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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Review: Mystery Man (Dream Man #1) by Kristen Ashley


While drinking cosmopolitans, Gwendolyn Kidd meets the man of her dreams. Then she takes him home. Then she wakes up alone. But her fear that she lost her dream man turns into a relationship with a mystery man when, night after night in the dead of night, he comes back for more. Hoping it will blossom into something real, she lets him.

But she doesn’t even know his name.

Gwen’s struggling with the decision to end their crazy non-relationship when her sister-from-hell, Ginger’s best friend pays a visit and warns Gwen that if she and her sister don't get smart, they'll both get d-e-a-d, dead. Gwen has no clue what’s going on but she’s used to Ginger’s antics and decides to lay the problem on her sister’s biker boyfriend's doorstep. Bad choice. She hits the Denver Underground radar with a big, loud ping.

This means Gwen’s Mystery Man, Cabe “Hawk” Delgado has to step in to keep her safe. But when Hawk gets a dose of Gwen in the daylight, he makes the decision that he finally wants real with Gwen. However when Gwen gets a dose of badass, bossy, straight-talker Hawk in the daylight, she decides she’s done.

Thus begins the head-to-head of the Commando vs. Cosmo Girl as Hawk woos Gwen in his own unique way, Gwen survives firebombs, drive-bys, kidnappings, hot pursuits by biker hotties and gorgeous police detectives and discovers the heartbreaking reason why Hawk kept her at arm’s length.

And as all this happens, Gwen finds that her sister’s troubles are serious trouble and she must decide who to keep alive: her sister-from-hell or the man of her dreams.

My Review

Why, oh why did I take so long to read this book?! All of my friends on Goodreads have been praising the writings of Kristen Ashley for ages. She’s an author who consistently scores above 4 stars, which is almost unheard of. This book was so fantastic, it has sent me on a Kristen Ashley binge. I’m now about to start my sixth tome penned by her.

The book starts off with Gwen Kidd, freelance editor, having a “sort of” normal day when she’s visited by a friend of her no-good sister, Ginger. Said friend shows up on her doorstep spouting nonsense about how Ginger is a dead woman, intimating gunfire and saying Gwen’s next. This alarms Gwen, so she sets off to find Gwen’s biker boyfriend, Dog, who is trouble, but a notch less trouble than Ginger.

After dressing as what Gwen sees as appropriately, which is a hysterically funny running theme throughout the book, she heads off to Dog’s hangout, Ride, a customization/auto parts store/biker bar. Of course, in doing so, she buys herself a new brand of trouble, namely the attention of a hottie biker name Tack, who clearly wants Gwen for his own.

While at Ride trying to sort out Ginger’s troubles, she finds out that her sister owes Tack over 2 million dollars. Uh oh. This is where I got my first taste of Kristen Ashley’s comical genius. About 35 pages in, and I laughed so much while reading this book, sometimes I had to stop reading and collect myself. Tack’s attention wouldn’t be completely unwanted if it weren’t for the fact that Gwen has a Mystery Man (whom she calls MM) that she took home once for a one night stand, but has been breaking into her house in the middle of the night for the last 18 months with his own special brand of booty-call. And she doesn’t even know his name!

Once Gwen gets home, MM is waiting for her and she gets her first good look at him in daylight. Whoa-boy. Handsome is an understatement. Even though Gwen knows nothing except for his exceptional bedroom prowess, he knows EVERYTHING about her. He keeps tabs. He has commandos. He’s an uber-alpha. When he tells her that she should have stayed home and not gone to Ride, they spar and the fireworks fly.

Later, when someone breaks into Gwen’s house and she calls 911, Detective Mitch Lawson shows up. He is gorgeous and kind and makes a play for Gwen. Gwen is clearly perplexed by all of this attention. She feels like she hasn’t had much attention in the last 18 months, save booty calls from MM, and here she is, all in one day, three hotties. Poor Gwen, lol.

Re-enter MM, who of course, gets in a pissing match with Mitch, who thinks MM should have done a better job of protecting Gwen and that if she was his woman, she wouldn’t have to worry because he’d be in bed beside her every night. Escalate pissing match.

When Gwen’s parents enter the scene, MM introduces himself to Gwen’s parents as “Gwen’s man”, to which Gwen replies by catching flies. Her man? Her MAN? She doesn’t even know his name!

