Blythe Townsend is a belle who is in desperate need of having her chimes rung. But the man she is dating would have to get his head out of his briefs - his legal briefs - long enough to notice. She is a frustrated romantic obsessed with Turner Classic Movies. She lives in the French Quarter with her dog, Lady Marmalade, and is determined not to go sour on love even though she has dated every nutcase along the Mississippi Delta. Now, she is trying her best to make it work with her deadly dull boyfriend. Blythe accepts him - boring business dinners and all. There's always steak, but never any sizzle. There's only so much a libido can take; and when she repeatedly spots a man around town she christens Tall, Dark and Eye Candy, she starts to feel what she's been missing. So, what's stopping her from tasting something a little... sweeter? She refuses to be hurt again, and this sexy New Orleans guy has all of the trappings to do just that. Blythe will have to find her inner big-shouldered broad to deal with the craziness in her life; and she has a group of hilarious, mouthy women helping her sort through the crazy. Their story is a sultry dance to Delta blues and soulful jazz that drifts the reader into the romance of New Orleans. So, sit down at the kitchen table and pour yourself a drink - we're gonna pass the hot stuff.
Review by Sophie Sansregret
5 out of 5 Stars
Really, could I love this book more? Yes, I could. Only if it were non-fiction and the real Blake and Jonah were running around waiting to be found by yours truly. This novel appeals to all the senses. It's colourful, delicious, looks and smells great.
Ms Page has purposefully (and successfully) made a point of creating New Orleans as a character in this rich and delightful romance. If you do not want to visit after reading this book, I would be very surprised.
As an addition to that, it's nice to see the heroine enjoy a meal or two.
Blythe Townsend is a complex character, as multifaceted as New Orleans. But currently she's confused: nice (or so she thinks) and safe boyfriend or the dashing and delicious Blake whom she randomly encounters on planes, in restaurants, on sidewalks. Tall, Dark, and Eye Candy he is. But a successful lawyer too who adores our plucky heroine from the beginning. Theirs, thankfully, is not a relationship based on instant hate which grows to fiery lust. And how fun to have the woman initiate the first scorching kiss. Drat, did I spoil that? Don't worry, you'll be surprised.
Blythe's head-shaking relationship with Mr Cold Fish (my name, not his) Robert, well, what was she thinking? Who, reading this book, cannot wonder why Blythe doesn't dump Dull and Tedious Sexless Lawyer Guy for TD&EC? But somehow we have all been there: a bad relationship. Not terrible enough to leave, not wonderful enough to stay. What to do? What to do?
The secondary characters are a treat and I hope sincerely there is a book forthcoming about Tricia and Jonah (don't worry, you'll love them). Blythe's wonderful mother, her control-freak father who continually berates Blythe for being single and why doesn't she marry Robert? (Entre nous, if your insane control-freak father approves of your boyfriend, RUN). The story is simple enough. Girl meets Boy. Girl meets Boy again. Girl and Boy bump into each other at some office function (does this sound a bit like Four Weddings? Perhaps, but it's not a knock-off!). New Orleans seems a small town in this book, filled with fabulous restaurants and gorgeous men. I've booked my ticket.
Larger-than-life secondary characters. Delicious food. Desserts to die for. Music. There is music. Such a treat to receive a fantastic shuffle list in this novel. iTunes brace yourself. Colours. Guy: Evil and Good. Food. Impulsive kisses. Great shoes.
And dogs. Really cute dogs.
This novel leaves you feeling great. Makes you re-evaluate your relationship (is there a Blake ... or Jonah out there for ME?). Don't settle for Robert, ladies. Get out, buy this book. Spice up your life. Learn to say Yes. Sometimes when it seems too good to be true, it IS true.
She found her seat, naturally it was in the middle, and she stopped to try to put her carry-on bag in the overhead compartment. She stumbled back a little, hitting the man across the aisle in the head with her butt. “Oh, I’m so sorry.”
“No problem,” he said. “I can think of worse ways of getting knocked out.” Blythe looked startled, and he laughed. “Here, let me help you.”
“Thank you,” she said, and looked at him for the first time. He looked familiar. He was very good looking and had the darkest, bedroom eyes she had ever seen. She felt even more flustered now. “Sorry again…for hitting you.”
He smiled in response. “It was a pleasure,” he teased.
Blythe’s face turned red; she couldn’t remember the last time she had blushed. He started to say something else to her but had to get out of the way of the crowd rushing towards their seats like it was general admission.
Blythe buckled her seatbelt, closed her eyes and tried to go to sleep before takeoff. She was exhausted. Just as she was beginning to doze, the flight attendant, trying to
shove a ridiculously large bag into the overhead compartment, startled her awake from her half sleep. She looked over to see what the racket was and noticed the same guy looking at her again. She gave him a slight, little smile of acknowledgement and shut her
eyes once more. She wondered if he was staring with approval or disapproval. Was her mascara smeared? That would have been disapproval. Was her blouse unbuttoned? From a man, approval. He was probably just stunned from having been hit by her big butt, she thought.
When he wasn’t looking, she craned her head around the people separating them to get a better look at him. He had very dark hair, the darkest brown, almost black and an olive complexion with strong features. He opened his eyes and looked over at her. Oh, did he see me?
She tried to sleep again but couldn’t. How did she know him? She couldn’t place him, and that’s not a face she would easily forget. She glanced at him again.
He stood up and was trying to step into the aisle just in time to have the food cart come rattling through. He was going to say something to her, but it was either get back in his seat or end up road kill from a food cart.
At that point, he threw courtesy to the wind as he tried to lean around the people between them and strike up a conversation. But a flight attendant saw this opportunity to drape herself over the seat and introduce herself to him. Blythe laughed. She couldn’t hear his muffled responses, but she could hear the singsong, twittering cadence of the flight attendant. “What’s your name?” “What do you do?” “Why are you going to Memphis?” Tee hee, tee hee.
After the flight attendant left, he attempted one more time to stand and approach her, but the pilot asked them all to remain seated. Blythe smiled to herself. She had enjoyed this weird little flirtation. It gave her a rush through the middle of her stomach. She hadn’t felt particularly attractive lately. In fact, she couldn’t imagine a guy as attractive as that one even looking at her. It was times like this that made her realize just how insecure she had become.
About Dana Page
Dana Page was raised in Memphis, Tennessee. Born just down the road from Memphis in Helena, Arkansas, she considers the Mississippi River Delta her own personal inspiration. Having earned a degree in journalism from Texas A&M University, she has utilized her writing skills in varied areas - small-town politics, human interest stories and writing an entertainment column, to name a few. To support her writing habit, she has worked an odd job or two. Don't ask her about delivering singing telegrams; some things are best forgotten. Pass the Hot Stuff is Dana’s debut novel.
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Dana Page's guest blog on Evolvedworld: Heart and Soul