Hot As Sin
While reading Bella Andre’s Hot As Sin, I asked myself under what circumstances I could conceive of willingly separating from the love of my life. Chief among those imagined circumstances was the loss of a child. I have unfortunately known one too many couples unable to withstand the emotional devastation of losing a son or daughter and in Hot As Sin, eighteen year old Dianna Kelley leaves twenty year old Sam McKenzie’s engagement ring on their kitchen table and disappears from Lake Tahoe into San Francisco, believing that they would both be better off apart as she had miscarried the reason for their marriage.
Ten years later Dianna has found success in front of the television cameras and is a public personality. When she gets into a serious accident, Sam rushes to her aid and they meet each other for the first time since she’d left. As will warm the cockles of many a female heart, despite believing that Dianne has changed into a cold, appearance-driven snob, Sam then proceeds to trek with her through the Colorado Rockies in search of her kidnapped sister. As they trek, he forces himself not to touch her because his heart wouldn’t take another breaking if she left him again. He’s a hotshot firefighter too, containing the blazes of wildfires in and around Lake Tahoe – which is the cherry on top of his manly-man ice-cream. In fact, I would say that Sam performs the role of an undefeatable action hero in Hot As Sin. He guides Dianna through whitewaters, rock climbing and hidden communities; he survives a fall off a cliff and numerous threats against his life; and he manages to track her into the forest on his pair of mashed up legs even as Dianna is held captive by a madman on a motorbike.
For her part, Dianna is nothing like the cold, appearance-driven high society madam Sam sort-of believes her to be. Even before meeting Sam ten years before, she was on a mission to get guardianship of the younger sister her mother had callously given over to the state. In order to succeed, she realized she had to give every physical appearance of success and ability to take care of April. She does finally get guardianship of her sister, but it’s not a fairy tale ending as April is difficult to get close to; they have a fractious relationship. When April is kidnapped, Dianna refuses to sit by and let others find her. She intends to conquer her fear of heights, strap on a backpack and save her sister herself (with Sam’s help).
This is where Hot As Sin confused me. I still don’t understand why the police weren’t involved or at least alerted that she had gotten a frantic call from her younger sister. Why would the only option be to head into the Rockies in search of a secret commune where April might be? Then the kidnapped April manages to get away from the madman twice, and on both occasions eschews running directly to another human being for assistance (she gets away by a gas station and then a campsite) and instead heads for the most deserted parts of either locale to call her sister, and give her some very vague directions as to where to reach her. I didn’t get this at all and I went from confused to annoyed when this brainless behavior required both Sam and Dianna to be the action heroes I described above.
Thankfully, Dianna and Sam’s relationship was not overshadowed by their Rockies adventure and I enjoyed reading about how these two honest-to-goodness nice characters find love with each other once again. They do not suffer any misunderstandings for long, and a lot of air is cleared early on in refreshing fashion. Of course, if we were to take into consideration the ten years they spent apart, the misunderstandings lasted a lot longer than a couple of days, but I believe in the power of such a tragedy as the loss of a child to destroy relationships irrevocably and their separation was understandable to me.
Dianna and Sam’s love is developed as the “love at first sight”/”soul mates” variety. Despite their tender ages, each recognized in each other a place of belonging and Bella Andre’s writing is smooth enough to turn me into a willing believer as well. Because of this, their forbearance in falling into bed again showed the strength of their characters and really endeared them to me.
Despite all of this, I have to say that Hot As Sin was an easy read but a hard review. I finished it in one day but it took me a week to write about it. The romance is very good and of the “comfort read” variety where nothing out of the blue happens. There are no spanners in the works, no surprise problems, just two people working towards the realization that they deserve a second chance at happiness. However, I can’t forget that Dianna and Sam were thrown together because they believed April to be in danger, and the mental steps they took to reach certain conclusions about where her location and the villain’s identity left me nonplussed. In addition, I think the comfort read nature of the book and the niceness of the main characters can make Hot As Sin a forgettable read.
Though I enjoyed the book, I think I would have enjoyed it even more if the reason for their finding each other once again had not been based on a consecutive chain of events I found a bit illogical and if their personalities had left a more solid imprint on my mind. This is my first Bella Andre but I’m interested in reading more. There is a book preceding this one which features another firefighter on Sam’s hotshot team, and I look forward to adding it to my collection.