The Virgin's Revenge
A Rancho del Cielo Romance
By Dee Tenorio
Publisher: Samhain (digital)
Release Date: July 3, 2012
"We want you to marry Mandy."
Cole Engstrom never knew you could reverse-snort up a French fry, but there you have it. Someone call Guiness.
A few solid thwacks on the back later from one of the notorious six Jackman brothers, and he was breathing marginally well again. That didn't mean, of course, his hearing was any better.
"We--" Locke Jackman leaned forward in his diner seat, bracing more of his weight on his oversized hunks of arm and nailing Cole in place with a vivid blue glare," -- want you to marry Mandy."
When Lock said we, he spoke for all six of the brothers. Probably their deceased parents, grandparents and all the generations that traveled over the Atlantic more than two centuries ago. He was more than big enough to pull something like that off.
Cole risked a glance at the elder twins -- as Daniel and Dean were typically called -- who sat on his left, their bulk swallowing most of the curving diner bench in the darkest corner of Shaky Jake's bar. He should have known they were out to get him when they'd invited him here for lunch and dragged him to this spot. Not only were they cheap, they were scared of the dark. Yet both of them nodded and grinned at him like they'd done him a favor. He smelled a set-up. He also had the suspicion they were stealing his fries.
~ From The Virgin's Revenge, Chapter 1
How did gorgeous Amanda Jackman make it to the ripe old age of twenty-six without losing her virginity? Growing up in a small town with six overprotective brothers built like redwood trees, it's a wonder she ever made it out of the house! The only man who has ever tempted her to take a walk on the wild side is Cole Engstrom, best friend of her twin brothers and a de facto member of their family since her brothers "adopted" the skinny computer nerd in high school. Of course, Cole is no longer a skinny kid. No, he's grown into quite a nice specimen of manhood, one who haunts her very vivid dreams on a regular basis, but Amanda realized long ago that a real relationship with Cole is out of the question. She knows enough about his family background to understand he'll never commit himself to a woman for the long haul and she would never do anything to jeopardize their friendship or the relationship he shares with her family. So she's understandably shocked - and more than a little ticked off -when she overhears what she thinks is Cole being coerced into courting her because her brothers think it's time for her to marry. She's ready to call her brothers out until she realizes this could be her golden opportunity to finally get rid of her virginity with the man she desires more than any other. A no-strings affair with Cole is perfect and will teach her interfering brothers - and Cole - a much needed lesson. It goes without saying that things don't exactly work out the way she envisions.
Friends to lovers is one of my favorite romance tropes and Dee Tenorio does it exceptionally well. I love her voice. It's smart, sexy, sassy and all rolled up in a humorous but heartwarming package. This book was a delight from beginning to end; had me laughing, sighing, wanting to bash a few brothers' heads then hug the big louts and left me grinning from ear to ear the entire way. It brings us two very likable main characters (yes, I fell in love with Cole and I'm not ashamed to admit it) that you can't help but root for and a family dynamic that's spot-on. The secondary cast is engaging and plays pivotal roles without stealing the spotlight from the hero and heroine. The tension between Amanda's oldest, uptight brother and her fun-loving, lingerie shop owning best friend is palpable. I hope that means they will be getting a story of their own. It would be so delicious!
The Virgin's Revenge is part of Tenorio's Rancho del Cielo series but stands on it's own. If you're looking for a fast, fun, feel-good story that sizzles, you can't go wrong with Dee Tenorio's The Virgin's Revenge. I highly recommend it.
What's your favorite romance trope? Any friends to lovers books you'd like to recommend? I'm always looking for new books to add to my totally out of control to-be-read stash. ::grin::