Category Archives: Dakota Cassidy

Review: Talking After Midnight by Dakota Cassidy

talkingTitle: Talking After Midnight by Dakota Cassidy
Plum Orchard Series Book Three
Publisher:Harlequin MIRA
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 448 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Shields up, sugar—things in Plum Orchard are about to get real.

Marybell Lyman is notorious for two things:

Her look. The wicked hairstyle, multiple piercings and practiced sneer that say: “Stay back—I bite.”

Her voice. The syrupy lilt that’s her bread and butter at Call Girls, the prim little town’s flourishing phone-sex company.

Hunky handyman Taggart Hawthorn is mesmerized by the contradiction: such sweet tones inside such a spiky shell! He wants to know more about mysterious Marybell, to hear more of her sexy talk—all for himself.

But Tag’s attentions, delicious as they are, have Marybell panicked. She’s been hiding a long time. She’s finally got a home, a job and friends she adores. She won’t have it all snatched away by another stupid mistake—like falling in love. So when Marybell’s past comes calling, she and the Call Girls will prove no one handles scandals like a Southern girl!

The Review:

Talking After Midnight, the third installment in Dakota Cassidy’s highly addictive Plum Orchard series, is a little more serious than the previous novels. Tantalizing glimpses of Marybell Lyman and Taggart “Tag” Hawthorne have revealed frustratingly little information about either characters’ pasts but learning their secrets is well worth the wait.

Marybell is not the average sweet Southern woman. Sporting a colorful mohawk, multiple piercings and a tough girl attitude, this phone sex operator definitely stands out in the conservative small town of Plum Orchard. Marybell’s protective armor is carefully crafted to keep people at a distance, but underneath all the makeup and metal is a kind, caring and loyal woman whose past is full of hardship and heartache. Although she tries to keep her distance from Tag, he manages to slip past her defenses, but Marybell is afraid the secrets she is keeping will destroy their fragile relationship.

Tag has come a long way from the brooding, angry man we first met in the previous book. By all appearances, he has finally made peace with his demons and he is moving forward with his life. He is very intrigued by Marybell and he good-naturedly pursues her despite her flimsy attempts to rebuff his advances. Although Marybell is less than forthcoming about her own history, Tag is an open book when it comes to his disastrous past. Overall, their relationship is light-hearted, flirtatious and very steamy.

There are a lot of surprises in Marybell’s past and she has excellent reasons for keeping quiet. But with the nasty and interfering Louella Parsons always digging for dirt, it is just a matter of time before everything comes crashing down around her. Em, Dixie and LaDawn are firmly in her corner but Tag is quick to believe the worst of her.

While I really liked the overall story, Marybell’s part of the storyline becomes a little repetitive. It is easy to predict both Louella’s role in Marybell’s downfall and Tag’s reaction to the subsequent revelations. While it is frustrating that Louella really never suffers any consequences for her actions, the characters always take the high road and resist sinking down to her level. Revenge might be sweet but Marybell is too classy and compassionate to destroy anyone else’s reputation.

Talking After Midnight is a wonderful conclusion to Dakota Cassidy’s delightfully heartwarming and sometimes zany Plum Orchard series.  I’ll miss the Call Girls but I have loved watching their characters grow, overcome their personal issues and find their happily ever afters. While each of the novels can stand on their own, I highly recommend the entire series.

Read my reviews of the previous novels in the series HERE.


Filed under Contemporary, Dakota Cassidy, Harlequin, Mira, Plum Orchard Series, Rated B, Review, Romance, Talking After Midnight

Review: Something to Talk About by Dakota Cassidy

somethingTitle: Something to Talk About by Dakota Cassidy
Plum Orchard Series Book Two
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Sexy is as sexy does. And in Plum Orchard, sugar, it does!

Emmeline Amos is sick of her ex saying she’s boring and prissy. After all, she works for a phone-sex company! (As general manager, but still.) On a rare girls’ night out, fueled by blender drinks and bravado, Em accepts a shocking dare—to handle a call herself. But it’s tipsy Em who gets an earful from an irate single father on the other end of the line. Awkward.

But not as awkward as discovering that same mad dad is Call Girls’ gorgeous new programmer. Jax Hawthorne is still upset that his daughter called the “girlfriend store” on his behalf, but he can’t deny he’d choose a hot-librarian type like Em if he were looking for love. Which he’s not.

Em wants to do more than just talk the talk. So she makes a bawdy bargain with Jax. They’ve both been burned before—this time, they’ll keep it strictly physical. Except as soon as they settle on no strings attached, things start to get tangled….

The Review:

Something to Talk About is another über entertaining and scrumptiously steamy installment in Dakota Cassidy’s marvelous Plum Orchard series. In this outing, Emmeline “Em” Amos finally learns to stand up for herself while Jax Hawthorne puts the ghosts of his past to rest.

Em is still struggling to find her footing following her (now) ex-husband’s shocking revelations and their subsequent divorce. A single mom with two young boys, she is working as the General Manager of Call Girls, her good friend Dixie’s phone sex business. Trying to shed her good girl image, Em accepts a drunken dare to answer a call, but wouldn’t you know it, the next caller is really a little girl who is trying to find her dad a girlfriend. Jax is not amused to discover his daughter Maizy chatting it up with a phone sex operator and he lets loose with an angry tirade. Unfortunately for Em, Jax is an old college friend of Dixie’s boyfriend, Caine, and their paths are soon going to cross on a daily basis when Jax begins working at Call Girls as a computer programmer.

