Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
When I began reading romance at the end of 2018, I believe one of the first authors I read as I was perusing Amazon is Emma Chase. I had only read a few romance authors, and I knew nothing about famous romance authors. Royally Screwed was an Amazon recommendation, and there was something about the cover and the blurb that grabbed my attention. The idea that a commoner could be plucked out of obscurity to potentially become a future king’s wife is many a romance reader’s dream. That he would abdicate the throne for her is even more of the fantasy. I fell deeply for Emma Chase’s brand of romance: alpha-ish hero + ambitious, intelligent, insightful heroine + the challenges of a kingdom such as Wessco. Add in an overbearing, but hilariously protective and insightful grandmother/Queen to add in layers, and I was hooked. After that, when Emma Chase released any of the Royally books, they hit my Kindle the day of release and I gobbled them in a day. To this day, my favorite of the four books is Lenora’s story, Royally Yours. That story is the dictionary definition of bittersweet romance.
When she announced her new Bodyguard series which takes us back to Wessco, I knew I was returning to this mythical place where the love stories are true fairy tales. Dirty Charmer, the first book of this series, does three things very well: (1) reintroduces us to Wessco and several of our favorite characters of the Royally series, (2) introduces us to one of the most virile, charming heroes I’ve read in Emma Chase’s books, along with a stately, intelligent, challenge of a heroine, and (3) offers a steam fest that will keep your glasses steamed and your panties…well, you can fill in that phrase.
Dirty Charmer follows one of my favorite romantic tropes: opposites attracting. In fact, this is the underlying message of Chase’s newest book. Abby, her heroine, and Tommy, her hero, are the definition of opposites. Yet, one of the best things about this trope is its elaboration on the idea that opposites offer two halves of the same whole. And that is the case with Abby and Tommy. From the first chapter, there is a clear chemistry between Abby and Tommy, and Chase doesn’t hold back on crafting their fiery coupling. Tommy’s ability to let life fall easily off his shoulders helps dirty up an Abby whose life is structured to an oppressive state. Every moment of her life and plan for the future has a distinct place, but it shows that she isn’t truly “living,” instead, walking through the motions of it. Tommy becomes the color of Abby’s life, and Abby brings a focus to Tommy’s. It’s here where Chase shows her best work. As these two push into and against each other, their chemistry is palpable and heats up every page until the end.
Whenever a hero and heroine undertake a journey of evolution, I find this irresistible as a reader. At the start of this story, Tommy is a fun-loving, playboy. People take his job knowledge seriously because he does his job well, but they don’t necessarily take his approach to life seriously. He is a one-night stand kind of guy. Yet, when he meets Abby, Tommy’s transformation begins. Without knowing it, Tommy’s journey will pale only in comparison to Abby’s. Tommy helps Abby become a better version of herself in that she stops living under the stricture of her family’s expectations by embracing her own life. Tommy and Abby’s journey is my favorite part of Chase’s story, I think, because we can connect to the idea that we aren’t completely defined by one or two actions or choices. Instead, we can be more, if we want it. Even more, we need to live a life of balance to live a full life. And sometimes, people come into our lives to tease those changes out of us. Chase artfully presents this idea drawing you into her romance.
Emma Chase has opened a door with Dirty Charmer. Tommy and Logan (the hero of Chase’s Royally Endowed) own a security company that is rife with potential future stories. For this reader who fell deeply for Chase’s Wessco romances, this is exciting news because Emma Chase has this capacity to offer romantic stories that challenge our thinking while offering up our fantasies in bold print. If you’re a fan of alpha-ish, funny-loving heroes and their intelligent, thoughtful heroines who burn the pages with their chemistry, then you should be reading Dirty Charmer. Today.
In love and romance,