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4.3 out of 5
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    Sexy addition to a great series!

    This is the 3rd story (fourth if you count the prequel novella) in the Jackson:Girl's Night Out series and combines heat, laughs and some emotional moments on the way to a happy ever after for Veronica and Gabe. Veronica has moved back home to Jackson Hole, Wyoming after a stint in New York that showed her that sometimes your dreams are better off not fulfilled. Her experience there was disappointing and she's come home to lick her wounds and get to work on her literary career. First up - a position as advice columnist for the local paper, something she feels she is doing fraudulently (especially the sex part, being a virgin!) but one that for some reason she seems to have a knack for. Enter Gabe, the sexy, rugged new librarian who at first sees the high society type woman Veronica tries to project before realizing there is a sweet and funny girl underneath. They hit it off and Gabe has no qualms about helping Veronica gain some bedroom experience. But Gabe doesn't plan to stay in Wyoming, his family responsibilities having a hold on him in New York. When his father becomes ill, will Gabe choose to stay with Veronica or take up the family business and leave her and the life he loves behind? Kudos to the author for putting a male in a relatively non-traditional role as a librarian! It was great to see that, as it's more often that romance novels will feature women in male centric roles, as opposed to the other way around. Gabe is a handsome and confident man, well rounded with his interest in outdoor activities like camping and rock climbing (including becoming involved in outdoor rescues) while at the same time being excited about library science and the new role of digital media. That's the reason he's been hired to work at the Jackson Hole library, to help upgrade their systems and it's clear that he loves his job. He really comes across as a nice guy, fun to be with, friendly and caring. It took me a little while to feel the chemistry between Veronica and Gabe, and I think that was because her outward appearance as a successful New Yorker didn't feel right - and indeed it was just a mask. Once her real character starts to shine through, the attraction between her and Gabe was totally believable. Their obvious attraction to each other leads to several very steamy scenes. Gabe is an 'ahem' "oral" expert and his skills are definitely at play here. For Veronica, who's had limited sexual experience it's a brand new world, one that Gabe delights in teaching her. But he does it in a sweet and understanding way, never making Veronica feel embarrassed or foolish for her lack of knowledge. I really liked that about Gabe's character, that he took things at a slower pace with her to let her be comfortable with him, at the same time challenging her in other areas of her life. He takes her rock climbing, something that is completely out of her comfort zone and challenges her while keeping her safe and giving her confidence in herself. This confidence begins to leak into other areas of her life as well, into her relationships with her friends, her father, and in her job. Her transition from the start of the story to the end was wonderful to read. Interestingly as she gains this confidence, it's Gabe who struggles. His feelings about his family and his father and their restaurant business back in New York are at odds with the life he is enjoying with Veronica and his friends here. The weight of his perceived responsibilities is heavy and when his father becomes ill, he has to make some decisions, ones that will affect his future with Veronica with whom he is falling in love. And Veronica isn't satisfied being second, or last anymore. She's learned to stand up for herself thanks to Gabe, which may be his downfall or his salvation. Of course we can't have a story in a series called Girl's Night Out without some girl time. Veronica's friends Lauren (also Gabe's work colleague) and Isabelle ( an artist) have been featured in previous stories, but here they are the support group for Veronica, encouraging her with her advice column and in particular her once a week bar stint where she answers customers questions in a live version of her column. At the beginning, she keeps most things to herself, but in opening herself up to Gabe she realizes that she should be doing the same with her girlfriends too, and it makes their friendship richer and more meaningful as a result. With a beautiful setting, fun and interesting characters and a very sexy romance, this is a great addition to the series. 4 stars.
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    All about relationships

    Veronica Chandler looks like she has it all together. Gorgeous, well-dressed and confident, she offers advice to the people of Jackson as the resident advice columnist, Dear Veronica. Only, she knows that she is a fraud. Under of all this is a scared, insecure woman just waiting to be outed. Veronica lost her mom as a young child and was bullied and tormented in school by her stepbrother and his friends, resulting in her insecurity and self-esteem issues. Even her move to New York for fours years did not help as she had hoped. So far, she's been able to fake her way through her job but now that her column has been expanded to include weekly live interactive sessions, Veronica is terrified that this is the beginning of her downfall. Until a sexy and cute librarian helps her learn to embrace her quirks. Gabe Mackenzie is taking a year to enjoy his freedom and indulge in his love for rock climbing and hiking because at the end of the year, he has to return to New York and take over the management of the family business from his father and Jackson Hole, Wyoming is the perfect place to do that. His first impression of Veronica Chandler? High-maintenance. As he gets to know her, he realizes that she really is cute and very sweet and her wackiness is very endearing. And the sex? Very hot! I really enjoyed Gabe and Veronica. Gabe is confident and laid-back, the perfect person to draw Veronica out of her shell and it doesn't hurt that he finds all her quirks attractive. With Gabe, Veronica learns to love herself and embrace the things that make her different. While Veronica does not appear to fit in with the self-assured and confident heroines Ms. Dahl is famous for, she is perfect for her job because she has experienced pretty much everything she offers advice on and her friendships with Lauren and Isabelle and relationship with Gabe help grow her self-assurance. Their conversations and witty banter were very humorous and fun to read and I really liked how Veronica was unafraid to ask for what she wanted in the sack. TAKING THE HEAT got me thinking about family and relationship dynamics, the importance of honesty and support and how these affected the relationships both Gabe and Veronica had with their families and each other. This is a really cute story, not just about a sweet and smart but insecure woman and the seriously sexy guy that helps her overcome her insecurities, but also about the importance of following your dreams even if they don't align with family expectations. Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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    Awesome story with a beautiful underlying message.

    Victoria Dahl is an author that I have read a couple of times in the past. Her writing I enjoyed. Found it to be sultry, sensitive and comedic. She takes deep subjects and writes her interpretations on paper. Her stories are actually quite good. I received an ARC of Taking the Heat in exchange for an honest review. Veronica allowed others perceptions of her to shape who she became. As an adult she was still trying to prove herself to people who didn't even matter. Gabe is determined to show himself and his family he is more than what they want for him. Perception plays a big part in this story. However what neither realized is that in order to become who you were meant to be, you have to allow your heart to guide you. This is a really awesome story with a beautiful underlying message.
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