Jane West has everything a woman could want. A job in a small Montana town’s only adult store, two busy young boys and one dead husband. Everything except a little excitement–a little zing. But that changes one summer morning at a garage sale when her kids buy some garden gnomes.
Now someone wants those gnomes and will let nothing get in their way. Including Jane. This new excitement for Jane spells trouble for a relationship with new neighbor–and hot fireman–Ty Strickland. Can Jane and Ty handle a relationship meddling mother-in-law, crazy kids, and stay alive while trying to solve the mystery of the garden gnomes?
“I’m not sure which one I want. I didn’t realize there were so many choices!”
The woman wasn’t on the hunt for a new car or juice boxes at the grocery store. Nope. She wanted a dildo. I called her type a Waffler. Someone who contemplated all options before even attempting to make a choice. Because of Miss Waffler, I had ten different dildo models spread out across the counter. Glass, silicone, jelly and battery powered. She needed help.
That’s where I came in. My name is Jane West and I run Goldilocks, the adult store my mother-in-law opened back in the seventies. Story goes she named it after the fairytale character when a mother bear and her two cubs walked down Willson right in front of the store the week before it opened. She called it fate. Or it could have been because her name is Goldie, so it made sense. I started working for her when my husband died, a temporary arrangement that helped her out. Three years later, things had turned long-term temporary.
The store was tasteful considering the offerings. The walls were a fresh white, shelves and displays just like you’d find at the typical department store. Then tasteful made way for tacky. Gold toned industrial carpet like you’d see in Vegas, a photo of a naked woman sprawled artfully across a bearskin rug over the counter. A sixties chandelier graced the meager entry. Goldie had to put her unique stamp on things somehow.
It wasn’t a big store, just one room with a storage area and bathroom in back. Whatever she didn’t have in stock—although you’d be amazed at the selection Goldie offered in such a small space—we ordered in. Montanans were patient shoppers. With few options store-wise inBozeman, most people ordered everything but the basics from the Internet. There’s one Walmart, one Target, one Old Navy. Only one of everything. In a big city, if you drove two miles you came across a repeat store. Urban sprawl at its finest. Not here, although there were two sets of Golden Arches. One in town and one off the highway for the tourists who needed a Big Mac on the way toYellowstone. The anchor store of the town’s only mall was a chain bookstore. No Nordstrom or Bass Pro Shop out here. You shopped local or you went home.
In the case of the woman in front of me, I wished she’d just go home.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked helping people and I’m comfortable talking sex toys with anyone. But this time was definitely different. Big time.
Behind Miss Waffler stood a fireman. A really attractive, tall, well muscled one wearing a Bozeman Fire T-shirt and navy pants. Can you say hot? A hot man in uniform? Yup, it was a cliché, but this one was dead-on accurate. He’d come in while I was comparing the various dildo models before I went into the perks of having rotation for best female stimulation. The first time.
“Can you explain the features of each one again?” Miss Waffler had her fingers on the edge of the glass counter as if she were afraid to touch them. Petite, she was slim to the point of anorexic. Her rough voice said smoker, at least a pack a day. Her skin was weathered, either from cigarettes or theMontanaweather, and wrinkles had taken over her face. She’d be pretty if she ate something and kicked the habit.
I gave her my best fake smile. “Sure.”
I darted a glance at the fireman over the woman’s shoulder.Sandyhair trimmed military short, blue eyes, strong features. Thirties. A great smile. He seemed perfectly content to wait his turn. If the humorous glint in his eye and the way he bit his lip, most likely to keep from smiling, was any indication, he was clearly enjoying himself. A radio squawked on his belt and he turned it down. Obviously my lesson on sexual aids was more important than a five-alarm fire.
Miss Waffler was completely oblivious of, and unaffected by, the fireman. I now knew why she wanted a dildo.
I picked up a bright blue model. “This one is battery powered and vibrates. Three settings. Good for clitoral stimulation.” I put it down and picked up another. “This one is glass. No batteries, so it’s meant for penetration. The best thing about it is you can put it in the freezer or warm it and it provides a varied experience.”
The woman made some ah sounds as I gave the details. I went through all the possibilities with her one at a time. I got to the tenth and final model. “This one is obviously realistic. It’s actually molded from the erect penis of a porn star. It’s made of silicone and has suction cups on the base.”
Fireman peered over the woman’s shoulder as I suction cupped the dildo to the glass counter. Thwap.
“You can attach it to a piece of furniture if you want to keep your hands free.”
Both fireman and Miss Waffler nodded their heads as if they could picture what I was talking about.
“I’ll take that one,” she said as she pointed to number ten. The eight inch Whopper Dong.
I rang up Miss Waffler’s purchase and she happily went off to take care of business.
And there he was. Mr. Fireman. And me. And dildo display made three.
“Um…thanks for waiting.” I tucked my curly hair behind an ear.
“Sure. You learn something new every day.” He smiled. Not just with his mouth, but with his eyes. Very blue eyes.
