She was the perfect party-planning, haute-to-the max trophy wife. Now Maxine Cambridge is broke, unemployable and living with her mother and teenage son in a retirement village, with her self-esteem kicked to the curb.
Until her geeky former classmate Campbell Barker returns, all grown-up- and off-the-scale smokin’ hot. Campbell refuses to believe Max isn’t that smart, funny girl he’s crushed on since high school. The more Max tries to show him he’s wrong, the more she rediscovers her long-retired mojo. Now, she’s ready to throw down some payback on her ex-life and fight for what she deserves…
This isn’t a new book by any stretch, and Dakota’s been around a while. Hell, Nat’s been reviewing her for forevah. I even met Dakota at the Romantic Times Booklovers’ Convention in Columbus, Ohio in 2010. I watched her win her award and get her tiara and cry and it was fantastic. I loved her from that moment. Made a point of picking up one of her books at the Saturday book fair because of the crying and the tiara. I friended her on Facebook, followed her on Twitter… and the book got shifted to a spot on my bookshelf that I haven’t quite found again.
Why? I don’t know.
I mean, I freaking adore Dakota. She’s smart and funny and makes me wish I was as fabulous as she is. For some reason, whenever it came time to choose what to read next though, her books were never on the list.
Until a couple weeks ago.
I hit a bit of a reading slump. Truly, other than the Original Sinners series, I’ve been having a tough time loving anything I’ve been reading. And then I spied You Dropped a Blonde on Me on my shelf and wondered. I read something else first and then I looked at it again. I was honestly afraid to pick up the book, convinced it was one of those “It’s not you; it’s me” situations, only with a literary bent.
But nothing else was speaking to me… just that damn title kept echoing in my head. So I finally picked it up.
Dakota Cassidy, if you weren’t happily married, I’d be proposing.
This book made me believe in happily ever after like no other romance ever has. Why? Because the characters, as over-the-top as some of them seemed (or at least as over-the-top as the situation seemed to a girl like me), I never once doubted they could be real. Max’s foibles, and there were many, echoed so much of what I have heard in the past from newly divorced friends. Her drive to not fall prey to another man–any other man–for fear she’d choose wrong again hit a chord that freaking sang. Dress that up in what had to be the very worst type of divorce situation imaginable, and I wanted to take Max and Connor and offer them our guest room.
Then there’s Campbell. Sweet, patient, ridiculously handsome Campbell. There’s a “rule” in romance about not making a hero too perfect. Quite frankly, Dakota Cassidy took that rule and stomped on it in the very best way possible. The guy did practically everything right, and it worked so well to balance Max’s fear and panic attacks and neuroses that had he been “faulty,” it would have been too much. Instead, he was the yang to her yin–an absolutely perfect fit. *happy sigh*
The rest of the cast was equally amazing. Even the ridiculous antics of Lacey (the other woman) and the asshattery of soon-to-be-ex-husband Finley fit. Somehow in this book, what might seem absurd elsewhere felt absolutely natural and right. As a romance author, You Dropped a Blonde on Me was like a master class in character creation. I am in awe, Ms. Cassidy, and I’m sorry it took me this long to come over to the glam side.
I’m here now, and I’m not leaving anytime soon.