Looking For Trouble by Victoria Dahl
Series: Jackson: Girls’ Night Out #1
Published by Harlequin
Publish Date: August 1, 2014
Source: Book – Bought, Audiobook – Bought
Find it here: Goodreads / Amazon
A good reason to be bad…
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. (Goodreads)
Sophie is a librarian, classy and demure on the outside. But there is a side to her that no one really sees. Sophie is intent on hiding this part of herself because she is afraid that it will be compared to and identified with her mother, and her mother was part of a huge town scandal about 25 years ago, when she ran off with another married man. Sophie carries some weight for her mother’s actions still: some guilt, some shame, and also some fear for her future. She wants no association with her mother, which is difficult because she looks very much like her.
Alex Bishop has just come back to town after being gone for a very long time. He’s only back temporarily, and only because his brother asked him to. Alex left after his father ran off with a married woman, after which he couldn’t stand to be around his mom and brother anymore — he couldn’t stand the way his mother acted as if his father was a saint and pretended he was coming back home; it was clear to Alex that he was gone for good. This has caused tension in the family, over the years and now that Alex is back he sees that his mother’s health/mental health isn’t great. Perhaps his brother does need a little help in looking after her. Alex has a stereotypical motorcycle-riding bad boy persona: tattoos, super-short hair, almost-permanent scowl on his scruffy face.
Then he sees Sophie Heyer. She walks up to him and 1) he doesn’t realize that she’s part of the other family and 2) he is super-attracted to her. Sophie knows who Alex is right away and she feels the attraction too.
So HE ASKS HER IF SHE WANTS TO RIDE HIS MOTORCYCLE. It’s a cliche but wow, I really love it in this story. Because you know what? Even though Sophie has on this sweet little dress and her hair is all lovely and perfect – and normally she would probably say NO — she does want to ride his motorcycle because it is adventurous. And here is where Alex sees that under all of that “class” lies a lady – a different kind of lady, yes, but a lady all the same.
I think Victoria Dahl’s characters are awesome.
I love the way Sophie owns herself…in part. She is unapologetic about the confidence she feels with regard to her body and intimacy and how she carries herself. She loves walking around town fooling everyone with her sweet outfits and her hair – she knows she has one-up on everyone because she knows something that they do not. BUT part of Sophie still has issues with being left by her mother. Reading Sophie’s weak places doesn’t make her annoying at all, but it does make her feel more real. Sophie also has some fears, and these things need to be addressed. Sophie has always wanted to get away for a while, but she’s just never taken the step. Now there’s a reason to leave town, and who better to help her through this than a guy that never stayed to begin with and understands feeling the need to get away? Does Sophie feel enough for Alex to take the giant leap and leave town for awhile?
I also love the way that Alex has the confidence to just walk away from things that are toxic to him. (I have no problem doing this myself, sometimes to a fault.) His family life has been destructive to his well-being in the past and in order to break free from that, he. had. to. just. go. Of course, there is the possibility that he went too far and stayed away too long. His brother Shane stayed behind to take care of their mother after their father left them, and there are some unresolved tensions because of this. Alex spends time thinking about what his responsibilities are, should he stay and help or should he go, that sort of thing. All Alex has ever done is run. He runs away. Doesn’t do commitments to people nor places. Now, though, there is another someone here that could keep him in the picture. Who better to help him through this than the person that is perpetually committed because she is afraid to go anywhere? Does he feel enough for Sophie to stay?
This romance was crazy, and by that I mean that I loved it. Sophie and Alex were honest with their intentions from the beginning but as their feelings changed and grew, they became a little uncomfortable. It wasn’t an easy road, opening themselves up in the ways that they did, but it made for great reading and a satisfying ending for them both I think. And while they were romancing and falling for one another, there was so much going on that made this a compelling read. Town drama, family drama, great friendship between Sophie and her girlfriends, great relationship between Sophie and her dad, tension within the Bishop family – there is so much in this story to accompany the romance.
Okay, so I loved that I got a snippet of friend Lauren’s story in the prequel and now I have Sophie’s story right here. I want to read Isabelle’s story now because out of the three friends, Isabelle seems to be the quiet, most mysterious one so far. BUT Sophie seemed like a quiet one too so…
I recommend Looking For Trouble by Victoria Dahl to readers that enjoy adult contemporary romance with strong female heroines and a great accompanying plotline.
Audiobook Notes: The audiobook format of Looking For Trouble by Victoria Dahl is published by RecordedBooks and is 9 hours and 24 minutes, Unabridged. It is narrated by Celeste Ciulla, who does well at voicing this audiobook (and series). Celeste Ciulla sounds like a confident, strong woman when she is reading the book, which is basically the perfect embodiment of the heroines of this series. I have to be honest and admit that I didn’t listen to the audiobook in its entirety; rather, I alternated listening to some chapters and read some chapters in print – I enjoyed both. So my recommendation is that either way works: reading print for first reads and rereads OR listening to the audiobook.
Romance: No triangle.
Strong female characters
The Jackson: Girls’ Night Out Series: