REVIEW: Viva Las Bad Boys by HelenKay Dimon
Dear Ms. Dimon:
After this book, I am on an anthology diet because as a general rule, I find them dissatisfying. Your stories, particularly your first two, were like a breath of fresh air through the stale anthology shelf.
Viva Las Bad Boys is set, well, in Las Vegas, of course. It features three stories that take place at the The Berkley Hotel and Casino, a premiere luxury destination on the Strip. All three stories feature great dialogue with funny and smart exchanges between the hero and heroine. If that is your hallmark, I’ll be buying alot of your books. Good dialogue, particular flirtatious funny banter, is as rare as it is enjoyable. The last story didn’t really live up to the standards set in the first two but not by too much.
I hesitate to say much about your stories because I don’t want to spoil the fun reveal that takes place while reading. Jackpot features a jilted bride and a man jilted by his business partner. Not all is what it seems. This is a deception story and what makes it work is that the character being deceived doesn’t mind being deceived because initially their encounter is all about the sex. When it grows into something more, the characters are savvy enough to realize when someone is actually trying to hurt them and when they are trying to help. The Big Mis would have been an easy way to pad the story but you avoided that dreadful trap and ended with a strong, believable HEA. B for this entry.
Green light. He leaned forward, letting her soft fragrance drift around him. “You know, Laine, I just might be the man to help you with that.”
She snorted. “Is that a line?”
Oh, yeah, he definitely needed more liquor. A new move might not be a bad idea either. He slid back on the uncomfortable stool and signaled for the cocktail waitress to bring him a big glass of something dark and unholy.
“Admittedly that wasn't my best work. Maybe the dry air is throwing me off,” he blustered his way through the ego beating. “I might need to reassess my strategy.”
“No need. It works for you somehow.”
Player’s Club showcases a different type of heroine: one who is self aware. She was devoted to her job, but also recognized that she had power as a woman. This is so rare in books these days, particularly contemporary ones. The heroine is a consultant hired by the hotel to reform the bad boy cook. The heroine catches the bad boy chef in a compromising situation and the way in which she deals with that scene is hysterical. No stammering, no blushes, just cool, calm manner which caused the hero to feel quite awkward. The heroine and chef engage in a steamy game of one upmanship (perfect for a Vegas themed book) wherein both end up winning. B for this one too.
The fall ended with his head wedged between her soft breasts and his upper body flush against hers. The position was a little piece of heaven. His bottom half certainly thought so and swelled in welcome.
“What exactly was that supposed to be?” She choked out the question.
Too much to hope she'd be so wowed by his masterful skill to be upset about the tumble. “That didn't go as planned.”
“What, did you plan to throw me out the window and missed?”
Two of a Kind portrays a jet set hotel critic and Alex Mitchell, the hotel’s manager. The two of them get stuck in the casino’s spa when the blackout takes place. TOAK is another deception story wherein the hotel critic hides her identity from Alex. Alex doesn’t find out until late and his accusations against the critic were valid. I liked this story less as it seemed to be a bit disjointed and I didn’t find the quick resolution to the couple’s problems believable as I did in the previous two. C+ for this one.
Overall, this was a good anthology with great dialogue, good humor and belieavable HEAs. Based on the first two novellas, I can’t wait for your single title: Your Mouth Makes Me Crazy.
PS. Love the Bellagio and the Shinto restaurant in particular.