The Virgin’s Guide to Misbehaving

by Jessica Clare
Penguin/Berkley (Sensation), June 2014
audio/ebook/mass market paperback 304 pages

Steamy Romance IconMagnetic Attraction2 out of 4 hot peppers  Body Art Icon


E-Galley provided by publisher for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own unless otherwise noted or cited.

Playing innocent is easy.

After being the quiet, shy girl her whole life, Elise Markham is ready for a mental makeover. She’s done keeping to herself and staying out of trouble—it’s time to break out of her shell and maybe meet someone intriguing in the process. So, on a photography trip to Bluebonnet, she has a whole lot more on her mind than snapping photos, especially when Rome walks into the picture.

Playing dirty is fun.

The newest instructor at Wilderness Survival Expeditions has a colorful past, to say the least. Having come from a family of notorious con artists that destroyed his credit and reputation, all before his eighteenth birthday, Rome just wants a decent job and a quiet life in a town where no one knows his name. He’s exactly the kind of bad boy that an innocent girl like Elise should stay far away from.

But Elise is tired of doing what’s right. She’s ready to throw caution to the wind—and let Rome show her just how exciting being bad can be…


Short TakeWhile I gave a decent review to the 3rd book in this series, THE EXPERT’S GUIDE TO DRIVING A MAN WILD, I did feel the language was a little crude, but the story was interesting and quirky.  It had a lot of shock value.

But, I found this story really struck a chord with me.

The tattooed and pierced Rome could be an antihero, but there’s no ‘anti’ in him. He has just had a bum rap in life. But a better first lover, and first love, could not be written. For the young woman whose shyness is the result of scoliosis, a birthmark and a sheltered upbringing, he is absolutely perfect even though you would never put the two together at a dinner party.

And Clare strikes the right notes with the situation as well — we can all sympathize with Elise — every woman can. Almost everyone has been hurt by some guy in her past, made to feel lesser and unsexy.

So when Elise is filled with doubt because what she hears from him seems too good to believe, I TOTALLY understood it even though it has been over 33 years since I experienced it. It is the kind of experience you remember.   He said he’ll call but then he doesn’t call. Or, he swears his undying love, or tells you he thinks your are so beautiful/special/brilliant only and you learn it was all an act to get into your pants. And ,I love it when Elise grows a spine and gets the job done. I even like how her brother tries to “protect” her from the nasty boy.

The writing is uneven though with one moment a character is tender and the next, s/he is crude.  The use of the word “squirting” to describe female ejaculation was interesting in that the term is explained as such, but I certainly sympathized with Elise’s reaction to what would, to the inexperienced, feel like urination.

We get some brief glimpses into Grant, Brenna Beth Ann and other characters from the other books in the series.  But, this one won me over for its sensitive (if repetitive) treatment of Elise’s issues and the very fine man who she hooks up with.

I recommend it!

Relevant Links

At Berkley/Jove At Penguin At Amazon At B&N Jessica Clare Website