New Release & Review: ★The Hotter You Burn★ by @genashowalter

HotterYouBurn_banner The Hotter You Burn
Series: The Original Heartbreakers #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Gena Showalter
Release Date: July 28, 2015
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The Hotter you Burn

New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter is back with a sizzling Original Heartbreakers tale featuring a troubled playboy and the woman he can’t resist…

Beck O’ckley is ruthless in the boardroom…and the bedroom. He’s never been with the same woman twice, and vows he never will. With a past as twisted as his, meaningless sex keeps the demons at bay. His motto: One and done. No harm, no foul.

Harlow Glass is the most hated girl in town. The beautiful artist is penniless, jobless and homeless. When she sneaks into Beck’s home—her ancestral estate—for food, she’s shocked by his early return…and her immediate, sizzling and intense attraction to him.

For the first time in Beck’s life, he can’t get a woman out of his mind. All too soon, friendship blooms into obsession and he’ll have to break her heart…or surrender his own.

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Excerpt

“I’d like to hire you to paint my portrait.”Harlow almost bounced out of her seat, but caught herself with a single thought. Can’t appear too hasty. “Okay,” she said, playing with the edge of a piece of paper. “If you insist. And if the price is right.” She’d drawn countless images of Beck, but the thought of painting him to scale and seeing him in full color intoxicated her. She could play with different shades of gold, brown and bronze, and even a wealth of greens to get the emerald flecks hidden so deeply in his eyes just right.Maybe Kimberly had nailed it. Maybe Harlow had stared at Beck for reasons that had nothing to do with the job.

“Name a figure.” He slowly, leisurely, walked back to the couch and eased down, the whiskey in hand. “Whatever it is, lollipop, I’ll pay it.”

The new endearment startled her, considering he hadn’t used one these past three weeks. The fact that he’d gone with lollipop, something sweet and edible he’d never called the others…

I’m special to him.

Oh, no, no, no. Red alert! Red alert! That was the true danger of him. Somehow, he made everyone feel special.

“That’s a daring thing to say,” she stated quietly.

“But true nonetheless.”

She placed her elbows on the desk and leaned forward. “Very well. The price is…” Inspiration struck, and she smiled evilly. “You can’t have sex for a week.”

His eyes narrowed to tiny slits, but he appeared far from angry. “Why do you care about my sex life?”

“I care about you, and I think abstinence will help build character.”

He didn’t miss a beat. “You care? Very well, I accept.” No time to celebrate. “With two caveats,” he added. “The week won’t start until the painting is done.” He smiled now, and it was a wicked one. “Also, I want the painting to be a nude.”

Her breath caught in her throat, only to exit on a gust. “I…you…excuse me?”

“A nude. Meaning I won’t be wearing any clothing. If you want to strip down, that’ll be okay too.”

This was punishment for daring to impede his sex life, wasn’t it? “I’ve never actually painted or even drawn what you’re suggesting, and I’m not sure I have the skill.” Or if she would survive.

“I have complete faith in your ability. And as an artist, a professional, I’ll expect you to view me strictly through objective eyes. You can do that, can’t you?”

“Of course,” she said. She could absolutely, one hundred percent view him through objective eyes…if he wore a cloak of invisibility. But even then it would be iffy. “Why do you want a nude?” she demanded, hoping to shame him into retracting his request.

“Maybe I enjoy the thought of disrobing for you.” His voice had gone low and husky, a caress of unfettered temptation, making her shiver. “Maybe I like the thought of your eyes on my bare skin and your hands forming the shapes of my body.”

She gulped. Having only ever dealt with boys, never with men, she had no idea how to respond to so blatant a statement.

“Or,” he said, his voice returning to its normal fun, flirty tone. “Maybe I’m narcissistic and want to immortalize every inch of myself. How is one to know?”

How indeed. “When would you like to start?”

“Tonight.”

I’m going to hate myself for reminding him of this, but… “What about your date? I can’t—won’t—hurt Kimberly.”

