True love does not exist...or so event planner Tessa Adams learns the day she gets jilted--twenty-four hours prior to walking down the aisle. One-night stands are much easier, and with sexy philanthropists like David Brenner, how can she resist? Now if she could just get rid of him. Had she known the biggest event of her career would be working for David's father, she would have cut and run. Instead, she's unwittingly become a part of his parents' plan to destroy his life-long dreams. Will sacrificing her love protect him or be the ultimate betrayal? Wealthy and gorgeous, David Brenner seemingly holds the world in the palm of his hand--his generous heart and infectious smile are just two in an endless stream of attractive qualities. But the one thing he wants, he can't have--a repeat of the passionate night he spent in the arms of a skittish Tessa Adams. His family's far-reaching power threatens to crush their dreams. To prove his love, he would risk everything...but will the return of her ex-fiance be their final undoing?
"She's Got Dibs" is a contemporary romance that delivers on sizzling attraction and an entertaining plot wrapped in one heck of an attractive cover. AJ Nuest has a highly readable style that allows the reader to become completely absorbed in the story to the point where I barely noticed the language being used. In my book, that's the hallmark of a great storyteller. I laughed, I cried and I slapped my forehead.
Tessa Adams is the smart, smart-mouthed twenty-nine heroine. She's an entrepreneur with a real gift for reading people. I loved how she was funny and competent, and not in need of a man simply for the validation. Jilted by her ex-fiancé just prior to walking down the aisle, she's also a total control freak with commitment issues. Honestly, the heroine creates more problems for herself than anyone else, but she does learn and grow as the story progresses. (Even so, a few years spent with a good therapist would be in her best interests.)
David Brenner (Dibs) is one of those too-good-to-be-true romance heroes. He's handsome, compassionate, RICH, emotionally available despite his failed marriage, a good lover, attentive, funny. Etcetera. (You get the picture.) He's got a bizarre flower fetish and a fixation on giving people odd nicknames, but at least he's a generous philanthropist. The "little bit bonkers" thing is easily overlooked. I really loved Dibs but did find him to be too needy at times. I'd have liked to have seen a little more of the heroine's independence matched in her male partner.
When Tessa and Dibs meet, they are stranded in an airport and decide to spend the evening together. Nuest writes that sort of zippy banter I'd give my front teeth to be able to pen. The story is immediately entertaining and the dialogue helps build the sizzling sexual attraction between the hero and heroine. The sex scenes were faboo, darling. Simply faboo.
The real romance begins after Tessa and Dibs have shared a one night stand. He chases, she rebuffs. Then they decide to be "friends". (There are air quotes here in addition to the real ones.) If that's the definition of friendship, there wouldn't be so many unhappy men in the friends-zone. When emotional complications finally come, the scenes are emotionally wrenching, often heart-breaking.
- There wasn't really much external conflict in the story. Dibs' mom and dad provided some complications, but I'd have liked to have seen more. Of course, I like lots of action with my romance. Not everyone would agree with me.
- There's some point in the story where it's implied that hickeys are gross and crass, the product of an insensitive lover. To which I say—PFFFFT.
All in all, "She's Got Dibs" is a witty story about two damaged individuals who find one another and overcome their issues to heal each other's hurts. The story delivers it all—laugher and tears—and concludes with an immensely satisfying Happily-Ever-After union.
I received an ARC of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
She’s Got Dibs, won 1st Place in the Contemporary Category, Heartland Romance Authors, Show Me the Spark! Contest, 2010.
She’s Got Dibs received a “highly recommended read” from USA Today’s Happy Ever After reviews! See the entire review here.
Email: ajnuest at yahoo.com