Brazen & Burning
by Julie Elizabeth Leto, contemporary (2003)
Harlequin Temptation, $4.25, ISBN 0-373-69120-3


Romance novelist Sydney Colburn owns several blocks instead of just going around the block when it comes to having a sex life. Any heroine who sleeps with the courier guy surely knows how to have fun. But when her friends bite the matrimony thing one by one, at the suggestion of a friend, she wonders if maybe her really fast and loose life is really making her happy. She remembers this guy, Adam Brody, whom she had a nice affair almost a year ago. He actually wanted them to take their sexsexsex thing to a more higher level, but that wasn't her thing - then - so she dumped him and walked out. Today, she can't help wondering about what could have been, so she decides to look him up once more.

If anything, this woman sure isn't like those heroines she writes about, that's for sure.

He doesn't remember her. Of course, he has a good excuse - he was attacked soon after she left him and he had amnesia. In fact, she was the last person that saw him before the attack. They end up putting together what happened to him as well doing all sorts of fun things people can do with each other's body.

The premise is over-the-top and I admit I find Sydney's overactive sexual lifestyle rather too much. Not that I disapprove, mind you, but I can't help feeling that the author seems to be working the extra mile to overcompensate for Sydney. She is close to being too confident, too lively, too vivacious to be real as far as I'm concerned. It's nice to read about these heroines as opposed to those miserably weepy single mother types, but in this case, Sydney is as real as those oversexed heroes: it's hard to take her seriously, especially when she expects to waltz back into the life of a man she has dumped just because she feels like doing it.

Adam is beta to Sydney's alpha: he, like the perfect antithesis to Sydney, seems a bit too nice, too understanding, too good in bed, too... too damned fine. He and Sydney really have a nice chemistry going and I really enjoy their love scenes - I know, I'm a dirty old woman, so sue me - and once the over-the-top amnesia premise is done with, I also enjoy reading about these two trying to solve the cause of Adam's amnesia.

But thanks to characters that are rather one-dimensional and a plot that could use more pages to flesh itself out, Brazen & Burning may be brazen but it doesn't manage to burn bright enough.

Rating: 78


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