Dangerous Heat is a completely average read. The characters are beautiful people with problems they think are worse than they really are, the plot hits all the standard points and the book reads quickly and easily. Only thing is, after you’ve read it, you can’t really recall that much about it because very little is actually memorable.
Emilio DeLeon is vice-president of a large bank, but is living under a cloud of suspicion for embezzlement. Mia Hartman is one of a pair of private investigators who have been hired by the bank’s board of directors to investigate Emilio’s dealings. She is placed undercover as his temporary assistant. But since she looks like Jennifer Lopez and he looks like a Latin God, sparks fly from the minute the two meet. Very quickly Mia comes to believe that Emilio is innocent of the crime and decides instead to act in a very unprofessional manner with him after working hours. Realizing that this isn’t a good way to get promoted as a P.I., she then decides to change modes and go undercover as a waitress at a strip club where the evidence indicates the stolen money ended up. Mia doesn’t tell Emilio the real reason she decided to quit her temp job, and all the while he is working independently to clear his own name. (This of course hasn’t stopped them from continuing to warm the sheets every night at her place). Emilio finds evidence leading him to the same strip club Mia is waitressing at, and if you don’t know what happens next, then you haven’t been reading series romances for very long. Eventually Emilio’s name is cleared, but not before he gets to feel betrayed and angry, and has to come to grips with the fact that she lied to him.
Dangerous Heat earns its “hot” rating by having four complete love scenes, two heavy make-out sessions and one erotic dream sequence in just 205 pages. Clearly Mia and Emilio are in serious lust, but I question how deep in love they actually are. We’re expected to believe that he is the love of her life and the deception is just eating away at her, but since the whole investigation only took about 2 weeks, I didn’t really see how this could be so devastating to their relationship. When you get down to it, they hardly know each other anyway, and her investigation is what cleared his name, so what is he all worked up about? Except for the erotic dream, the sex isn’t that out of the ordinary. The one thing that sets these love scenes apart is the most irresponsible use of a condom I have ever seen depicted. Children, a condom only works if you wear it the whole time. Their method would not be much more effective than coitus interruptus, and possibly even more frustrating.
Emilio is a fairly one-dimensional character, but Mia is a real split personality. Despite her hard-as-nails profession, she comes off as a watering pot whenever she has to talk about her emotions. She can’t say one single endearment or mention puppy dogs without tears welling up in her eyes. Further ruining her persona is Mia’s tendency to slip quickly into female behavior more characteristic of the 1950’s than now. She rushes to get Emilio some coffee, she lets him order for her at restaurants, she looks on admiringly as he fixes her car, and so on and so on. She even talks to girlfriends about the merits of giving up everything for your man. Her method of getting him back at the end of the book is in this same vein, and it’s pretty nauseating.
So what did I like about this book? The opening chapter was very entertaining, and the prose zipped along nicely. Although the narrative seemed a bit forced in places, the frequent sex scenes helped spice up the book, and the story managed to keep my interest while I was reading it since I was mildly intrigued by the question of who really had stolen the money. The answer to that question is not at all earth-shattering, and the resolution of the investigation is pretty straightforward, but until then I was content to be interested in the outcome. I can think of worse ways to spend an afternoon than reading Dangerous Heat but that isn’t exactly high praise for this very average book.