REVIEW: Hot To Touch by Kimberly Kaye TerryWednesday, December 29, 2010 13:00
I have my core group of auto-buy authors, but category romance is the one sub genre where I still gleefully impulse buy. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out how Hot to Touch came to be in my possession. A firefighter hero! And that cover! As a mere mortal woman, I was unable to resist.
Photojournalist Emogene “Emma” Rawlings’ latest assignment has her traveling to Wyoming to shadow a group of smoke-jumpers. Firefighters who jump out of planes and land in literal hot-spots to combat wild fires. She’s looking forward to this latest job, until she meets second-in-command Shane Westwood. Oh sure, the man is fine, but he’s also a jackass determined to get her thrown out on her ass. What he doesn’t realize is that she didn’t get where she is by playing the shrinking violet. If Shane wants a fight, he’s got one!
Shane is all macho Alpha male with women issues. When a jump goes bad, he looks for someone to blame. And since he’s a romance hero? Naturally that someone is a woman. Emma’s arrival on the scene dredges up memories and also reminds him that women have no place in his line of work – even if said woman isn’t a smoke-jumper but a journalist. Whatever. Of course all this really means is he’s hot for her, and since the feeling is mutual on her end? Yeah, sparks fly.
I confess that I love a good raging jackass hero if the circumstances are right, which they are here. I pretty much wanted to smack Shane early on, but Emma’s unwillingness to cower in the face of his jackassery saves the day. It also adds a steamy amount of tension to the proceedings. So much so that when they do finally burn up the sheets together? That tension sadly gets sucked out of the book. However the author picks up that slack by giving both of her characters emotionally-wounded back-stories, so as the reader you know the other shoe will eventually drop. Yep, there’s a grovel during the final chapters.
That all being said, this story wasn’t always a joy to read. One thing that’s firmly reinforced to me is the difference between tropes and cliches. Tropes are recurring themes that often crop up in genre fiction. Like Beauty and the Beast or marriage of convenience. Cliches are just flat-out bad writing and Hot to Touch suffers from one too many of them. Emma licks her lips so much that I started to wonder if it was a nervous tic. She also suffers from Overactive Nipple Disorder. Shane being across the room, and breathing, is all it takes for Emma’s nipples to set a world record in puckering. After the first few chapters I wanted to airlift a care package of ChapStick and padded bras to her. I’m also not sure how someone described repeatedly as petite can have “long shapely legs.” Unless petite equals 5’9” and Shane is 7 feet tall. The final straw though? The Dubiously Timed Love Scene. Although in this instance is wasn’t the timing so much as the real estate. Like they say, it all comes down to location, location, location.
For readers who can look past some of the more annoying cliches, this is a pretty good story. The author obviously did a fair amount of research, and while journalist heroines don’t have the best track record in Romance Novel Land (too many opportunities for Too Stupid To Live behavior) – Emma is a likable girl. Some of the emotional baggage is telegraphed at the end, but Shane’s grovel helps instill some hope in the happy ending. This wasn’t a total wash, and there’s enough here that I would definitely try this author again.
Emogene Rawlings isn’t afraid to fight fire with fire. But when the feisty photojournalist heads west to tackle her toughest assignment yet, she ignites a blaze that may be too hot to handle. Rugged firefighter Shane Westwood is tall, dark—and dangerous. And he’s sending her heart straight into the line of fire….
Shane loves the wide open spaces of Wyoming, loves living a life of risk. And when the petite fireball who’s shadowing his every move enflames his deepest desires, the aroused smoke jumper is more than up for the challenge. But is Emogene ready for the most dangerous mission of all? To give in to the passion that’s consuming everything in its path—that will brand them heart and soul?