Looking for Trouble
Harlequin HQN / July 29, 2014 / $7.99 print, digital
A good reason to be bad
Librarian Sophie Heyer has walked the straight and narrow her entire life to make up for her mother's mistakes. But in tiny Jackson Hole, Wyoming, juicy gossip doesn't just fade away. Falling hard for the sexiest biker who's ever ridden into town would undo everything she's worked for. And to add insult to injury, the alluring stranger is none other than Alex Bishop—the son of the man Sophie's mother abandoned her family for. He may be temptation on wheels, but Sophie's not looking for trouble!
Maybe Sophie's buttoned-up facade fools some, but Alex knows a naughty smile when he sees one. Despite their parents' checkered pasts, he's willing to take some risks to find out the truth about the town librarian. He figures a little fling might be just the ticket to get his mind off his own family drama. But what he finds underneath Sophie's prim demeanor might change his world in ways he never expected.
There’s nothing like a little family drama to quickly put a damper on a flirtation that might prove very promising. There’s also danger in an identity that could add to the detriments already involved. These two scenarios combine to kick off Victoria Dahl’s Looking for Trouble and begin the attraction between Alex Bishop and Sophie Heyer. It could be the start of something beautiful or signal that they’re on a road to nowhere before things can get really good. Even worse is the potential for all of the bad family blood to continue to mount into anger and resentment of epic proportions, blocking the hero and heroine from the ability to explore all of the wonderful, sexy possibilities.
Sophie knows exactly who Alex is and that she shouldn’t pursue anything with him. But the bad boy on his motorcycle is a hard...really hard…. thing to turn down.
“But too late. Her heart had already skipped a few beats, remembering that momentary panic. First, of looking up and finding someone in her path. Then of registering his height and the width of his shoulders and the menacing shadow of the stubble on his face that matched the stubble on his head. And then those bright blue eyes.
She’d realized who he was then. Mrs. Bishop wasn’t the type of person who inspired people to visit, after all, so Sophie might’ve suspected anyway. But that angled jaw and those blue eyes looked like Shane Harcourt’s. His long-lost little brother was home.
Alex doesn’t have the same understanding of who he’s dealing with initially, having left town when Sophie would’ve been far too young to even be on his radar. Without this vital piece of information from the start, he sees no harm in acting on the attraction he shares with the cute neighbor living just down the street from his mother. Sophie, infused with a healthy libido, doesn’t fill him in immediately, thinking his short visit to town could mean a whole lot of pleasure for them both and no guilt for either.
“He kissed her nose and retreated back into the bedroom. She touched the spot he’d kissed and tried not to feel warm inside. It was just sex, and it would be over within days. And if that made her stomach knot up, that was only the kind of affection you felt for a man who was spectacular in bed.”
And here’s where it gets complicated…
Twenty-five years prior, Alex’s father and Sophie’s mother had apparently split town together, leaving their spouses and kids behind. Alex’s mom, Mrs. Bishop, has never let anyone forget that Sophie’s mom was to blame for her family being torn apart, at least that’s how the woman sees it. Mrs. Bishop turns her accusations on to Sophie, not having the appropriate target to deal with directly, but also because of Sophie’s resemblance to her mother.
Sophie’s need for privacy, particularly from men she sees, has been shaped by the rumors that have floated around Jackson, Wyoming since all those years ago. She’s fully aware that her own appearance still fuels those long memories so often found in small towns; the ones that are fond of juicy gossip and unconcerned with the harm it causes the people involved. Her fear all along is that it’ll have the townsfolk predetermining her character, whether they’re correct or not. This is further exacerbated by the loud voice of Mrs. Bishop proclaiming, with an erroneous and seriously misplaced bias, that Sophie is just like her mother, pushing Sophie to strive harder than ever to protect her public image when it comes to Alex.
“...it didn’t matter what she wanted. He needed to go before someone spotted his bike. Sophie was alarmed to realize she hadn’t even considered where he’d parked it. She was losing her discretion over this guy. That was probably worse that the prospect of losing her heart. At least that would be private. No one would see it. Any heartache would belong to her.”
As Alex and Sophie attempt to figure out what’s happening between them, the dynamics of their relationship inevitably shift as a result of all of the wide spread damage that’s continued to simmer between certain members of their respective families for years. With tensions boiling over on both sides, they need to determine if a short lived affair is worth it all in the end or if the ones that hold on to the past with a sturdy though irrational grip can be disregarded.
It’s never easy when families are involved and Dahl shows just how tricky these relations can be as a small town librarian and her motorcycle-riding love interest try to steam up every moment they can when not taking care of the (other) people they love. The true test will ultimately be whether they can, or want to, forge out a future when a shared past has haunted them both for so long.
Learn more or order a copy of Looking for Trouble by Victoria Dahl, out July 29, 2014:
Jackie Lester imagines a day when she can make a living as a writer. Until then, she reviews eclectic books at My Ever Expanding Library and lives in small-town Ontario with her daughter.