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The Dirty Girls Book Club

The Dirty Girls Book Club, September 2012

by Savanna Fox

Berkley
368 pages
ISBN: 0425253155
EAN: 9780425253151
Kindle: B008EXO30I
Paperback / e-Book
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"A book club's first erotic read!"

Fresh Fiction Review

The Dirty Girls Book Club
Savanna Fox

Reviewed by Annie Tegelan
Posted October 19, 2012

Romance Erotica Sensual

I like the concept of this book -- a group of girlfriends gather together for a book club. But lately the choice of reading material has bored many of the members. This time, the curious girls try their first historical erotica called The Sexual Education of Lady Emma Whitehead to liven things up a bit.

As they read, it would seem that marketing executive Georgia Malone can identify with the main character. Georgia has never felt intense passion even though she was once happily married. Sex has never made her feel enlivened, but on her latest campaign, her client, hockey star Woody Hanrahan has stirred her repressed libido to a fevering pitch.

I was intrigued by the premise of this book, but unfortunately, it failed to hold my interest. Though the writing is flowing and easy-to-read, I found that the heroine, Georgia was difficult to like. She is uptight and very serious and has never had an orgasm before. In this new endorsement deal with the sexy hockey player, Georgia seemed very judgemental and very uninformed about hockey. This made it hard to really believe that she is a marketing executive who is in charge of the entire campaign. One would think she would do her research beforehand. Furthermore, she delved into way too many stereotypes concerning hockey that made it hard for me to relate to her.

Woody and Georgia jump right into the sex after meeting each other for five minutes. This is hard to believe since until then, Georgia was portrayed as a very uptight, serious person. However, Fox does pen some intensely hot sex scenes in this book. I would have just liked to see them unfold under more believable circumstances. I also very much enjoyed the interaction with the group of girls and also the excerpts from the erotic book. More of this would have perhaps made me enjoy this book a little more. Unfortunately, I was not impressed by the characters in this particular book but will give Fox another try and am hopeful that she will persuade me to keep reading with the next book I try.

Learn more about The Dirty Girls Book Club

SUMMARY

Every woman who joined the book club expected to expand their literary horizons. But when they stop reading the classics and start exploring the steamy side of fiction, they discover just how much fun reading can be…

When the book club makes their first erotic selection The Sexual Education of Lady Emma Whitehead, marketing executive Georgia Malone is surprised to find herself identifying with the main character. Like Emma, Georgia is a widow who has never truly experienced the joys of sex. But when she meets the spokesman for her newest campaign, Georgia’s long-buried libido is awakened.

Hockey star Woody Hanrahan is charming and cocky—the sort of man Georgia usually avoids. But while her mind is saying stay away, Georgia’s body is telling her to give in every time Woody comes near. Now as her book club explores the tantalizing extremes of fiction, Georgia is experiencing first hand, and for the first time, the real pleasures of the flesh, and fulfilling the desires that—chapter by chapter—are getting delightfully dirty. Woody is hers to command in a hundred deliciously wicked ways, but when it comes to writing her own happy ending, this dirty girl doesn’t just need his body—she wants his heart.

Excerpt

Chapter 1

"It took me a while to get into it; then I was hooked." Georgia Malone touched the cover of the trade paperback lying in the middle of the book club's table at Rogue, a trendy restaurant/bar near Vancouver's downtown harbor.

It was just after four thirty on a warm May afternoon. The four club members had settled at an outside table and ordered drinks and appies.

"The characters came to feel like friends," Georgia added. "I like books that take me on an emotional journey."

Lily, who had selected this month's book, said, "I enjoyed it too. Such beautiful writing."

Marielle gave a snort of disgust and shook back a curtain of wavy dark brown hair. "You mean pretentious. Masturbatory writing, where the writer's only stroking his own ego and doesn't give a damn about the reader."

"Aw, come on, tell us what you really think." Kim's near–black eyes danced.

"It won the Man Booker." Lily defended her choice, and Georgia nodded in support.

In the three months the club had been meeting, it had quickly become clear that the four of them were quite different. That made for stimulating discussions, which was what Georgia had hoped for when she responded to the "Want to create a book club?" notice posted by Marielle at a downtown coffee shop. Though Georgia loved her job in marketing, the fast pace and hype meant that these chats over appies and drinks were a welcome break. The four busy women had decided that rather than commit to a whole evening each month, they'd meet Mondays for a quick get–together between the end of the workday and whatever they had planned for the evening.

"I don't know what the Man Booker is," Kim said, "but it sounds pretentious too." An art student from China, her spiky black hair streaked with tangerine highlights, she looked anything but pretentious.

