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REVIEW: Beyond Breathless by Kathleen O’Reilly

Dear Ms. O’Reilly,

Beyond Breathless (Harlequin Blaze)When Jane sent me this arc I have to admit that I wasn’t that thrilled. Oh look, another series about three siblings. And my, it’s set in New York City so it’ll read like a “Sex and the City” clone book. It’s a Harlequin Blaze, we’ll get tons of inappropriately timed lust/sex scenes. Whoopee. Not. And even through the beginning of the first chapter, I was thinking, ” ‘eh” but then, when these two started seducing each other with sexy finance talk, I perked up. I started reading closely. I began laughing my ass off. I loved it.

Jamie McNamara knows that being a woman in the financial industry isn’t easy. She’s got to work twice as hard and still has to deal with the good old boy network. So she’s not about to miss her hard won chance to make her most ambitious deal for her company. And if she has to share a ride with an unknown businessman after a power outage shuts down the trains from NYC to Connecticut to make the meeting, then so be it. Even if the vehicle they have to share is a stretch Hummer that looks like it’s straight out of a porn shoot.

Andrew Brooks just thinks he’s being nice to offer a ride to this woman who obviously wants to get to some kind of meeting. But then her cool business manner, tailored suit, long legs and high heel shoes start to get to him. They’re going to be in this Hummer together for a while and he’s got to distract himself so he starts spouting price per earnings and gross receipts for companies he trades in. He figures he’s safe, this will bore her. But it doesn’t. She challenges him for a prediction about next year’s market outlook then argues his analysis. And Andrew realizes that, “Holy Alan Greenspan,” she’s seducing him. With financial talk. And pretty soon they’re riding each other as they ride to CT.

But just as soon, it’s over and, appalled, they go their separate ways. That is until Andrew confides the gist of the event to his brother at a drunken bachelor party, and Jeff tells their sister who, thinking Jeff just made it up, decides to turn the event into a story on her writer’s blog which catches the attention of all of Wall Street. Now how is Andrew, who can’t get Jamie out of his mind and his mind back on business, going to make this up to her? And will competitive Jamie be able to commit to a relationship with a man who above her on the hierarchy of Wall Street? And will their hot nights in bed keep them from keeping up with the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Forbes and Lou Dobbs?

I loved most of the characters of this book. It’s short so you had to distill them very quickly yet each was distinct and memorable. And you have real guy talk. Brothers who call each other ass and putz, and who do the testosterone competition thing.

I loved the sexy finance talk, the way Andrew seduces Jamie by analyzing pork belly futures, discussing zero coupon bonds and rates of return. This is sex talk for these two. They get hot and wet talking about this stuff. I like how driven they are in their jobs and that they don’t compromise this throughout the entire book.

I was worried for a minute about what you were doing to Jamie near the end of the story. “You can’t do this to her!” I wailed. “You know she needs to succeed on her own. She’ll never be happy if she thinks Andrew has pulled strings for her.” But then I realized that this is a real misunderstanding between them and not a “Romance misunderstanding.” It’s something you’ve set up throughout the whole book and it makes sense that this could happen to, and be a problem for, these two. Yeah! And then you worked them out of it in a believable way. Double yeah!! And better still, the sex is hot yet romantic without being purple or stupid. That men’s room scene is straight out of a guy’s wet dreams.

So now you probably want to know why I didn’t grade this an A+. Well, I’m not too sure what to think about Andrew’s mother or sister. Neither of them worked as well for me as the other characters who all seemed so real. But I love Jeff and am looking forward to his book. See, you’ve got me ready to buy into a series, which is something I’m getting really sick of. Right now I’m giving this a conservative B+ but that might go up on further reflection and rereading.


Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


  1. Jane
    Jan 18, 2007 @ 21:39:45

    I totally loved this book. It was smart and addressed the issues that Jamie had with wanting to make it on her own. It really resonated with me. I never felt like the author took the easy way out. Obviously I need more O’Reilly. In any event, I liked this book so much that I gave up the chance to read Lisa Kleypas’ March release, Sugar Daddy, from Bookseller Friend to finish reading this one. (lest anyone think this is not a sacrifice Bookseller Friend is leaving for a week so I gave up reading a highly anticipated novel for an entire week to finish this book!) I think I would give it an A-.

