Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Forever
Released on December 11, 2012
I have been bouncing all over this Colorado Mountain series, but fortunately, its written in such a way that I can get away with that. Sweet Dreams has long been most people’s favorite not only of this series, but all of the author’s books. I’ve read some pretty spectacular ones from her so that’s saying a lot. It was with great anticipation that I dove into this one and like Pavlov’s dog, I’ve become addicted to reading Tate Jackson wishing his Laurie Grahame ‘sweet dreams’.
Sweet Dreams is the second book in a series of loosely connected standalones in the Colorado Mountain series. As I said, I’ve read later books and still haven’t read the first which hasn’t been a problem at all. Though, that said, I can see how getting to know these earlier characters and situations make some of the mentions in passing later on, make better sense.
Sweet Dreams opens with former suburbanite and ex-wife and high class white collar worker, Laurie Grahame in a small backwater Colorado town, living in a hotel, and just starting as a bar waitress at a biker bar. Talk about uprooting herself, but Laurie is determined to find something utterly new from what she ad before with her ex who made her feel inadequate and average and that was before he slept with her best friend for two years before admitting it.
Unfortunately, the surly and hot Tate Jackson, part owner of the bar, might put a real problem in her plans because he makes it clear that ‘fat-butt, middle-aged, soft women’ like her are not wanted. I had a Jane Austen moment right then. Mr. Darcy insulted Elizabeth Bennet’s looks and set her stubbornly against him and Tate’s remark delivered loudly and cuttingly in his anger at the situation reached lows that even Darcy couldn’t touch. He couldn’t know that her self-esteem which was in tatters after her ex gaslighted her for years would make it nearly impossible to restore what he broke. But, leave it to a badass sexy biker bad boy alpha hero to try.
It was fireworks from the get-go and then Laurie digs her heels in and decides that she won’t let him make her slink away. She works hard to make it as a bar waitress to bikers and locals, she works hard to get her body that was built the last few years on stress eating through the end of her marriage back to condition, and she works very hard to get her instant attraction for the wrong guy Tate out of her system while making friends around town and finding a home she didn’t expect.
Meanwhile, once he said those words, Tate got a wake-up call and when she stubbornly held her ground and held her grudge, Tate was forced to fight for a woman worth fighting for. Then, a serial killer is discovered loose in their town going after single, unprotected woman, and Tate’s past makes Laurie rethink letting anything start between them even though its hard to ignore or move on from a guy who protects your very life and stands by you through some really hard times. He may be an alpha-jerk, but that isn’t all he is.
The tempestuous romance was work for both Tate and Laurie because they came with piles of luggage and attitude. This is the blueprint for the majority of the author’s couples. Laurie being emotionally abused and Tate, though he would never admit it, went through his own brand of something similar with his ex explore their spicy hot attraction of opposites, but also the thorny tangles of healing each other from their pasts. It was a two steps forward three steps back progress for the longest time. I usually get fed up with this author’s heroines when they go full-on drama and usually for no reason I can tell and Laurie is like that at times, but, I did much better with this one because there is balance- they both can stir up the drama in their own ways. Both have flaws, but I loved how they didn’t just bring out the worst, but also the strength and best in each other.
There is also the suspense element of the serial killer grabbing women to torture, rape, and kill that kept things intense at times. But, also with the suspense were the regular arrivals into scenes of their crazy exes. Eyerolling at times, but wow, were they ‘whacked’.
Oh my glands, I said ‘whacked’ after swearing that I could go a while without seeing that word or ‘um’ or ‘babe’, etc for a while. Yeah, the story was strong and consuming, but the dialogue per usual is an adjustment. A woman can be a business exec, but she still talks like a ditz within seconds of arriving in town. I had to laugh when Tate spoke full sentences more often than she did at one point. The one-word back and forth can get trying, but not enough to quit the story which was emotional and engaging through to the end.
All in all, I was glad to get my turn at this story and I can definitely see what all the fuss is about. It won’t be for everyone due to the alpha behavior (though stick around long enough and the reader will see that she can dish it as much as him) and the dialogue and the mental monologuing, but there is a solid story and characters that will draw in those who love Bad Boy Small Town Romances.
Mt. TBR #73