Author: Gena Showalter
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 5 Stars
New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter is back with a sizzling Original Heartbreakers story featuring a troubled playboy and the woman he can’t resist…
Beck O’ckley is ruthless in the boardroom…and the bedroom. He’s never been with the same woman twice, and vows he never will. With a past as twisted as his, meaningless sex keeps the demons at bay. His motto: One and done. No harm, no foul.
Harlow Glass is the most hated girl in town. The beautiful artist is penniless, jobless and homeless. When she sneaks into Beck’s home—her ancestral estate—for food, she’s shocked by his early return…and her immediate, sizzling and intense attraction to him.
For the first time in Beck’s life, he can’t get a woman out of his mind. All too soon, friendship blooms into obsession and he’ll have to break her heart…or surrender his own.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
I adored The Hotter You Burn by Gena Showalter. Having never read the first book in the series, I went into this story as if it were standalone, and I’m happy to report that it stood on its own two feet just fine. The story was a steamy/sweet contemporary romance whose two main protagonists were deeply flawed.
Beck was a former foster kid and criminal turned wealthy business mogul trying to atone for his sins, and Harlow was a former town bully, so loathed by her own hometown that someone once doused her in gasoline and lit her on fire. Under normal circumstances, and with a different author, I think I would have found it hard to like Beck and Harlow—but instead, I loved them. Beck was a melt-your-heart guy with a predisposition towards loyalty and a little too much charm for his own good. Harlow, despite her checkered past, was a down to earth spitfire who went out of her way to make other people’s lives easier… even if they treated her like a leper. Together they made a fantastic couple, and it was impossible to do anything but love them and cheer them on.
There were a lot of themes of forgiveness, redemption, and trust in this story, and weighing in at nearly 400 pages, the book managed to find time to delve pretty deeply into those themes. I never felt like the story was rushed or that parts of the plot were being skimmed over by the author. Romances these days aren’t often over 200-250 pages, so it was a nice change to find a romance that was longer and had the time to delve a little deeper into the relationship between these two characters.
The writing itself was nearly flawless. I was reading an ARC, and I’ll admit, there were a few typos, but nothing jarring, and I’m not going to knock points off my rating for something that I’m sure will be fixed by the time publication rolls around (after all, the book doesn’t get released until August).
Overall, I really loved the book. The romance between Beck and Harlow was heartbreakingly sweet and steamy at the same time—definitely rife with sexual tension and emotional drama, and the cast of characters was vivid and at times, hilariously funny. I laughed out loud quite a lot with this one. If you’re looking for a good, solid romance read with an HEA, humor, and some pretty sizzling chemistry, take a look at this book. It’s going on my keeper shelf.