“I think we both know she was about to cancel on me. Which makes me wonder what the two of you were discussing.”

Shifting uncomfortably, she said, “I will never betray a confidence.”

“I could change your mind, but I won’t. I admire your mindset.” His gaze dropped to the pulse fluttering in her neck. “I’ll arrive at seven, and I’ll bring dinner.”

“Yes. I’d like that.” A lot. And it wasn’t the thought of food that made her heart race, but the thought of having him in her space. Alone…naked. Within reach.

She sucked in a breath. Oh…crap. The worst had happened, hadn’t it?

Kimberly had figured it out, but Harlow had done her best to deny it until the truth practically vibrated in her bones. How had she ever fooled herself into thinking she could fall for West…when she’d already fallen for Beck?

“What’s wrong, dove?” he asked gently. He came around the desk and sat at the edge, turning her chair to trap her between his legs. “You were twinkles one moment, sullen the next.”

He always read her so well, while she always struggled to make sense of his moods. Life wasn’t fair. “It’s nothing I want to discuss right now,” she said, refusing to lie to him. But she had to talk to someone about this.

Who? She had no confidants, and any secrets she revealed to others could be used as a weapon against her. A game of “humiliate Harlow for sport.”

“What will it take to get you to trust me, hmm?”

Was he serious? “Beck, for the past three weeks you’ve treated me like I’m a carrier of cholera. Why do you want my trust?”

“You’re my friend.”

But I want to be more. “Yes,” she said, and cleared her throat. “You’re right. I am.”

“So talk to me like a friend. Share your past with me. Tell me what changed you in high school.”

Her mouth went dry. Always they circled back to this. “Forget I agreed to be your friend. We’re enemies.”

“You’ll tell me what’s easy, but nothing that’s hard.”

“I don’t like to think about what changed me. It hurts.”

“Pain fades. Rip off the bandage and give the wound a chance to heal.”

“No.” If she told him, she’d have to show him. If she showed him, he’d never want her again. And right now he wanted her. He had to. The way he was looking at her…

He leaned down until his nose almost brushed against hers. “One day, Harlow, you’ll open up to me.”

“One day,” she whispered. “Maybe. But probably not.”

He cupped her nape, the heat of him making her gasp. “Definitely. And in more ways than one. I’ll make sure of it.”

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Review
5 starsTHYB-DGR

He couldn’t have her without committing to her. He had to have her, but he couldn’t commit to her. It was the surest way to lose her forever.

I’ll admit, I was a little apprehensive reading this book after not quite loving the first book in this series. But then Beck O’ckley was the hero that really captivated me in The Closer You Come with his one-and-done policy with women. Who doesn’t love an unrepentant manwhore? I certainly do. Then you have the heroine, Harlow Glass, as the most hated girl in town that’s still paying for her high school bullying days all those years ago. Add in some sizzling sexual chemistry with a dash of humor and you have the recipe for the perfect contemporary romance. I loved this book!

Just then she was a woman who’d stepped straight from his sweetest dreams- and his worst nightmares. Someone who changed the rules of the game.

First of all, if you haven’t read the first book in the series, don’t worry, because you can easily read this one as a standalone. However, The Closer You Come does give the background to the three men and helps set up each of their individual books, so it does help to read the series in order.

Beck is the most easy going of his three friends. But beneath his take-nothing-too-seriously demeanor, is the broken soul of a man that’s been through hell and back. Abandoned as a child and going through the system as a foster kid solidified his belief that nothing is permanent. When his friend spent 9 years behind bars for a crime all three of them committed, it also gave him a good dose of guilt that he still can’t shake. Beck has a one night only policy with women. That’s all he has to give them, one sweaty passionate night spent between the sheets and that’s it. No repeats. He’s not lacking for female attention, so imagine his surprise when one particular woman won’t leave his mind and tempts him beyond reason. She’s also the woman that won’t give him the time of day.