Lily frowned and tucked a breeze–blown wisp of short, stylishly cut blond hair behind her ear. "You didn't like the book either?"

Kim shrugged. "I couldn't get into it. It was dense, too literary, and depressing. I'm so not in the mood for being depressed." Although mostly the women talked about the book they'd chosen for the month, personal information occasionally slipped out, and Georgia had the impression things weren't going well with Kim and her boyfriend.

A ponytailed waitress in jeans arrived with calamari and yam fries to share, and drinks for each of them: a martini for Lily, a fruity cocktail for Marielle, a fancy lager for Kim, and a cup of coffee for Georgia. "Sure you only want coffee?" the waitress asked.

Georgia nodded. "I have to work tonight."

"Bummer, George," Marielle said. Two or three years younger than Georgia, she worked as a temp and her social life was her top priority.

"No, it's good. A new assignment, and I'm excited." Her boss at Dynamic Marketing had just appointed her, not her competition, Harry, as account manager on a major new campaign. She'd worked her butt off to win this opportunity.

The initial meeting with the client was tomorrow afternoon, and she had meetings all Tuesday morning, so that left only this evening to prepare. The client, VitalSport, was an American company that manufactured sports and leisure wear and equipment and was about to expand into the Canadian market. Her boss, Billy Daniels, had recommended a figurehead campaign. The figurehead—a Canadian hockey star—had just been signed. Billy had given her a video of an interview with the man and said, rather ominously, that he hoped she was up for a challenge.

Of course she was, and she was happy to put in a long night of preparation. At least she could work at home, where she could peel off her tailored office clothes, free her hair from its businesslike knot, and curl up with her cat.

Marielle took a healthy sip of her cocktail, said, "Yum," then, "I agree. The book was depressing."

"Is there a rule that says a book club can't ever read anything fun?" Kim asked.

"Exactly," Marielle agreed. Then, her attractive coffee–colored face lighting with mischief, she said, "Or sexy. What's wrong with sexy? I just started a cool book." She reached into her large purse, extracted her iPad, and clicked it on.

A moment later, she turned it around. "Here."

The other three of them peered at the image. "You're not serious," Georgia said. The cover had all the romantic clichés. A blond woman with flowing locks, clad in a lacy, old–fashioned undergarment, was being untied down the front by a black–haired man, naked to the waist, his rippling muscles on full display.

"The Sexual Education of Lady Emma Whitehead," Kim read the title. "Now, that looks like fun."

"It's historical erotica," Marielle said. "Lady Emma's a twenty–year–old widow. Her husband was an old guy who sucked in bed. Her father arranged the marriage. Emma didn't love the dude, but at least she had some kind of life. Now she's supposed to be in mourning, she's running out of money, and no handsome, sexy young guy's likely to marry her when he could get a lovely young virgin with a dowry."

"Groan," Lily, the only married member of the club, said.

Georgia could relate to Emma, at least a bit. She was a young widow too, though in her case her husband had been her soul mate. She'd married at age twenty–one and lost Anthony in a horrible car accident—one she'd survived almost injury–free—before she turned twenty–five. In the three years since, she'd learned to be happy living alone. From what she'd seen, few marriages were as wonderful as hers had been. A man like Anthony—and a connection so deep and special—was a rare thing. Maybe one day, if she was lucky, she'd find another soul mate, but she couldn't imagine it happening soon. For now, she'd focus her energy on her career. And, like Lady Emma, she'd be celibate. Sex without an emotional connection didn't attract her in the least.

Marielle continued. "A married girlfriend invites Emma to spend a month at her husband's family's country home, and she's thrilled to escape her boring rut. The first evening she's there, the family entertains friends and neighbors for a musical gathering. Emma discovers that there's another houseguest." She clicked her iPad.

"Don't stop there," Kim said.

"No way. But it's better if I read it."

Emma was late arriving downstairs due to the maid's insistence on ridding her demure gray widow's weeds of their travel creases. She entered the noisy, crowded music room nervously, unused to being alone at a social gathering, and gazed about for her friend and hostess. Margaret, Lady Edgerton, sat talking with two middle–aged women, and Emma hurried to join them.

Marielle's normal speaking voice had a slight Caribbean lilt and it was fun to hear her attempt an English accent.

Once seated, she surveyed the room. A group of pretty young girls gathered in a corner, and with their fluting voices, silvery laughter, and colorful dresses, they reminded her of a flock of tropical birds. What had captured their interest?

