because bibliophiles require refreshment

The Best Kind of Trouble by Lauren Dane

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The Best Kind of Trouble kicks off Dane’s trilogy about the Hurley brothers, their band Sweet Hollow Ranch and their love stories. I fell for these guys hook, line and sinker and ate all these books up one after another. Dane’s heroes are tattooed, pierced, gruff alphas who always find the women who call them on their crap and see through their scars and love them into the best versions of themselves. In my hallmark of good stories, these people are real to me and I absolutely missed them as soon as I closed the book.

This one is about Paddy and Natalie. Natalie is the librarian in the small town that the Hurleys call home, Hood River. She’s aware that the international rock stars call the town home, but she’s not overly impressed with them. After a lifetime of dealing with people who found “hard living” truly attractive, she’s dubious of people who give into their vices.

Paddy is instantly attracted to Natalie and sets out wooing her. And readers, woo her he does. In bed. Actively. Creatively. Frequently. Dane has a special gift for writing sex scenes. Y’all, if she wrote scripts HBO wouldn’t even show them and not just because everyone in Hollywood seems to fear female orgasms. Dane simply writes the body like a sumptuous buffet to be enjoyed and cherished.

Trigger warning wise, Natalie’s dad is an addict and her grandmother is an enabler. I have some (professional) experience with this world and their behaviors and how Dane described them were textbook. I was so very proud how Natalie handled herself against them when they tried their best to sink her down into the mire of their swamp. I appreciated how Paddy both gave her space and had her back – that’s the combination that people in Natalie’s situation need the most. The confidence that others know they can handle themselves, but the safety net for the times when handling it requires a tribe.

I loved getting to know the Hurley family. There’s enough hints of the other stories – which overlap with this one in really cool way – to whet my whistle and make the next books feel like homecomings, without detracting from Natalie and Paddy’s story. Dane is a master at the top of her game, y’all.

Overall, I was pissed when this ended but thrilled I had two more to go, so that should tell you what I thought. Dane’s books can only possibly work with whiskey – nothing else could handle the weight and heat and sumptuousness. A really good rum could give it a run for its money, but I’m saying Jameson Caskmates for this one.

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Further Reading:

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I got a copy of this book from the eBook section of my local library. Thanks, Ben Franklin!

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