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Monday, September 20, 2010

Hot-Blooded by Karen Foley

Hot-Blooded by Karen Foley
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (218 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

First Sergeant Chase McCormick isn't a chauvinist. But he does believe that women have no place in combat zones. Why? Because his men forget their training! They fall all over themselves trying to protect the women around them. As far as Chase is concerned, females belong in the bedroom, the home, the office. But not anywhere near Chase McCormick when he's on duty.

Too bad nobody mentioned that to gorgeous Elena de la Vega. She's been sent to Chase's remote outpost in northern Afghanistan.

After they'd shared a sizzling one-night stand!

Elena can handle herself. It's Chase who needs a directive on how to deal with his own wildly undisciplined sexual attraction to the woman! Because her presence is making short work of his hardened soldier training…and putting more than their hearts at risk.

I love a book where a strong opinionated testosterone laden military man has his life turned upside down and around by a mere slip of a civilian woman.

By the time Ms. Foley was done introducing the two main characters, Chase and Elena, I was rubbing my hands in glee. I knew what was coming just by the way the author set up the foreshadowing of each character and it’s one of my favorite scenarios. I was also curious how she was going to get her characters to dance to love’s tune when one of them definitely had ear plugs in to resist. What fun.

Chase is that kind of guy who takes his job and responsibilities seriously. He’s no-nonsense, by the book, and judgmental about how things should be done and the heck with political agendas. On his down time, a reader gets to see a different aspect of the man, the part what would appeal to any red blooded woman with a pulse. He’s just that yummy. What I enjoyed most was the author’s clever and entertaining ways of making Chase succumb to Elena’s charms and his slow realization that he is like every man in love. He’ll do stupid things. Of course I sort of wondered how plausible a few of the things would actually be in real life but I didn’t wonder too hard. The telling of the tale was close enough to being realistic that a bit of fantasy is a perfect touch.

Elena’s character in Hot-Blooded ends up on a journey of self-discovery. She’s good at her job and she avoids taking risks of any kind but one day that tendency turned into a big negative in her life. She was bowled over with the realization that she wasn’t living after all and decides to do something about it. That’s when the fun and revelations began. Elena has fought against her nature most of her life because she viewed her family situation as a bit skewed and didn’t want to make the same mistakes. She’s made of stronger stuff inside, even more so than she ever dreamed possible. Her mettle is tested and it was a delight to see her surpass everyone’s initial expectations of her, including her own.

The physical relationship between Elena and Chase is as hot, sensual and satisfying as a romance reader could wish. It contributes to their growth as characters falling in love. My favorite one is when Chase does a ‘stupid thing’ and it made it so much more romantic and intense. I think that was one of the pivotal moments in their growing relationship.

There was an intense scene with a big bug that squicked me out. I had no problem visualizing the scene because I’d seen pictures of the thing on the internet and the reactions of all parties involved were completely believable. The romantic girly-girl in me enjoyed Chase’s response to the threat.

Secondary characters were placed in crucial spots throughout the story, either to give a reader a better understanding of the hero and heroine, movement of plot or to give a reader a sense of where all the action is taking place and why. Internal and external dialogues were well done and enjoyable especially Chase’s- although Elena’s were no slouches either.

Hot-Blooded was a very fast, hard-to-put-down and entertaining read about two characters I totally enjoyed getting to know. The chemistry between Chase and Elena is evident from the start but their road to happiness is a bit dusty and bumpy. The happily ever after was a delight and the passion and caring between the two characters just warmed my heart. I’d recommend Hot-Blooded to any romance reader looking for a book with a bit of adventure that spices up a delightful tale of love sneaking up on a man who thought love had no place in his life and the woman who proves him wrong. I am one happy romance reader after reading this book.