Some Like It Hot
Easily digested, warm and engrossing, Some Like It Hot by Susan Andersen is one of the best of this year’s light summer reads. Second in the Razor Bay series, it follows the romance between hunkalicious deputy sheriff Max Bradshaw and itinerant philanthropist Harper Summerville.
Harper grew up travelling with her father, inspecting charities in order to ascertain their suitability to receive grants from her family-run organization. Although her father has passed on, Harper continues his work, travelling incognito so that she sees the charities as they behave every day, rather than how they act when dressed up for company. Her latest inspection takes her to Razor Bay, so that she can observe the goings-on at Cedar Village, a home for troubled boys. She finds a place to stay and work at a small, local resort. It is there that she makes good friends with the proprietress and gets to know Max.
Max is half-brother to the hero of the previous book in the series. When he was a child his father left his mother, married another local woman and began a new family, apparently forgetting completely about Max. This left Max and his brother with major issues. Max bullied his younger brother out of anger and resentment that he’d stolen Max’s father away. Now the boys are grown men and tentatively working on a brotherly relationship. It is during this life-changing situation that Harper comes to visit. Normally comfortable around women but being the strong-silent type, Max finds himself tongue-tied around Harper, to whom he has a major attraction. Harper is attracted to Max as well, and finds his difficulties amusing.
The pair bond over volunteer work at Cedar Village and begin a red-hot affair, but difficulties loom on the horizon. Harper has a pathological need to travel, following her father’s philosophy that to stop moving is to die. Max’s difficult childhood left him with a need for stability at all cost, and he dreams of raising a family of his own behind a white picket fence. Harper is multi-racial and Max is as white-bread as can be. She’s glib, self-confident and charming, and he’s taciturn at best. Can such an unlikely pair find happiness?
I feel as if I grew up reading Andersen’s romances, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed almost every one. The Razor Bay series is no exception, and this book in particular has a lot of charm. The characters and scenery are beautifully written and had me looking up resorts in the area for possible future travel plans. A bonfire/picnic on the beach scene had me jonesing for that same activity, except that I wanted Harper and company to be there to enjoy it with me. I liked the characters so much that I even wanted to work on Max’s fixer-upper house with him.
Another part of the charm is watching Max learn how to be more open and receptive. He works hard to become a family with his brother, defying his still-bitter mother in order to do so. Communication is difficult for him, but he wants a relationship with Harper beyond the bedroom and he works at that as well, until her secret identity is revealed, stalling his progress. Afterward, he makes some bad decisions, but even that part of their relationship is entertaining reading, especially as Max learns to adjust to the situation.
My complaints are few. The troubled boys at Cedar Village seem remarkably easy-going to have been labeled “troubled”. Picture the gang members from Crocodile Dundee 2 and you’ll know what I mean. The back and forth between Max and Harper regarding the permanence of their relationship went on, in my opinion, a little too long before that question was resolved. But these are minor issues and may not occur to or bother the next reader.
Before the book ends, we’re given a glimpse into the next book in the series, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens there.