Right there, in the middle of my mother-in-law’s sex store, dildos and all, there was a spring thaw in my libido. It had long since gone as cold asMontanain January. Who could have blamed it with all of my dead husband’s shenanigans? But right then I felt my heart rate go up, my palms sweat from nerves. The fireman didn’t seem the least bit phased by my little sex toy talk. I, on the other hand, was having a hot flash like a menopausal woman just looking at him.
“I’m Jane. What can I help you with today?” Hi, I’m Jane. I’m thirty-three. I like hiking in the mountains, cross-country skiing, I’m a Scorpio, and I want to rip that uniform off your hot body. I wiped my sweaty palms on my shorts.
He laughed and held out his hand. His grip was firm, his skin warm and a little rough. “Ty. Thanks, but no toys for me.” A pager beeped. He looked at it briefly and ignored it.
“Don’t you need to answer that? A fire or something?” I asked.
“Cat up a tree,” he joked.
I laughed, and heard my nerves in it. I took a deep breath to try and calm my racing heart. It didn’t work. All it did was make me discover how good he smelled. It wasn’t heavy cologne. Soap maybe. I didn’t really care if it was deodorant. He smelled fabulous.
“Actually, it was for station two. I’m here for your fire safety inspection.” He placed papers on the counter. Had he been holding them all this time? I hadn’t noticed. For the next fifteen minutes we went over fire inspection paperwork with an elephant in the room the shape of a dildo.
Jane - An attractive widower who works at an adult store and whose libido has been frozen for five years until Ty walks into her store. There were some parts that Jane reminded me of an Anita Blake type of character. She was always very nonchalant about the devastating events happening around her that seemed to pull her into the mix of things. And also that she's a guy magnet even though she minimizes her attractiveness (probably due to the emotional abuse that occurred with her dead husband).
Ty - Very handsome, down to earth, firefighter who just moved in two houses away. He meets Jane after an awkward encounter in the adult store she works at and things blossom from there. He seems like a genuine good guy, raised right by rancher parents, and is all man in a rugged sense but overly so. He takes on to her kids right away and being a single mom myself, who doesn't love that! There are times when he is such a man about approaching a relationship and you want to conk him upside the head.
Dex - A wealthy horse breeder who looks like the Marlboro Man who has his eyes set on Jane. Luckily, I've never been attracted to the cowboy look so I immediately wanted Ty to get his act together and get Dex out of the picture. Dex is a Dominant and and has plans of his own for Jane but his life is a lot darker than it appears at first glance.
Goldie - The owner of the adult store in which Jane works. Goldie is also Jane's mother-in-law. Yes...mother to her p.o.s. dead husband. But Goldie is a delight. She reminds me of a hippie...or maybe Goldie Hawn in that one movie, The Banger Sisters. She often butts in when she's not welcome and doesn't give a darn. But she's also a very caring, loving woman to those she loves. I love her character and am sooooo glad I don't have someone like her in my life to deliver a box full of sex toys and condoms to my suitors!
The setting for the book is in the Bozeman, Montana and its surrounding areas. I immediately latched on to the book because of that fact. I went to college up in Montana and loved hearing the familiar place names and picturing the scenery as I read along. But even for those who don't have Montanan ties...which is most of you...Zane used exceptional imagery and detail that helped you to melt into the book from the start.
This book had me rolling. Even though my normal loves are in the dark fantasy or paranormal romance genres, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There were times where I was giggling like a schoolgirl. There were times where I felt the zings or the butterflies Jane was feeling with Ty. There were times where I yelled aloud at Ty for being an idiot. There were times where I wanted to punch Dex in the face. This book was a very fast read...just took me a few hours and I didn't want to stop.
I'm one of those people who judges a book by its cover...or by its name. Dreadful, right? But I rarely will look at the synopsis or a blurb or an excerpt because I just want to get right to it. If I'm going to read something, I'm going to read it. So, when I picked this book up "Gnomes on the Range"...I was like okay Gnome sex...I can dig it. But it turned out to be a great intro story for her series with twists and turns and milder heat (than I'm accustomed to reading) when it came to the loves scenes but I was good with that!
Here are some of my favorite lines in the book:
"He more like curdled my milk." - Ha! I laughed hard as I've had that feeling with some guys like that before. They are the ones who go overboard on everything and are slimy in every single way, especially when they approach a woman. You feel like you need to take a long hot shower to get rid of their taint.
"I can cut my own meat." - You have to know which part I'm talking about. But it's such a Mom thing and I laughed and laughed because I could just picture that whole exchange between Ty and Jane.
"Those gnomes, they're checking out my ass." - Hey, do you blame them? *giggle*
"I was completely flummoxed." - Now Jennifer Zane...how long did you have that word on your list to use? I've got those words where I have nowhere, no conversation to say them in and I just keep a mental list and when I bust them out everyone laughs at me. I've just added flummoxed onto the list.
I loved it Jennifer Zane! I'm looking forward to the next book. I recommend this book to everyone who has a sense of humor and a libido that needs thawing themselves!!