Em is the town sweetheart which is just a really nice way of saying she is a pushover. She is genuinely caring and thoughtful, but she will go to any lengths to avoid confrontation. However all of this begins to change when Em maintains her unlikely friendships with Dixie and the other women at Call Girls despite everyone’s obvious disapproval. She loves her newfound independence but she is still she overcoming the habits of a lifetime drilled into her by her unhappy mother. When malicious gossip begins continues to adversely affect her sons and her ex-husband issues a surprising threat, Em’s response to all of these challenges shocks everyone, including herself.

Jax is a roguishly charming character with a surprising amount of depth. There is a a lot of heartache in this devoted dad’s past, but it takes most of novel to unlock all of his secrets. Jax wants a real relationship with Em, but since she is insistent that she does not want a serious entanglement, he agrees to her no strings fling proposal. However they do get to know each on a more personal level when he convinces her to help him decorate his house.

Em is really not cut out for a casual affair and she has as much difficulty keeping her emotions out of their relationship as Jax does. There is plenty of heat between them and their sex scenes are highly sensual. In and out of the bedroom, their exchanges are meaningful and laced with humor.

While there is plenty of internal conflict as Em and Jax deal with their respective issues, there is also some external conflict as well. Jax’s brothers Gage and Tag are extremely supportive but he and Tag butt heads occasionally. Chief troublemaker Louella Palmer is in fine form as she dredges up a long-buried secret. Em’s mother is a huge help but that assistance comes with a high price tag when her negativity causes problems for Em.

Something to Talk About is a heartwarming novel with a well-developed cast of multi-faceted characters. The plot is well-written and beautifully executed. Unexpected revelations keep the story fresh while Dakota Cassidy’s tantalizing glimpses of secondary characters Marybell Lyman and Tag Hawthorne leave readers eagerly anticipating the next novel in the Plum Orchard series.


Filed under Contemporary, Dakota Cassidy, Harlequin, Mira, Plum Orchard Series, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Something to Talk

Review: Talk Dirty to Me by Dakota Cassidy

talkdirtyTitle: Talk Dirty to Me by Dakota Cassidy
Plum Orchard Series Book One
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Former mean girl Dixie Davis is back in town and it’s payback time. Literally. Dixie is flat broke and her best—make that only—friend, Landon, is throwing her a lifeline from the Great Beyond. Dixie stands to inherit his business…if she meets a few conditions:

She’s got to live in Landon’s mansion.

With her gorgeous ex-fiancé, Caine Donovan.

Who could also inherit the business.

Which is a phone sex empire.

Wait, what?

Landon’s will lays it out: whoever gets the most new clients becomes the owner of Call Girls. Dixie has always been in it to win it, especially when it comes to Caine, who’s made it clear he’s not going down easy. (Oh, mercy.) Can Dixie really talk dirty and prove that she’s cleaned up her act? Game on!

Plum Orchard, Georgia, is about to get even juicier…

The Review:

Talk Dirty to Me, Dakota Cassidy’s first installment in her Plum Orchard series, is sweet, sassy and sexy! This fun read is also poignant and just a little heartbreaking but overall, it is a wonderful story of second chances and redemption for heroine, Dixie Davis. Dixie is a reforming mean girl whose efforts to make amends for her past misdeeds are hampered by her reputation, the long memories of the townspeople and good old-fashioned jealousy.

Dixie has a long history of manipulating, lying and cheating to get her way and ten years ago, this behavior blew up in her face and eventually led to the end of her engagement to Caine Donovan. She and Caine left town after their break-up but they both maintained their close friendship with Landon Wells. Returning to Plum Orchard for Landon’s funeral, they are stunned to learn of his bequest to them-a thriving phone sex company, Call Girls. Insanely competitive, Dixie and Caine are soon locked in a fierce battle to win full ownership of Call Girls. Their court-appointed mediator keeps the peace between them during business hours, but who is going to keep them from acting on their scorching hot passion?

Surprisingly, Dixie is a very likable and sympathetic character. She is genuinely remorseful for her long ago actions and she never cuts herself any slack when it comes to owning her mistakes. Her tentative friendship with Emmeline “Em” Amos is a minefield of hurt feelings on Em’s part and it takes a while for Dixie to earn Em’s trust. Although her resolve is challenged when her protective instincts for Em are provoked, Dixie remains determined to become a better person.

There is never any doubt that Caine was deeply hurt by Dixie’s actions and in fact, he still harbors a lot of anger toward her. He is highly skeptical that she has really changed and he is very conflicted by the differences in her behavior. Caine is unwilling to trust her again, but he gradually begins to believe that her transformation is legitimate but he remains reluctant to risk his heart.

The sparks fly between Caine and Dixie from their very first scene together. Their scenes are full of witty repartee and an incredible amount of sexual tension. Caine and Dixie’s sex scenes are explicitly detailed and incredibly hot. It is also very obvious that they are still deeply in love, but mistakes from the past make it very difficult for them to commit to a future together.

Fully rounding out this marvelous novel is an outstanding cast of secondary characters. Although he has passed away, Landon’s presence is always keenly felt and his love for Dixie and Caine transcends death. Frenemy Louella Palmer continually tries to undercut Dixie’s efforts and she provides a lot of the external conflict to the storyline. Em is kind hearted and loyal, but her friendship with Dixie is tested throughout the story.

A romance with depth and substance, Talk Dirty to Me is a fast-paced and entertaining novel with a cast of characters that are incredibly appealing. The plotline is realistic and easy to relate to, and Dakota Cassidy’s writing style is quite engaging. Plum Orchard is an immensely charming series and I cannot wait to dive into Something to Talk About, Em’s romance with delicious newcomer Jax Hawthorne!

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Filed under Contemporary, Dakota Cassidy, Harlequin, Mira, Plum Orchard Series, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Talk Dirty to Me