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I Belong

Review: The Girl’s Guide to (Man) Hunting by Jessica Clare

Title: The Girl’s Guide to (Man) Hunting

Author: Jessica Clare

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Bluebonnet (Book 1)

Publication Date: May 1, 2012

Format: Paperback, 336 Pages

ISBN-10: 042524735X (Penguin/Berkley)

ISBN-13: 978-0425247358 (Penguin/Berkley)

Reviewed by: Kiwi


Once, Miranda felt a little exposed…

Miranda Hill can’t believe her eyes–her cocky ex-boyfriend, pro hockey player Dane Croft, is back in Bluebonnet, Texas, after all these years. He ditched her–and their little town–just as some rather shocking photos showed up on the Internet for everyone to see. Miranda wasn’t so lucky. Stuck in Bluebonnet and left to fend for herself, she’s never really shaken the scandal–or his betrayal. After nine long years, Dane’s back, and she has the chance to turn the tables on him…

It’s time she gets even.

Former NHL hotshot playboy Dane Croft has returned home to open a survival training school on an old ranch and reinvent himself. When his former high-school girlfriend enrolls in the program, he has no idea that Miranda’s plan is to get him in a compromising position–not the one he’s imagining, anyway. But soon Miranda realizes that to carry out her deviously sexy revenge, she’ll have to get up close and personal with Dane all over again. Being a good girl got her nowhere for nine years; now it’s time to be a little naughty. But falling in love with the man who broke her heart was never part of the plan…

Quick & Dirty: Things get spicy in a little Texas town.

Opening SentenceLike everything else bad that happened in Miranda Hill’s life, rear-ending old Mrs. Doolittle was purely the fault of Dane Croft.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Meet Miranda Hill, small town girl, librarian and part time helper in her mother’s antique shop. She used to be a good girl, and still mostly is, with one really awful exception. One night. One party. One glaring example of what young love could do to a good girl with a huge crush on a bad boy.  Imagine the worst, most embarrassing moment of your time in high school and then triple it. It still won’t add up to what she went through, and all because of this man…

Dane Croft, hot bad boy numero uno. Dane is this small town’s claim to fame, or maybe I should call it infamy. Dane has returned after a nine year absence to start up a new business. He, and two other ex-locals have purchased an old emu farm just outside of town and turned it into a wilderness survival training camp, you know like for business gatherings and corporate types, etc.

Let’s recap on the past nine years in the lives of these two. This poor girl has lived with the nickname of “Boobs” and the ability to find pictures of her half-naked self on an internet website. A really bad, really cheesy internet website. Shortly afterwards, her mother suffers a breakdown and Miranda is forced to help with her store, while attending a local college and then taking the job at her local library. And all because of those damn photos. And who, you might ask, is also featured in those rather embarrassing photos? Well none other than Dane Croft.

But Dane hasn’t had it all that easy these past years. After he left to play hockey, he tried getting in touch with Miranda, but was always turned away by her mother. Eventually he stopped calling, and moved on with his career. A career that was quickly on its way to being over after a few too many injuries. And when he refused an indecent proposal from the boss’s wife, she leaks the story of their supposed affair to the tabloids. This is the final nail driven into the coffin his career was already planning on purchasing. After that, he and his friend decide to live off the grid for a time, spending some time in Alaska even. When he has finally had enough solitude, he agrees to start up the survival camp with his buds.

And in this venture Miranda finds what just might be the way to obtain her revenge on Dane for posting those awful pictures. For she intends to ruin his life, like he has ruined hers. She plans to start out by seducing him during one of his survival courses, and taking similar photos and posting them online, hoping to humiliate him and render him unemployed. Dane proves to be a harder nut to crack than she originally anticipated, but the seduction works, eventually.

You see, Dane has promised his partners that he would keep his hands to himself with regards to the females that join their trips into the wilderness. And on his very first trip he is bound for failure. One of his first campers is none other than Miranda Hill, the girl he never forgot.

Their week in the woods proves very…um… let’s just say they had a good time. A really, really good time. And at the end of their time, they decide to carry on a relationship. But, Miranda knows that it will only last a few weeks, since she has taken a new job in Houston. She doesn’t tell Dane, not wanting to ruin the moment, assuming that a commitment isn’t his goal. And on her last night, she makes one last attempt at revenge, but finds she cannot go through with it. And when Dane finally finds out what the whole situation actually is, he is too late to do anything to fix it. Until one month later when Miranda returns for a visit, and Dane professes his love in a way no one is going to forget.

So this book…I liked it. I liked it a lot. I even recommended it to a few friends of mine who are into that kind of thing…you know, the whole lots of naked kind of thing. I tell ya, I’m into that kind of thing too. And this storyline is happy and tragic, exciting and painful all at once.  A good read in my book.

Notable Scene:

“Oh honey,” Beth Ann said in a tone that was a little sorry and a lot mocking. “Bless your heart. She wasn’t moving in, she was moving out. She couldn’t wait to leave this darn town. Been waiting nine years to get out.”

“Nine years? Why?”

“Because of those damn photos—“ she snapped, then pursed her glossy lips. “Sorry. Language. But you know what I’m talking about.”

“No,” he gritted. “I don’t.”

She narrowed her blue eyes at him, then moved across the tiny salon to a laptop on a small desk. As she bent over, he watched Colt’s expression narrow a bit more, as if his world had suddenly focused in on a soft pair of hips in a jean skirt.

“This,” Beth Ann said, moving to the side and showing him the screen. “This is why she couldn’t wait to leave.”

He moved forward and stared. It was a horrible website, with an ugly bachground and noisy graphics on it. The URL read “Boobs of Bluebonnet” and he stared at a picture of Miranda’s perky breasts, that beauty mark under her left one staring back at him. Some a**hole had his hand down her pants and his other underneath her breasts, as if plumping them for the camera. Even worse, her head was tilted back in ecstasy.

“Who’s the dick?” he growled, the urge to beat the shit out of someone rising. His fists clenched hard.

Beth Ann frowned at him and scrolled the website down to the next photo. This one clearly showed the face of the man as Miranda knelt before him, with his hand twisted in her hair as if she were about to suck him off. “You are, you stupid fool. And you ruined her life.”

The Bluebonnet Series:

1. The Girl’s Guide to (Man) Hunting

2. The Care and Feeding of an Alpha Male (October 2, 2012)

FTC Advisory: Penguin/Berkley provided me with a copy of The Girl’s Guide to (Man) Hunting. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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