The crowd parted and a black–haired man walked from among them. Emma's breath caught in her throat as the man strolled over to speak to Lord Edgerton, Margaret's husband, with the flock of chattering girls trailing him.

Emma could understand their fascination. This was no conventional English gentleman. There was a . . . je ne sais quoi . . . about him, from his stylishly cut Continental clothing, almost indecent in staid old England, to the cocky tilt of his head and his persuasive smile as he spoke to his host.

Lord Edgerton nodded, and moved away purposefully.

Sipping her coffee, Georgia thought that Woody Hanrahan, the hockey player she'd be dealing with, likely had little in common with the je–ne–sais–quoi man in the book. Hockey was big in Vancouver, but the appeal totally escaped her. She didn't know one hockey player from another, so she'd studied the biography Billy had given her.

Woody—Woodrow—Hanrahan was born in a small town in Manitoba twenty–eight years ago. He'd played hockey from a young age and been mentored by a friend's father, who became his agent. Woody had been drafted into the NHL at age seventeen by the Atlanta Thrashers. Vancouver had traded for him seven years ago and, along with a couple of other players, he was credited for turning a second–rate team into one that had won the Stanley Cup four years ago and lost out by a single goal last year. This was his third season as team captain. He'd also played on the gold–medal–winning Team Canada in the 2010 Olympics.

It all sounded relatively impressive—if athletes impressed you—but Billy had warned her that she'd need to transform a sow's ear into a silk purse. Obviously there was more—or less—to Mr. Hanrahan than appeared in his bio.

Realizing she'd become distracted by thoughts of work, Georgia focused again on what Marielle was reading.

The cosmopolitan man gazed about the room, a sparkle in his dark eyes as he glanced past the pretty girls, on to a group of men rather loudly discussing politics in the corner, and then to Margaret, the two middle–aged ladies, and Emma.

For a moment, his eyes met hers. She felt something extraordinarily disconcerting: a quick flush of heat, not just in her cheeks but all through her body; tingly prickles across her skin as if someone had stroked her with a feather; a pulse that throbbed in her throat, at her wrists, and—oh my!—at that secret feminine place between her legs.

The man's gaze moved on, leaving her hot, prickly, and throbbing. Oh dear, was she coming down with an illness? And yet, she didn't feel ill, exactly. More . . . unsettled.

"Oh, good God," Lily broke in, rolling her eyes. "Enough."

"No, it's just getting good," Kim said. "Go on, Marielle. You can't leave us hanging here."

Marielle grinned. "I told you her husband sucked in bed, right? The poor woman's never had an orgasm, and she doesn't even recognize arousal."

Georgia focused on the yam fry she'd lifted to her mouth, not daring to look at the others. Though she'd loved Anthony with all her heart, and intercourse with him had been emotional and wonderful, the truth was she'd never had an orgasm either. Nor was she all that familiar with arousal, or at least not the purely physical kind Marielle was talking about. For Georgia, sex was about an intimate sharing of heart, mind, body, and soul with a man she'd committed her life to and who had committed his to her.

Though she'd dated a couple of men since Anthony died, she'd quickly realized there was no real connection and had broken things off.

She was glad she wasn't a very sexual being. Celibacy was easy.

Marielle began to read again.

Margaret leaned over and whispered to Emma, "That, my dear, is Comte Alexandre de Vergennes from France. He will be staying here too. He arrived this afternoon, while you were resting after your journey."

"I didn't know there was to be another guest."

"Nor did I," Margaret said tartly. "I am not best pleased, but in this I will bow to my husband's wishes. They are old friends, although I cannot imagine why. The Comte is, to use the most polite word available, a rake."

Emma's mouth opened in a silent "O."

Margaret's lips kinked up and her eyes sparkled. "I must tell you the most delicious secret. The Comte was caught in the bedchamber of a married woman. Her outraged husband challenged him to a duel, and instead of doing the manly thing and fighting, the Comte fled the country. He sought refuge with my husband."

"Oh, my!"

Across the room, bottles of champagne had arrived and were being opened. The Comte, usurping the role of host, handed glasses to the colorful young ladies. "He is making free with your husband's hospitality," Emma commented.

"Actually, he brought the champagne with him. Cases of it."

Margaret tsked as bright laughter rang out. "I see it will be my task to ensure that none of our innocent maids—or," she added as two young married women headed over to join the fun, "married ladies—fall for the Comte's charms and jeopardize their reputations."

"Surely no one would be so foolish." Charm was such a superficial thing.

Besides, there wasn't the slightest chance the Comte would wield that charm on her, a drab widow.

Marielle stopped reading. "You know they'll end up in bed. Won't it be fun seeing how they get there, and what happens when they do?"

