by Leslie Kelly, contemporary (2008)
Harlequin Blaze, $4.99, ISBN 978-0-373-79412-6
Potential ick button alert: the hero of Heated Rush is a gigolo. Oh, he says that he only sleeps with the women that tickle his fancy. Fat and ugly women in this world are all out of love, as Air Supply would say, because he only, er... let me quote: "his services only went as far as being arm candy, tour guide, interpreter, or even, on occasion, bodyguard". The sex is merely a free gift of sorts, then, and that is only if he doesn't consider you fat or ugly. Oh, and there are husbands who hire him to keep their wives company, so it's not like he's sleeping with crack-addled tramps or breaking up happy homes. Uh, yeah. I don't think Sean is going to get me to buy any swampland in Florida anytime soon because I think he's so full of it. Anyway, if you have an issue with the hero's job, this one may be a bumpy ride of a read, so proceed with caution.
This book is linked to Slow Hands. This one can stand alone, but the premise here is that there was a mix-up in the printing of the programs of a charity auction, which caused people attending the auction to confuse the hero of this book with the hero of the previous book. Jake, the hero of the previous book, was considered a gigolo when he is actually an EMT. Sean Murphy, our enterprising dong-for-hire, is mistaken as the EMT.
Annie Davis runs a day care center and likes her life simple and predictable. Her ex-boyfriend turned out to be a married asshole, so, taking a page out of countless Harlequin Blaze books, Annie decides to snag a temporary date while attending the Give A Kid A Christmas charity auction for her upcoming weekend family reunion. Her father is big on men with "noble" jobs, so Annie is looking for a firefighter, rescue worker, cop, or... OMIGOD HOT GUY SPOTTED, WOO-WEE. So much for "noble" intentions. One look at the hot guy in question and Anne's bidding five grand for the pleasure of his company.
Sean is quite miffed to realize that by the time his turn arrives to strut on the stage, he manages to get only one bid and it's for a mere five grand at that. Still, the woman who has placed the bid on him is pretty cute. Alas, he gets flustered when she doesn't respond on cue to his charm. What is going on here? Since he's going to be around her for a while, he may as well take his time to figure this woman out.
Sean starts out channeling Pepe Le Pew a bit too much for my liking but he soon exudes a more spontaneous and less smarmy charm as he becomes more at ease around Annie. I have to laugh because in the end, Annie and I have the same reaction when it comes to Sean's job. Not that the reason for our reaction is the same. She doesn't get too worked up over it because she's so understanding like that while I'd be going, "So he's a male whore? Big deal! When can I start shopping?" the moment I realize just how rich he is. He's from old money and he also entertains rich women, so yes, that's a whole lot of money that has been stuffed down his pants. Ahem, anyway, it's Sean who gets all self-conscious and even ashamed about his job here.
Heated Rush is a very cute story - Annie and Sean make me laugh at times when they are together because they are, well, so cute like that. Sure, there are plenty of sexual tension between them and the things they want to do to each other are more NC-17 than "cute", but the author has also given those two a nice banter system that has me smiling along with them. They really like each other, I find, as much as they lust after each other.
The story is actually a familiar and predictable one and I can care less about Sean's family story. I mean, given how rich he is and how much better his life is compared to the average person, all I can say about his emo Daddy blues is to cry me a river. It is the romance that makes this book, I'd say, because Annie and Sean are a most enjoyable couple to follow. They make sense together despite the differences in their lifestyles and all.
Heated Rush is at the end of the day a most entertaining story with a fun couple to follow and root for.
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