  2. Jayne
    Jan 18, 2007 @ 22:41:43

    Jane, I assume you read the finished product instead of the ARC that I did. Perhaps you can tell me if the problem of Jamie’s siblings was straightened out. One minute she’s got them then there was a sentence that talked about how she was an only child the suddenly, she has at least one sister and some nephews who her mother spoils. It was a real, “WTF?” moment.

  3. Jane
    Jan 18, 2007 @ 22:46:23

    No, my copy said she was the eldest child. (This post actually will go up at 4 am. Only you, Janine and I can see it right now but I had to comment because I won’t be around tomorrow).

  4. Tara Marie
    Jan 19, 2007 @ 06:11:42

    All right Ladies, you’ve convinced me, I’ll be ordering this one today. It sounds like a fun read.

  5. Jayne
    Jan 19, 2007 @ 08:12:56

    Well, in chapter 5 when she and Stephanie are doing pilates, Jamie mentions that her mother started “them” on Jane Fonda when Jamie was a child. So I assumed she had siblings. Then in chapter 8, during the all day love fest at Andrew’s apartment (specifically at 3pm), it states that Jamie was “an only child of two over-achievers.” Then in chapter 9 Jamie’s calling her mother and getting the update on her sister Rose and Rose’s children.

  6. Barbara B.
    Jan 19, 2007 @ 08:26:37

    I bought and read it last last. I wondered about how Jamie went from only child to having siblings, too. Anyway, I enjoyed this story and would love to read more from K. O’Reilly. I really love mentally and emotionally mature characters like Andrew and Jamie. There wasn’t any of that fiesty woman, alpha male banter. I hate that kind of crap. I also liked that the author amused me without trying to rival a stand-up comedian like some romance writers attempt.

  7. Eva Gale
    Jan 19, 2007 @ 09:56:50

    Oh cerebral seduction! I am all over that. I’m buying this one today. As far as the siblings that aren’t? Sometimes when you’re thick in writing you skim over that stuff because you’ve read it all fifteen times and your eyes aren’t picking up those problems. And you’d like to step back and stick it in a drawer for a few months so you can see holes, but you can’t because you have a deadline. That’s when editors and cold readers are priceless. Stuff like that doesn’t kill it for me, shoddy writing kills it for me.

  8. Jayne
    Jan 19, 2007 @ 10:04:49

    I totally understand “reading fifteen times.” I work on my reviews, review them, hopefully remember to run them through a spell check then sometimes (of course usually *after* they’re posted) reread them again and finally(!) notice the glaring errors. Accckkkk!

  9. LinM
    Jan 19, 2007 @ 14:35:38

    What to do; what to do. This review is so much fun but the back-cover blurb for this book is awful. I pity the poor author.

  10. Kat
    Jan 20, 2007 @ 01:29:07

    Aw, one of my favourite authors…and we don’t get this book until April. :( I love her sexy nerdy dialogue, too. *g*

  11. Jayne
    Jan 20, 2007 @ 13:20:51

    Oh Kat, that bites. But then having to pay Amazon international shipping prices would bite even harder.

  12. Meljean
    Jan 23, 2007 @ 03:44:21

    I saw this one at Target tonight and picked it up because I remembered the review and the cerebral seduction — and thought it was as good as reviewed. I just pre-ordered the next one.

  13. Jayne
    Aug 25, 2007 @ 07:00:08

    Due to the amount of spam comments being added to this post, I’m closing comments on it.

  14. Dear Author: Romance Novel Reviews, Industry News, and Commentary » Blog Archive » REVIEW: Hot Under Pressure by Kathleen O’Reilly
    Aug 06, 2009 @ 15:02:08

    […] I forget, I squeed when I realized that Andrew and Jamie were playing bit parts in this story which really makes sense since David works in financial stuff […]

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