"I vote for this book," Kim said promptly.

"I vote against," Lily said. A doctor, she could put on a brisk "I have spoken" tone.

It didn't daunt Marielle. "We went along with your last choice. I say it's time to get dirty, girls."

"Oh, for heaven's sake," Lily said. "George, back me up."

"Let's read it." The words just popped out.

"Hurray! Three votes win," Marielle said. "Thanks, George."

"Now," Lily said sternly, "can we please get back to discussing this month's book, before we run out of time?"

As the blonde rattled off what sounded like a review from a literary journal, Georgia wondered at her own quick agreement with Marielle's choice. Historical erotica? She'd never felt the slightest desire to read erotica. Yet the short passage had intrigued her. It might be fun to read something that was such a complete departure from her personal experience.

Chapter 2

Off balance—literally, since the one–inch heel of her sensible pumps had snapped off in a sewer grate five blocks away—Georgia opened the door to one of Dynamic Marketing's conference rooms early Tuesday afternoon. She stepped inside to see a good six and a half feet of naked male back.

Back, and backside. Naked backside. Naked, extraordinarily well–muscled back. And a tight, taut, amazing butt.

Well, all right, not entirely naked. She noted a thin "T" of black fabric. What self–respecting heterosexual man wears a thong?

No, wait. Shouldn't the question be, Why am I gaping at a near–naked man when I've obviously entered the wrong room? She should be retreating quietly and sliding the door shut before anyone noticed her.

She was about to do exactly that when the naked giant said, "No straight dude's gonna wear a fucking thong. I didn't fucking sign on for this."

"Woody," a much calmer male voice started, in a placating tone, "now, just—"

"Woody?" Georgia exclaimed. This was Woodrow—Woody—Hanrahan?

"George?" That was her boss, Billy Daniels's, voice. She hadn't even noticed he was in the room.

"George?" the naked man said.

She was dimly aware of the calm–voiced man, someone she didn't know, joking, "Is there an echo in here?" But only dimly aware, because the giant had swung to face her.

Her eyes widened. He was leaner than she'd thought a hockey player would be, but oh, my, did he have muscles. Shoulders, arms, torso, legs. Abs.

Her gaze traveled south and fixed on the front pouch of that skimpy black thong. She had never, not in ads or movies much less real life, seen a man who filled out his underwear so impressively.

The giant crossed powerful–looking arms across his broad chest. "Who's George?"

"I'm George." Her voice came out breathy because, let's face it, the sight of him had stolen her breath. She forced air into her lungs and went on. "It's a nickname. I'm Georgia Malone."

Holding her hand out to offer a firm handshake, she stepped forward, forgetting that her right heel was no longer there. Her ankle wobbled, her knee buckled, her briefcase slipped, and she tumbled ignominiously toward the floor—only to be caught by one large, firm hand grasping her elbow.

"You're a woman," he said disbelievingly.

Woody Hanrahan no doubt intended to steady her. Instead, her heart jerked and her pulse raced like she'd been zapped by an electrified fence. Or a Taser.

Except, the heat that rushed through her, the tingles that darted across her skin, the pulse that throbbed at every pulse point, felt incredibly good, in a way she'd never experienced before, yet somehow recognized. Why did she— Oh, there'd been a similar description in the passage Marielle had read yesterday.

"George, are you all right?" Her boss's voice was sharp.

"Yes, of course." She answered automatically, belatedly realizing she was mere inches from that six and a half feet of muscled nakedness. From that black pouch, its skimpy fabric doing its best to contain all the masculinity inside.

His package. That was one of the less crude terms people used for male genitals. A package, wrapped in black—was that silk?—and just begging to be unwrapped.

No, wait—what was she thinking? Georgia Malone, the girl who had, without a moment's hesitation, sworn chastity vows as a teen, did not think about unwrapping men's private parts. Not unless there was a wedding night involved, which wasn't likely to happen anytime soon—and less likely with this guy than with any other she'd ever met.

"Should get that shoe fixed," Woody said.

"Right." Striving to find her balance—in all meanings of that word—she stepped away from him. "And I apologize for being late. I left my last meeting a few blocks away, and that's when my heel snapped off." She hated to look unprofessional. This marketing campaign, her first as account manager, was a critical step on the path to her ultimate career goal: to have enough clout to choose the campaigns she worked on, or to set up her own agency. While she loved putting all her expertise and energy behind products she believed in, a few campaigns had made her feel like a snake oil saleswoman.

