Hot And Bothered
by Lori Foster, Laura Bradley, Gayle Callen, and Victoria Marquez; assorted (2001)
St Martin's Press, $6.50, ISBN 0-312-97968-1


Hot And Bothered is supposed to be a super sexy hothothot anthology that will singe my eyebrows to crisp. Yeah right. Nothing irritates me more than reading about Frigid Brighids and "good girls" playing hard to get. All four heroines in this anthology make me one to choke them blue one way or the other, and the storylines they're in aren't any more interesting.

Lori Foster's Luring Lucy is about a woman Lucy who, after her husband's death, decides to finally move on with life. Her dead husband isn't that hot, naturally, not as hot as his best friend Bram who has carried a torch for Lucy all this while... yes, it's that story again, and like the 10,000,000 previous incarnations of this story, this one is no different, nothing new or inventive, just autopilot reading all the while. How hot? The whole courtship thing is something like this:

"Darling, let's..."

"Noooooo!"

"Honey, come on!"

"Nooooooo!"

"But baby, I'm..."

"Nooooooo!"

Fun. Let's move on.

Truth Or Dare by Laura Bradley. Hot! Hot as in "How irritating! Another one of those Silhouette/MIRA rehashed plot thing!" hot. PI Shay McIntyre goes investigating bulls and rodeos and finds herself playing the biggest bull of them all, Luke Wilder. All professional ethics fly out the window as Shay practises her rodeo skills on Luke - "Yeeha! Give it to me, you big, big cowboy!"... I wish!

It's more akin to this:

"Darling, let's..."

"Noooooo!"

"Honey, come on!"

"Nooooooo!"

"But baby, I'm..."

"Nooooooo!"

Moving on.

Gayle Callen's story is called Compromised. It's a historical novella. Can you guess what it's all about? Elizabeth wants to make her sweetheart jealous by sneaking into the moonlit garden with a stranger... oops, daddy finds them, and now Elizabeth is married! No! To a... a... country simpleton! Who, of course, is not what he seems. More hot sexy fun you can expect from a dim-witted heroine and a hero who is more patient than any sane man should be.

"Darling, let's..."

"Noooooo!"

"Honey, come on!"

"Nooooooo!"

"But baby, I'm..."

"Nooooooo!"

Time to move along.

Victoria Marquez, whom I've never read (I understand she writes for Encanto), presents Treading Dangerous Waters. Sofia Sandoval loses her job because of gossip (don't ask, just imagine that this story takes place in the 1950s where lawsuits aren't "in" yet) and now decides to lick her wounds by going on a luxury cruise with her aunt and Auntie's boyfriend Daniel. Dan, apparently, has married too many greedy, money-hungry ho's before, and now his son James wants to make sure that his daddy will not fall prey to another ho.

James crashes into the cruise party, mistakes Sofia for her auntie (don't ask), and falls in lust with the woman he believes to be a ho. But of course, Sofia will soon teach James that not all women are money-hungry, ambitious powerhouses. There are good women too, good vituous women who let everybody use them as toilet bowls, women who endure for the sake of everybody else, women like... ta-da! Sofia.

James learns that all women are bitches except for Sofia and her aunt, and they live happily ever after. The end.

Hot? I can't be bothered. Next!

Rating: 58


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