REVIEW: Talk This Way by Dakota Cassidy
Dear Ms. Cassidy:
I didn’t think I could be surprised by an author. Oh, I’m well aware of the idea that authors can be good at multiple things and write in a variety of styles. However, I’ve only known you as being the queen of the sexy, outlandish and dirty-mouthed passion. And yet you absolutely and totally blew me away with your contemporary novella, “Talk this Way.” It’s a prequel, of sorts, to “Talk Dirty to Me,” which will be covered in another review. I have to say that I was delighted, in some of the best ways, by the thoughtful and sensitive writing combined with page-blazing sexiness.
Catherine Butler is a woman on a mission to get her mother the best medical care possible. There’s only one teensy, tiny problem – she has abysmal luck keeping jobs – and men. If she doesn’t get bored with them, something happens that just ends things. The latest job slides through her fingers thanks to handsome, charismatic and occasionally clueless Flynn McGrady. Flynn’s mother is in the same exclusive rehabilitation facility as Cat’s – and he’s livid with her for giving his mother a smutty romance novel (oh, the irony!). Not only that, but Cat’s the darling of the facility, taking time to get to know all of the patients and to do something a little special for each one of them every day. With the help of Landon, one of the younger patients at the facility, Cat’s able to land a job that will keep her mother in the facility and her out of the poorhouse. There’s just one small catch – it’s managing a phone sex operation! Cat has to not only reconcile with her new career, but also telling Flynn before it’s too late, all while caring for the group of operators under Landon’s care, a motley collection of “companionators” and outcasts who’ve been given another chance at a great life.
All I can say is that this novella was absolutely luscious. I loved Cat. I love the way she gives to everyone she meets and stands up for the underdogs. In a world of quirky heroines, she stands out to me simply because she –gives-. Even when she has nothing, she has a smile for Flynn’s mother, who’s had a stroke. She has a cupcake for someone who was having a birthday. She organizes “you’re sprung” parties for those going home. No, she’s not one of those perfect heroines who has everything together and doesn’t need anyone. Cat’s flawed – and so is Flynn. And that’s quite alright. Part of Cat’s charm is that she’s not found the place to settle down yet. In a world filled with pressure to be good at just one or two things – work, motherhood, relationships, fifty-yard-brownie-dash – Cat’s a Renaissance woman, the total package. For me, Flynn is a little lackluster. I wanted a bit more from him – he comes across as a little sweet, a little fumbling, but mostly the sexy man candy for Cat to booty bounce on.
Now, before you go thinking that this is going to be some “Pretty Woman” schmaltz, let me clarify something. All of the women Landon has taken in are strong, beautiful, powerful women in their own right – survivors. They may not look or act like typical heroines, but each one of those ladies has a story to share – and they do, in an amazingly funny, non-preachy way. And some of them are also going to be getting their own books!
My absolute favorite character, however, is Landon. Slowly throughout the novella we find out bits and pieces of this man’s history. He’s in his 40s, gay, rich, and has a penchant for collecting stray people to him. I’d say he collects people like stray kittens, but most of the people he collects could more appropriately be termed stray tigers. The progression of character growth centered on him astounded me. And yes, by the end of the book, I was sobbing and frantically searching Amazon for more. I wanted more and I wanted it RIGHT NOW.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed myself in this book. It was a decided departure from the “Accidentally” series and everything else I’ve read of your backlist. It showcased a softer side of Dakota Cassidy and felt a bit more tightly structured than other books, less…slapdash isn’t quite the right word. It’s more like, in your paranormals, characters tend to be rushing headlong into things at an almost frantic pace. This one, though, had a more relaxed air. I know that works set in your Plum Orchard universe have come before – and they’re new to me. I’ll be slowly adding them to my Kindle – after I tear through everything else I can find in the “Talk…” series. B
Dearly Wishing to find Her Landon,