Monday, June 29, 2009

Review: Heated Rush by Leslie Kelly

Title: Heated Rush
Series: The Wrong Bed
Author: Leslie Kelly
Read copy: eBook
Published: July 1, 2008
Publisher: Harlequin
ISBN: 1426818920
ISBN-13: 9781426818929

You know you're hard up when you have to buy a date...

But Annie Davis's big family reunion is looming, and she needs a stand-in man fast or she'll never hear the end of it. Any gorgeous guy will do. Her solution? The drop-dead-sexy man at the charity bachelor auction. His good looks and blue-collar background make him perfect for her! Or is he?

Sean Murphy has a bit of a surprise for Annie. Not only is he not blue-collar, he's actually a sophisticated European entrepreneur, one who's made pleasuring women an art form. And he wants to permanently pleasure Annie! But Sean knows that if she discovers his secret, their wickedly delicious liaison will be over. Lucky for both of them, he's learned enough tricks to keep Annie distracted for a long, long time....

My rating:

Another sweet story in this two-book "miniseries". I know, I know, it’s the word sweet. What on Earth could be sweet about a jaded (ex) gigolo being auctioned off—for a measly five thousand bucks—at a bachelor’s auction for needy kids to a day-care center owner so she could use him as a pretend boyfriend at her parents’ wedding anniversary?

Well, everything. ;)

The story starts at the same auction as in Slow Hands by the same author, where the mix-up by two harried printers leads to the all-American paramedic, mistaken for the gigolo, getting auctioned off for 25 grand. Sean Murphy, the real hired escort for women, retired and with his own set of rules, suffers from the same printer’s mistake and is turned into the paramedic and bought by Annie Davis, the day-care center owner. Don’t you just love it when Kismet rears its pretty head?

Country-bred Annie has fled her overprotective family and started a business in the big city, all the while avoiding being murdered, robbed and raped (not necessarily in that order). For the past few weeks she’s been telling everybody back at home about this wonderful guy she’s been seeing and she was bringing to the anniversary celebration. Unfortunately the divorced single father she’s been falling for ended up being still married and Annie ended up without a date. There’s no chance in hell she’ll be going home alone and suffer through another bout of you-should-stay-at-home-and-marry-a-country-boy lectures, so she needs a man. Pronto!

The bachelor auction is a given and the sexy hunk of a paramedic going last, with his long, black hair, vivid blue eyes, and a golden stud in his ear is a godsend. So Sean, the globetrotting business consultant (yeah, that’s what he really does for a living) and, Annie, the girl-next-door with a body he can’t help salivating for, are stuck together until the weekend and her parents’ party.

All they get is one weekend, there could be no future for them...Yeah, right.

I’d highly suggest you read the first book, Slow Hands, first, because that one’s great, too, and you will have a better picture of exactly what went on with the program mix-up. But this story could easily be read as a stand-alone, so don’t fret if you missed the opportunity to download the first book for free. Your loss.

I loved this book. Even more than I loved the previous one. Maybe because the mix-up didn’t drag throughout most of the story, but it was addressed early on and only served as some great dinner conversation and shared laughter.

I adored this story because of the two main characters, Annie and Sean. They were both nicely developed, they had depth, they had character, and when we discovered thy shared a rather bossy family past, it was made even more clear they were absolutely made for each other.

Annie was you typical girl-next-door type who grew up in a large family, with three overprotective brothers and an overprotective father. She desperately wanted to shake off the mold of the good country girl living in the big city. She wanted to see the world, experience things other than milking cows and living only a mile away from her family. Sure, she wanted a family as well, but in her own time and under her own rules.
She was sweet, caring, and had completely no clue as to how beautiful she really was—inside and out—until Sean came along.
I loved her final reaction, how totally nonjudgmental she was, how accepting and how understanding.

And Sean. Well, this tall, dark, gorgeous, long-haired, blue-eyed, golden-earring wearing, Irish-accented, sexy devil was a masterpiece in contradiction. At first he appeared beyond jaded, reminiscing about his sordid past, his living-in-the-Dark-ages father with his penchant for arranged marriage, his mother who sold him to get her next fix, the older women flocking to his side yadda yadda yadda. Yet, when he set eyes on the woman who "bought" him, he did a 180 so fast it made my head spin. Some would say that his intimate knowledge of women made him adjust to her needs, to what he felt she wanted, but there was something in her that drew him, enchanted him, made him want to be a better man.

There’s something about taming-the-bad-boy stories that get to me. It’s great to know that he he’s still bad in the end, that he let himself be tamed, that it took one special woman to accomplish that fact. And it’s wonderful seeing such taming unfurl before your eyes.

This is what happened in this story. Not that Sean was such a bad-boy to begin with, he was more a consequence of everything that happened to him, yet just the fact he saw himself unworthy of Annie was evidence enough he was worth everything she could give him. And the fact he was ready to push her away, suffer the pain of separation so he wouldn’t hurt her (he hurt her just by pushing her away, but there’s no way to tell that to a man, because they’re so bloody smart and all-knowing!) was heart-breaking.

I was a little disappointed about how the anniversary party played out. With all that buildup, warnings, preparation I was hoping for more than a few pages. Though I loved how Sean got in her father’s good graces by beating Annie’s brothers at rugby (football is for sissies!).
And the ending was a bit of a let-down as well. It just seemed too abrupt. Instead of the epilogue the author could’ve stretched the last chapter a little more, building the suspense. I know the ending was a given, but she could’ve made us squirm more. The epilogue was a bit sappy, but a nice resolution to a great story.

This was truly a fantastic story to read, forget about everything, and just enjoy the fantasy swirl in front of our eyes. If you like reformed-bad-boy stories or just like to escape in the world of a sweet, sexy romance, this is definitely a story for you.


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