All of this is just great set up for a great book of hijinks, suspense, danger and hilarity. I’ve learned that if Kristen Ashley wants to make you laugh, she will. If she wants to make you cry, she will. And if she wants you to feel something in your gut, you will. Ashley is very good at making you feel her writing.

This book is just fantastic in so many ways, I can’t fit it all into a review, but it’s a definite recommended read. As an aside- Books 2&3 are just as good and Book 4 comes out in May. Plus this book is only $3.99 on Amazon. It’s a bargain at twice the price!

What I loved about Mystery Man:

  • MM has dimples, two of them. *sigh*
  • Kristen Ashley’s brand of Alpha male likes to curl their hand around the back of a woman’s neck to bring her close. Love that!
  • Gwen copes with her crazy life by eating raw cookie dough and makes no bones about it! Woman after my own heart!
  • The book is So. Damn. Funny. With a great and unique writing style.
  • Gwen’s friend’s are multi-cultural. Finally! A book like real life!
  • Elvira. She needs her own book. Seriously.
  • Gwen’s inner dialogue will have you laughing so . She thinks things like, (when her purse gets taken by a biker to be searched at Ride) “My best lip gloss was in that purse but at that point, if he wanted to give it to one of his bitches, I was willing to let it go.” LMFAO And there’s more where that came from.
  • MM’s Mom and Dad! They are a hoot!
  • I love Gwen’s stepmom, Meredith. She’s the absolute antithesis of the evil stepmother.
  • Gwen’s posse. Her girls have her back and the dialogue is very funny.
  • MM’s pad. It’s a huge, converted warehouse, designed with money. Awe-some!
  • It’s hot. Just because its funny, doesn’t mean it’s not hot. It is.
  • MM buys Gwen her dream shoes. $1200 worth.
  • Kick ass epilogue.

What I didn’t like about Mystery Man:

  • MM stopped practicing safe sex with Gwen during those 18 months that she was his booty-call, once he learned she was on the pill and not seeing anyone else. But he still saw others. Grrr. Hate this.

“Oh my God,” I whispered.

Tack was still smiling when he dipped his head to my checkbook. “Think you can get that on one line, peaches?”

“Oh my God,” I repeated.

“You need mouth to mouth?” Tack asked, leaning in and I took a step back, clamped my mouth shut and shook my head. “Shame,” he muttered, leaning back.

“My sister owes you over two million dollars?” I whispered.

“Yep,” Tack replied.

“Over two million dollars?” I repeated, just to confirm.

“Yep,” Tack confirmed.

“You haven’t made an accountancy error?” I asked hopefully.

Tack’s smile got wider and whiter. Then he crossed his big, tattooed arms on his wide, ripped chest and shook his head.

“Perhaps this is foreign currency and you forgot. Pesos, maybe?” I suggested.

“Nope,” Tack returned.

“I don’t have that kind of money,” I told him something I was guessing he already knew.

“Sweet jacket, peaches, but I was guessin’ that,” he replied.

Well, the good news was, the tufts of fur didn’t turn him off. The bad news was, my sister owed him over two million dollars.

“I think it’ll take me awhile to raise that kind of cash,” I explained then finished, “maybe eternity.”

“Don’t got eternity to wait, darlin’,” he responded, still grinning so huge, if he burst out laughing it would not surprise me.

“I figured,” I muttered, clicked my pen, snapped shut my checkbook, shoved both in my purse and lost my mind.

I mean, I had reason to lose my mind and that reason had a name.

Ginger Penelope Kidd.

I looked up at Dog and demanded to know, “Why me? Why? Just innocently being born and seven years later, zap! God curses me with the sister from hell. Is it too much to ask for a sister who giggles with you and trades makeup secrets? Is it too much to ask for a sister who finds a great sale, calls you immediately but peruses the racks to stash great deals she knows would look hoton you so you’ll get a shot at them before anyone nabs them? Is it too much to ask for a sister who’ll come over and watch the modern Hawaii Five-O with you so you can both perv on Steve McGarrett and wish you had a Camaro? Is it? Is it?” I ended on a shout.

“Gwen, babe, think you should calm down,” Dog muttered and I could swear I could read on his face that he was wondering if he should knock me out for my own good.

