Hot for It
Sometimes authors start out with a good thing, but then just mess it up. This is what happened with Hot For It. The basic plot might have made good romantic erotica, but by adding a whole other storyline, Melissa MacNeal trod some very fine lines that made this book a more uncomfortable reading experience for me than an enjoyable one.
After her husband died, Cat Gamble was left in debt and forced to deal with courts, lenders, and all the accompanying stress. But one day, everything changes: She wins the lottery. Very suddenly, she stumbles upon Porto di Angelo, a mysterious Caribbean private island and, on a combination of a whim and a sense of fate, Cat buys a house and moves to her island, which she shares with two caretakers. But when Cat sees their lusty, passionate relationship, she see sees what is lacking in her own life and puts a personal ad online.
Among other inappropriate responses, Cat hears from “Captain Spank,” also known as Jack Spankevopoulos, captain of Captive Desire, a pirate kidnap fantasy boat. While he is obviously signing up for a no-strings sexual relationship, he doesn’t seem creepy, so Cat sets up to be “kidnapped” by her sexy Captain Jack.
If the author had stopped here and just gotten the two together, it would have been satisfying, if slightly uneventful, erotica. But then, the night Jack is set to come and get Cat for their week of pleasure, other pirates come – real pirates. They take Cat and her housekeeper captive and prep them to be sold as sex slaves.
This whole plot was completely unnecessary and it made me, as a reader, uncomfortable. The storyline was essentially based on rape, disguised as acquiescence. It offended me, not only that Cat would enjoy being forced to act in porn movies, but that Jack would enjoy watching them. While there is a certain base thrill in the idea of being “captive,” becoming a true sex slave to three men who plan to sell you is not an erotic experience, and the idea that Cat would fall so easily into bed with her captors is unbelievable.
There are other problems with this book too. There’s a vague S&M plot that shows up briefly and then disappears, and the mystery of the former owner of Porto di Angelo doesn’t entirely make sense. And the connection between Cat and Jack is inexplicable: Who would be willing to pay ransom and risk his life to rescue a woman who only set up a week of hot, no-strings sex? It was laughable.
Jack was hot, don’t get me wrong. The author’s assessment that no woman can really resist a man in pirate gear – with a British accent – isn’t too far off the mark. And he is, overall, a good guy (despite the fact that he got off on watching Cat in forced porn movies). But a hot hero just can’t make up for discomfort of the thinly veiled rape that occurred throughout the book.
I wish MacNeal had just left the real pirates out of it. If she had used her erotica writing skills between Jack and Cat, the only problem with this book would be a bit of a flat plot – but really, how complex are most erotica plots? By adding the second plotline, she destroyed her own book. And that’s something that’s always disappointing to me.