She set down her briefcase. "Let's try this again. My name is Georgia Malone, and as Mr. Hanrahan so astutely observed, I'm a woman." She limp–walked, trying for as steady a gait as possible, toward the third man in the room. "You'd be Marco Sanducci of VitalSport?"

"Indeed. A pleasure to meet you, Ms. Malone."

They shook hands. While her boss, Billy, was mid–thirties and metrosexual, this man was perhaps a decade older and more casual in appearance. He looked fit, vigorous, and attractive with silver–streaked black hair, tanned skin, and the right kind of wrinkles around his eyes and mouth. He wore nicely tailored pants, a sports jacket, and a blue shirt open at the neck, no doubt VitalSport designs. As a visual symbol for his company, he made a great impression. Pity he wasn't the person the campaign would center around.

She forced herself to turn back to Woody, and finally studied his face. Yes, she saw a resemblance to the video clip Billy'd given her of an interview between the periods of a hockey game. Except, in it, Woody's hair was stringy with sweat, his face flushed and angry, and his eyes slitted as he spat out obscenities that challenged the censor's bleeper. As the crowning touch, a slash high on one cheek dripped blood down his face.

Now his mahogany hair was clean and glossy, his face sculpted, and his eyes the deep blue of a lake in summer. The slightly crooked nose and a scar cutting one cheekbone—from that same slash?—saved him from being a pretty boy. His hair needed styling and the overgrown beard had to go, but he could be made to look good in an ad. That was a relief.

Billy's market research indicated that Woody was not only Canada's favorite hockey star, but one of the country's most recognizable athletes. Recognizable even though, unlike many players, he'd stayed out of the media limelight and he hadn't done product endorsements. Snagging him for the VitalSport campaign was a coup.

Briefly, she wondered why Woody had signed. Hockey players made an obscene amount of money. Did he really want more? Had staying out of the limelight been a ploy to win him even bigger bucks when he finally agreed to an endorsement? She shook her head. Motivation didn't matter. He'd signed and he was locked in.

And she was the account manager and this was supposed to be her meeting. A meeting, so what was the hockey star doing in his Skivvies?

"Gentlemen," she said crisply, "I understood this was to be an initial discussion of the marketing campaign for VitalSport's Canadian launch." She raised her brows in Woody's direction. "I assume there's an explanation for your state of undress."

"Not a fucking good one," he grumbled.

Trying not to look below his neck again—the view was too distracting, and the fact that it was distracting annoyed her—she said, "Perhaps you'd like to get dressed; then we can discuss the explanation, or lack thereof."

"First good idea I've heard." He hooked his hands in the sides of the thong as if . . .

Oh my God, he was going to take it off! "Stop!" She raised both hands, almost losing her balance again.

He grinned. It was a thoroughly wicked, extremely sexy grin. "Got a problem with nudity? You wouldn't survive in the locker room."

She frowned. "No, I do not have a problem with nudity, in appropriate circumstances." Like between two people who were in love. "And why on earth would I want to be in the locker room?"

He snorted. "Right. A lesbian. George. Figures."

It wasn't the first time her nickname and tailored style had led to that assumption. Her sexual orientation, like her gender, was irrelevant in the workplace, so she didn't bother to correct him.

Also ignoring Woody's comment, Marco Sanducci explained, "Journalists visit the locker room. Sports reporters. Women as well as men."

"Oh." Women mingled with a whole team full of men like Woody, in various states of undress? The thought struck her that her mother'd be in seventh heaven. But Georgia was nothing like Bernadette. In fact, they had a standing joke—one neither of them found very funny—that she must have been swapped at birth.

"I'll turn around while you get dressed, Mr. Hanrahan. Let me know when you're decent."

She was about to turn when laughter, in three different male tones, stopped her. Fine, that hadn't been the smartest thing to say. Her brief research had told her that "decent" wasn't a word typically used to describe Woody. On the ice, he was a forward, captain of his team, and known not only for high scoring and being a good team player, but for collecting penalties and never backing off from a fight. Off the ice, he had the reputation of being "forward" too—in other words, he was a player in a whole other sense of the word.

Woody picked up a ratty hockey jersey with the logo of his Vancouver team, but, rather than pull it over his head, he stood there, holding it. Like he was thinking about something—and thinking was a painful process.

It dawned on her that she'd seen a lot of those chocolate–and–caramel jerseys on the streets of Vancouver recently, but she'd never paid particular attention. Now she studied the stylized logo: a little brown creature up on its back legs, with a big tail, bright eyes, and two huge front teeth.

For her first solo campaign, she had to transform a man named Woody, who was captain of a team called the Beavers.

Life just wasn't cutting her a break.


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