“Calm?” I yelled. “Calm?” I yelled again. “She owes you guys over two million dollars. She cut the hair off my Barbies. She stole the lavalier my grandmother gave me on her deathbed and pawned it to buy pot. She got drunk and stuck her hand down my boyfriend’s pants at Thanksgiving dinner. He was straight-laced, went to church and, after Ginger’s antics – and the hand down the pants was only the culmination, he caught her snorting coke in the bathroom too – he thought my family was insane, possibly criminally insane, and he broke up with me a week later. He might have been straight-laced and, looking back, probably boring but at the time I liked him!” Now I was shrieking. “He was my boyfriend!”

“Peaches,” Tack called and my body swung to him to see he’d moved into my space.

I tipped my head back and snapped on a shout, “What?”

His hand came up, fingers curling around my neck, he dipped his face into mine and he whispered, “Baby, calm down.”

I stared close up into his blue eyes and instantly calmed down.

“Okey dokey,” I whispered back.

His eyes smiled.

My body shivered.

With his hand at my neck, I knew he felt it and I knew it more when his fingers curled deeper into my flesh and something flashed in his eyes that made me shiver someplace he couldn’t see but I could feel. A lot.

Time to go.

“I could probably sell plasma and a kidney but I don’t even think that will work so, um, can I just leave my sister to deal with this?” I asked politely, wanting to move from the strength of his hand but scared to do it.

“No one takes a blade to you for Ginger,” he said quietly.

“Okay,” I replied.

“Or at all,” he kept going.

“Um…” I mumbled. “Okay.” I said this because I didn’t want anyone to take a blade to me for Ginger or at all either and I didn’t want that in a big way.

His fingers curved deeper into my neck and he pulled me up a bit so I was almost on my toes and his face was closer. Way closer. Too close. Shiver close.

“I don’t think you get what I’m sayin’ to you.” He was still talking quietly. “This Ginger shit heats up, you get on radar, you mention my name, yeah?”

Oh no. This didn’t sound good. This sounded worse than owing a biker gang two million dollars. And I suspected there weren’t a lot of things worse than that but, if there were, Ginger would find them.

“Um…if you’re asking ‘yeah?’ as in, ‘Yeah, I get you’, then no, I don’t get you,” I told him honestly because I was thinking with Tack honesty was the best policy.

“All right, peaches, what I’m sayin’ is, you get in a situation, you mention my name. That means protection. Now do you get me?”

“Um… kind of,” I answered, “but why would I get in a situation?”

“Your sister has shit where she lived, she’s shit where she didn’t live, she’s shit everywhere. You walked in here and had no clue. Don’t bumble into another situation because others…” he paused, “they might not find you cute like I do.”

“Okay,” I whispered, liking that he found me cute at the same time regretting my decision not to call my father or, say, get on a plane and fly to France. “If I um… have to use your name… um, what does that mean?”

“It means you owe me.”

Oh boy.

“Owe you what?”

He grinned but didn’t answer.

Oh boy!

“Owe you what?” I repeated.

“I gotta get on my bike and get you out of a situation, we’ll talk about it then.”

“I’m sure I’ll be fine,” I assured him and said a short prayer in hopes of making that true.

His grin got bigger.

Then he let me go but slid my purse off my arm and before I could make a peep, he dug into it. I decided to let him have at it. He’d already touched me and I wasn’t certain I wanted that to happen again because I wasn’t certain what my response would be but I was certain that jumping his bones was high up on the list of possibles. I also figured he could best me in a fight for my purse so I was going to let him take what he wanted. My best lip gloss was in that purse but at that point, if he wanted it to give to one of his bitches, I was willing to let it go.

He came out with my cell, flipped it open, his thumb hit buttons, he flipped it closed, dropped it into my purse, then slid it back on my arm.

“You got my number, darlin’. You need it, use it. You don’t need it, you still wanna use it, don’t hesitate. Now, do you get that?”

I hitched my purse further up on my shoulder and nodded. I got that. He thought I was cute.

I fought back another shiver.

“Nice t’meet ya, Gwen,” he said softly.

“Yeah,” I whispered, “later.” Then I turned to see Dog grinning down at me and I said, “Later.”

“Later, babe,” Dog replied in a way that made it sound like he’d actually see me later which made me have to fight back another shiver.




  1. Replies
    1. ladykt - more than possibilities, it's got everything - humor, hijinks, Alpha males, and hotness. it's great! Smooches!


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