The day my panties drop for you,” she said without any sharpness, “is the day I want to be taken behind one of the sheds and shot.”
“Because you’ll know you’ll never have me again and you won’t be able to live with the pain?”

Harlow Glass is the the town’s pariah. Her vicious bullying back in high school made her persona non grata in her small town, and the town residents are not quick to forget. But she’s so much more than she made people believe. This is a woman that’s suffered her own pain and in high school her way of dealing with a verbally abusive father at home is to project that hate outward to hide her pain and powerlessness. Now with the recent passing of her mother, Harlow is down on her luck; penniless, jobless and homeless. On top of it, her beloved childhood home is now occupied by someone else, and one of them is Beck. When she sneaks into the house to steal a pie, she gets more than she bargained for.

Do you know how painful it is to crave something with every fiber of your being? To want it more than you want water to drink?”

The Hotter You Burn had that signature Gena Showalter snarky humor that I’ve come to know and love. The banter between Harlow and Beck had me grinning like a fool for a good portion of the book.

For all you know, my ANYTHING is better than any other you’ve seen.”
“You thinks so?” His gaze dropped to her chest. “Show me.” A croak. But was it a demand- or a plea?
Desire mingled with panic, and she gulped. “Not even if you begged me.”
“I’ve never begged before. But there’s a first time for everything, isn’t there?”

I was afraid that the situation that Harlow is now facing would make her a shy little mouse, but she wasn’t that at all. Beyond her terrible situation, this was a woman that had a backbone. Even if that backbone allowed the town people to shit on her, because she thinks she deserves it after what she’d done. She views it as her atonement.
The push and pull between her and Beck had me going back and forth between wanting to pull my hair out and icing my ovaries, because holy lady blue balls! The tension was almost unbearable at times. But at the same time it was oh so delicious.

Harlow was a sickness, and bedding her was the only cure.

As much as I loved the tension between them, I have to admit that at times it was so frustrating, I wanted to scream. Beck’s inability to believe he can give Harlow anything beyond one night, trying to set her up with her dream man, going on double dates, I wanted to shake the ever loving stubbornness out of the man! Luckily there were the secondary characters that provided the comedic relief this book surely needed to lighten the weight of it.

Trouser snake? Really? “What about man meat? Or even the middle snake?” Harlow suggested.
Jessie Kay nodded thoughtfully. “Or we could go with something simple like the peen. If we wanted to get technical, we’d have to go with the meatsicle. Or the anaconda, but that’s on a case-by-case basis.”
Daphne tried for a stern expression, only to ruin it with a snort. “I am not playing this game. But if I were, I’d suggest we call it the weenie wonka.”

I even found myself warming up to Jessie Kay in this book, which I never and I mean EVER thought would happen.

At the end of it, I loved every part of this book, even the frustrating ones. I loved the snarky, sarcastic humor. I loved the banter. I loved the MCs and all the secondary characters. I loved the story and the romance.

What do you need me to do?” she asked breathily. “Whatever it is, I’ll do it.”
“Just keep breathing, baby.”

This was the perfect contemporary romance to spend a weekend with. It had it all; the laughs, the swoons, the sexy…did I mention the laughs?

Careful. You keep that up, and you’ll find yourself flat on your back, Beck Jr. deep inside you.”
“You mean the Baconator?”
He barked out a laugh. “You’ve named my penis the Baconator?”
“What? I like bacon.”

If you’re like me and didn’t love the first book, trust me and give this book a chance. It had everything I’ve come to love in Gena’s writing. It even has me wanting to read Jessie Kay’s book now, which as much as I hated her in book 1 is saying a hell of a lot.



About the Author

Gena Author Photo 1

Gena Showalter is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author whose works have appeared in Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazines, as well as Entertainment Weekly. Her novel Red Handed has been optioned by Sony Television. Critics have called her books “sizzling page-turners” and “utterly spellbinding stories,” while Showalter herself has been called “a star on the rise.” Her mix of humor, danger and wickedly hot sex provides wildly sensual page-turners sure to enthrall.

 

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