Behind Closed Doors
As I read Behind Closed Doors, I wished for a fan. No, I think I needed some ice water. You know, a walk-in freezer would have felt good. Oh shoot, I needed a trip to Antarctica, preferably during deepest winter. This book is hot, and I mean hot! It’s a wonder both it and I didn’t end up a couple of piles of ashes after I finished it. But Behind Closed Doors is not just a steamy tale, it has a fast plot, a main couple whom I loved, and several secondary characters who intrigued me so much, I hope to see them again.
Seth Mackay is a security specialist. We first meet him while he is watching the apartment of a beautiful blond woman who is working for Victor Lazar. Seth is aroused, but then Seth is always aroused. He figures that the blond is Lazar’s latest plaything, and while he watches, he muses on how he can use her to get revenge on Lazar who is responsible for the death of Jesse, Seth’s FBI agent half-brother.
Raine Cameron is the beautiful blond. She is most assuredly not Lazar’s latest toy. In fact, Raine is Lazar’s niece and she blames him for the death of her father. She has come to work for Lazar in the hope of finding some evidence of his crime.
Seth is trying to get the account to set up security for Lazar, and during a meeting, he encounters Raine. The effect is like a match to tinder – the phrase “sparks fly” does not even begin to describe the effect they have on each other. They immediately begin an affair. But they don’t open up to each other about their respective agendas until much later when they are both in danger.
The plot of Behind Closed Doors is exciting, but not extraordinary, and I thought Raine and Seth kept their secrets from each other for too long. But the villains are complex and not just evil for the sake of being eeeevil, and other secondary characters, including the team of brothers who are friends with Seth, are interesting. I’d love to see them featured in MacKenna’s subsequent books.
But it’s the relationship between Seth and Raine that is at the heart of Behind Closed Doors, and it is an incendiary one. At first glance their relationship might look very lopsided. Seth is the most ultra-macho, uber-alpha, hard-bodied, control-freak-with-no-social-skills male in the entire romance novel world (and yes, he makes Dane Hollister of Dream Man look pale by comparison). Raine is a fragile, blond, delicate, fluffy girl who is practically a virgin (she has had one unsatisfactory sexual relationship).
But as the relationship deepens, Raine becomes a more equal partner. She is stronger than she looks, she’s plenty smart and refuses to allow her relationship with Seth to degenerate into a power game where he will control her. Seth’s idea of sex is to reduce his partner to a quivering mass of sated femininity with his overpowering talent at lovemaking. If I had to sum up his technique, it would be: “I am man! Bow before the might of my never faltering member!”
But Raine is not going to play that game. As their relationship deepens, Seth finds out that one-sided power games are not much fun, tenderness is as satisfying as his usual full-drill pile driver technique, and – this terrifies him – Seth, the consummate loner, finds he needs another person to complete him.
In Shannon McKenna, I’ve found a writer who does erotica I can enjoy, and is the best writer in the Brava line. For me, Susan Johnson is heavy on non-stop sex scenes and light on story, Thea Devine’s language is crude in the extreme, and Robin Schone seems stuck writing about utterly depressing people. But Behind Closed Doors has a real plot to go along with the love scenes, and while the language is frank enough to make some readers blush, it is not crude or crass. I plan to keep an eye on Shannon McKenna – if she continues in this vein, I think the Kensington Brava line has found its star.