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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dream Girl by Kelly Jamieson

Dream Girl by Kelly Jamieson
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (224 pages)
Heat: hot
Rating: 3 books
Reviewed by Sweet Pea

Zach Montgomery has met his dream girl. Ashlyn plays pool, she’s smart and gorgeous, she even drinks beer…she’s the girl of his dreams. Until she disappears just when things are heating up between them. Ashlyn Farrell works part time as a sex decoy for her father’s investigation company. When she meets Zach she’s on a job, hired by his wife to see if he’ll cheat on her. For the first time in Ashlyn’s life, she’s wildly attracted to a mark. But the sexy, charming brewmaster is a lying, cheating snake – he even gives her a fake name. When Ashlyn and Zach end up working together, she discovers she’s made a huge mistake. The attraction between them is growing into something more. But what will happen when he finds out how badly she’s screwed up and how many people she’s hurt?

Ashlyn Farrell works for her father’s investigative company as a “sex decoy” to gather evidence against cheating husbands. Her career has been a successful one until she meets her latest target, Connor Montgomery. Only Conner is really his look-alike brother Zach, which she finds out after Connor’s marriage is destroyed by her mistake. Ashlyn can’t avoid the mess she has made or her feelings for Zach, especially when the Montgomery brothers hire her to investigate betrayal within the beer brewery they own jointly. As Zach continues to fall deeper and deeper for his “dream girl,” Ashlyn sinks deeper into remorse. Yet confessing everything will certainly mean the end of her sweet yet sexy affair with the man who could possibly prove to be her impossible “dream guy.”

The overall themes of Kelly Jamison’s Dream Girl are trust and finding the strength to love someone—even oneself—despite their flaws. The reader explores these in the relationship between not just the hero and heroine but also the relationship between Connor and his wife and Ashlyn’s parents. Judging by the title of the story, I thought the book would be about Zach. Instead, it’s more about Ashlyn and her journey toward recognizing and dealing with her flaws and the strength of overcome them.

There were many things I appreciated about this work: the self-awareness that Ashlyn grows into regarding her relationship and the way it mirrors per parents', how she gains an understanding of her father's behavior in her own, the fact that Ashlyn learns to trust her instincts as Zach tries to teach her throughout the book.

However, even though her distrust is well-placed in the beginning, as the story continues it becomes wearing. After she finds out Zach is not who she thought he was, his tenderness and trust should have made her begin to question her distrust in men a lot earlier. Midway through the book, as she continues to distrust him, her feelings seem a little harsh. I found it difficult to believe she couldn’t trust him when she was really the one being deceitful the whole time.

I loved Zach’s character. I thought he was well-motivated. His relationship with his brother felt real. I also loved the fact that he is so tender and caring toward Ashlyn and believed even early on that she is his too-good-to-be-true “dream girl.” Maybe his plans of marrying her came a little early, but still it was endearing. It’s rare these days to come across a hero who is so open and easily trusting yet still irresistibly hot. His character was refreshingly original. Although Connor was one of my favorite characters, I didn’t at all sympathize with his wife Jessica. I couldn’t help thinking throughout the entire text that he deserves better.

The story’s setting was woven beautifully. It struck the right tune and was the perfect backdrop for the plot. The glimpse into Ashlyn’s job and her other work with her father’s investigative company as well as the detailed look inside the world of beer-making gives this story a flavor of its own that comes across as fresh. Beer plays a big role in this story…and, I must say, never has it seemed sexier. The plot itself was intriguing though it felt like the climax could have come a little sooner. It was delayed a bit by the love scenes which tended to overwhelm the plot. At times, this story felt more suited to erotic romance than mainstream romance. Ms. Jamison selected an excellent place to begin her story with Zach’s chance meeting with his dream girl in the bar and it ended on a very sweet and satisfying note.