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New Release Review! SCAMMER GIRL by Michelle Dayton (Tech-nically Love #2)

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Jo is a professional online romance scammer and Jamie is The Conscience of Silicon Valley.  They don’t trust one another, and when they meet in person, they quickly discover that not everything appears as it seems. Fans of Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne will love Scammer Girl, a spicy enemies to lovers romance.

Five years ago, Jo Harper did a bad thing. Dumped, injured, and in crippling debt, Jo did what any desperate woman with a PhD in psychology and above-average computer skills would: become an elite, undetectable online romance scammer. Now Jo and her team of four young women bring in enough cash to keep them securely afloat. Their targets? Married cheaters.

Jamie March, Bay Area royalty known as “The Conscience of Silicon Valley,” hates every aspect of online crime, especially those who defraud people. And when it appears that his brother is the victim of a sophisticated romance scam, he can’t stand idly by.

What’s weird though, is that when Jo and Jamie meet…they don’t hate one another. Not at all. He makes her laugh and feel alive again. She challenges his intellect like no other. But they can’t trust one another, right? And you can’t fall in love with someone you don’t trust—or can you?

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Excerpt:

We swayed together as the song reach its climax. It was much more of an embrace than a dance. My lips were inches from that damn freckle, and his hands were roving through my loose hair, tugging my head back. My lips parted—

He stiffened, just the slightest bit. I felt the withdrawal. “What’s wrong?”

There was a storm in those sea eyes. A sharp bite in his voice. “Does every man you target feel like this? Like you’re both the drug and the antidote?”

If he’d physically slapped me, it wouldn’t have hurt more.

I took a step back, dropping my hands and jutting out my chin. Not that it mattered or that he would believe me, but, “You were never a target.”

The song ended, and I raised my hands in applause to the stage before coolly pointing to my sofa, marching to it, and sitting down. “I assume you want to discuss your brother.” Jamie lowered himself to the cushion next to me, but he didn’t relax into the seat. His rigid posture made me want to give him a good shove.

“I’m sorry I said that,” he mumbled. “I’m extremely uneasy about the effect you have on me.” His lips tightened. “I know a lot about the ways people can be damaged by Internet scams: financially, emotionally. But I’ve never been involved in one personally.”

He moved his head from side to side, a little sheepish. “The past month, our letters. There was always the possibility you were acting or lying. But I didn’t think you were. I chose to believe that the letters you wrote were coming from you, not someone you made up. That the conversation we had the night we met was real.” He looked at the band, at the couples swaying. “When we were dancing, I was so … so fucking thrilled, I scared myself. What if you’re pretending? Performing? What if I’m the world’s biggest idiot?”

His straightforward truthfulness was jarring. Maybe I’d been in the game for too long, but I just didn’t expect men to be so open about their feelings, especially ones that made them vulnerable. In writing, yes. In person, no.

“I’m not pretending or performing,” I bit out. The truth came through my lips before I could stop it. “I’m extremely uneasy about the effect you have on me too.”

His shoulders relaxed a few inches. “I do want to talk about Bobby,” he admitted. “But,” he leaned forward. “First I just want to talk. To you. About anything.”

Still a little stung, I just shrugged. “Well, no Jeopardy! tonight. So I guess we won’t be trading quotes from classic literature.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” he said. “There’s one perfect quote that’s been boomeranging around my skull for the last several weeks.” He quirked one brow and made meaningful eye contact. “‘You have bewitched me, body and soul.’”

Oof. I hung my head in mock surrender and covered my heart with my hands. He just undid with me with his ridiculous adorableness. “Ok, Indy. You win. You’ve just recited my favorite line in all of fiction. Let’s talk.”

Jamie’s eyes widened with glee. “Indy? That’s the Harrison Ford I am? Indiana Jones? Should I buy a hat and whip?”

I burst out laughing. “I mean, sure. You’d look great in a fedora. But I was referring to Indiana Jones in professor mode. With the three-piece suit, tie, and glasses.”

He slumped down, looking deflated. “Oh. Yeah, that makes more sense.”

I poked him in the shoulder. “Don’t pout. There is a huge population of women who find classroom Indy even sexier than sweaty jungle Indy.”

He cocked his jaw. “Interesting. Are you within that population?”

Oh. This was getting dangerous. But not even a little part of me felt like stopping. I smiled directly into his eyes. “Hell yes.”

Copyright 2022 Michelle Dayton

Review:

OMG, I *loved* this book!

To be honest, I had a tough time for quite a bit of it. I loved Jo and her team of fellow conspirators, but I couldn’t get past their way of making a living. I adored the Ocean’s Eleven/Mission Impossible aspects of it, and gah, I really can’t stand cheaters at all, but online romance scammers? I guess I’ve watched too many of those evening news specials and read too many NYT stories about women who had lost everything they had to some dodgy guy overseas. I loved everyone in this book, but even before Jamie March (OMG, I LOVED JAMIE MARCH!*) got thrown into the mix, I really, really, REALLY wanted these girls to do something else for a living. I was soooo conflicted. They were all gorgeous and brilliant, so I knew they could do anything they set their mind to! But how to convince Jo? I wasn’t sure Jamie would be able to on his own *and* get them both to an HEA…

…but I’d already read Ms Dayton’s Disaster Girl , so honestly, I should have known better. Of course she pulled it off! And in total style too 🙂 By the time I got to the 75% mark, I didn’t want to put this one down, because OMG I was gripped. Everything that gets thrown at Jo (and the reader) in that last 25% was just amazing. I laughed out loud. I cried. I swear, my heart clenched more than once. And so much swooning. I can’t even tell you. I NEEDED to get to the end of the book ASAP, but goodness, I did not want it to end once I did.

How soon until book 3 is released? 😉 Please tell me that Jo and Jamie will be in it at least as much as book one’s Tess and Max were in this one… (insert fingers crossed emoji here)

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

*so totally not fair to have a hero whose two nicknames (from the heroine) are both two of my all-time favorite movie boyfriends. And then there is the awesomeness that is Jamie March himself, even if we take away the Indy and Cap comparisons. Honestly, how are all future book boyfriends supposed to compete???

Scammer Girl #oneclick graphic
book cover on ereaer, cup of coffee, bouquet of light pink flowers

About the author:

There are only three things Michelle Dayton loves more than sexy and suspenseful novels: her family, the city of Chicago, and Mr. Darcy. Michelle dreams of a year of world travel – as long as the trip would include weeks and weeks of beach time. As a bourbon lover and unabashed wine snob, Michelle thinks heaven is discussing a good book over an adult beverage.

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