherly influence on him? Not to me.

    Not everyone knows how to be an effective parent, even those who love their children/step children. Outside of that one time when Mac picks Jane up at the police station, I don’t think we have any evidence in the novel of him being an engaged or proactive parent. How long has Jessie been running around stealing purses? It’s not like Mac’s picking him up at the bar.

    I think it’s very clear Mac loves both Jane and Jessie, but I think the novel presents him as a relatively remote parent/step-parent.

  51. Sabrina M.
    Jan 06, 2010 @ 13:45:16

    @Robin
    I get Mac as an involved parent. The reason that Mac is not bailing out Jessie is that he realizes that it was done too often in the past. He wants him to finally realize that jail is no joke.
    I seem to get Mac in a very different light than others do. It’s just impossible to me that he would have been passive about Jane sleeping around with 12.
    I guess we have to agree to disagree and I really hope that I will like the next book by Victoria Dahl a lot more than I did “Lead me on”.

  52. MichelleR
    Jan 06, 2010 @ 21:54:34

    I think Mac, being Jane’s stepfather, perhaps didn’t step into the parenting role immediately — perhaps didn’t feel comfortable or worthy of the role. Later on, he realized that was a mistake and that he failed her at first.

  53. April
    Jan 06, 2010 @ 23:31:10

    Aw…can’t wait to read this one. I love all Victoria Dahl’s books.

    But lord save us from suspense storylines messing up a good romance! It’s all about the internal conflict.

  54. Elle
    Jan 07, 2010 @ 12:09:24

    “Get your tits off him, you heifer!”

    Interesting that others loved this line, since it is very nearly a deal breaker for me. I really dislike that type of verbal bitch-slapping for whatever reason, particularly when it is meant to show the heroine getting feisty. Which is too bad, since I liked Victoria Dahl’s historical romances and the plot and characters (particularly Jane) in LMO sound interesting–vaguely reminiscent of Megan Hart’s Dirty.

  55. rebyj
    Jan 07, 2010 @ 15:08:27

    I think it’s some pretty good writing if the characters were so vivid that they incite such strong opinions.
    I’m about half way thru the book right now and I know women like Jane. If you see her in walmart you better NOT call her the name she used in highschool or she’ll remember quick how to regress long enough to tuck the cross that dangles from a chain into her blouse and kick your ass!

    I’m enjoying the book, it’s funny , it’s engaging, the romance is hot and oh yeah, “Grandma Olive” followed me around on my wedding day telling me I better have condoms or I’d be knocked up by sunrise. 200 times she said this. In hearing of the minister, and everyone else in attendance LOL.

  56. MichelleR
    Jan 07, 2010 @ 16:44:57

    The get your tits off him line worked because it showed what was underneath the cool, professional exterior. That you can take the girl out of the trailer park…

  57. Lori S.
    Jan 07, 2010 @ 16:46:26

    Can’t wait to read this!

  58. Tammy D
    Jan 07, 2010 @ 18:49:49

    I enjoyed this book so much, it was funny, smart, touching and full of heart. Jane was heartbreakingly real, and Chase was a hero to die for. He’s definitely made my top five heroes list. This book also contained the best.line.ever.: “He was the human version of comfort food. Bad for her. Delicious.” Also loved Chase’s reference to buying “big boy clothes” when he dressed up for a date. So cute.

    I cried when: Quinn (her boss) expressed how he felt about Jane and wrapped his arms around her. “Panic exploded through her. Not because she thought he meant something inappropriate, but because he didn’t. He honestly respected her. He loved the women she pretended to be, and that made something deep inside her ache”. My heart broke for her. Jane was a complicated heroine but I loved all her messy emotions and layers. I also loved how Chase accepted her and respected her, but respected himself enough to set limits with her.

  59. RachelT
    Jan 08, 2010 @ 05:24:13

    Another thumbs up from me. I think I have already found my 2010 hero – big, bad, gorgeous and kind – what more could a girl want!

    Nobody has mentioned Jane’s mother’s parenting skills. I found her explanation of the serial fathers to be interesting. It demonstrated that within her limited means, and in the light of her own experience, she was trying really hard to provide Jane with a safe home.

    I think the ability to present serious matters within this genre is very clever – look how much discussion this book, which appears light and fluffly on first appearance, has led to. I’m already looking forward to her next book and I only finished this one an hour ago (I really must do some work now).

    Thanks Victoria.

    Rachel

  60. REVIEW: ‘Lead Me On’ (2010) by Victoria Dahl
    Jan 11, 2010 @ 04:35:58

    [...] Jane at Dear Author – B+ [...]

  61. Annmarie
    Jan 11, 2010 @ 20:10:36

    I loved this entire series.

    This hero made my girl parts quiver. The heroine was perfectly drawn.

    The tattoo? Made me drool.

  62. Review: Lead Me On, by Victoria Dahl: Does Socioeconomic Class Determine Sexual Morality? « Racy Romance Reviews
    Feb 01, 2010 @ 20:37:37

    [...] Author, Jane, B+ It's really beautiful to see Jane gain her courage and embrace her confidence at the end of the [...]

  63. Nicole
    Feb 28, 2010 @ 14:42:59

    I really enjoyed this book. I thought that Jane was a flawed character, and I liked that her problems seemed real, and not manufactured for the sake of the story. I do agree that the Greg storyline was weak and seemed unnecessary. And I liked that both Jane and Chase had a lot of growing to do, even after the end of the story. They have family issues to sort out together, but I get a good feeling when I think of them doing it together. I think I enjoyed this more than the other Tumble Creek books, although I think they’re all excellent. I will always read anything by Victoria Dahl, and I think her contemporaries are especially amazing.

  64. Thursday Midday Links: The RITA Version
    Mar 31, 2011 @ 11:02:05

    [...] unusual. Dahl’s heroines have been castigated by readers for being amoral and unlikeable. (I’m a fan, full disclosure). Sherry Thomas was also nominated for His at Night and Joanna Bourne for The [...]

  65. REVIEW: Close Enough to Touch by Victoria Dahl
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 14:02:12

    [...] along with the other Donovan books, by Robin) and the very funny  Lead Me On (given a B+ here by Jane)– and you’re hilarious on Twitter. This book, however, wasn’t funny, [...]

  66. Close Enough to Touch by Victoria Dahl | the passionate reader
    Mar 01, 2014 @ 12:35:45

    […] along with the other Donovan books, by Robin) and the very funny  Lead Me On (given a B+ here by Jane)– and you’re hilarious on Twitter. This book, however, wasn’t funny, sexy, or […]

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