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REVIEW: In the Heat of the Spotlight by Kate Hewitt

“Ambitious CEO Luke Bryant needs a big-name star to help launch his luxury department stores–everything hangs on its success. What he doesn’t need is washed-up pop princess and tabloid joke Aurelie Schmidt.

Faced with the sexiest, angriest man she’s ever met, Aurelie’s first comeback gig isn’t exactly going as planned. But Aurelie’s tougher than that, and she won’t let any guy, no matter how gorgeous, get beneath her skin, even if he does get between her sheets….”

Dear Ms. Hewitt,

Every now and again, I’ll dip my toe into the Harlequin Presents pool. I did so earlier with one of your other books and my good experience with it has made me a little braver. I might even swirl my lower foot around in this line now. Still, I’ll probably stick with known-to-me authors for a while. Anywho, the blurb for this one caught my eye and interest. The CEO hero doesn’t seems like he’ll be assholic and the heroine seems to have a backbone and actually be willing to use it. Well, look at that.

In-the-Heat-of-the-SpotlightI’ll be honest and say this one starts strongly then shifts into low gear for a bit. Luke makes assumptions about Aurelie but as she says herself, later on once she’s calmed down, he has every reason to based on her past behavior as an out-of-control, spiraling down rock star. But Aurelie gives as good as she gets and makes him show and prove why she should allow him back into her life once the initial gig is done. The resulting false start at sex sets the stage for what is to come – a story about two people who have been let down by those in their lives who should have been there for them and who have to learn that every relationship needs trust and involves a little loss of control.

By the second time Aurelie and Luke attempt sex only to have the moment sputter out on them again, I was losing a little patience. Luke had to be sporting the worst case of blue balls as he waits to discover what is behind Aurelie’s reaction to intimacy. She may say there was no rape or molestation but a woman just doesn’t react as she does without some Deep, Dark Past Issue. When he discovers what actually occurred, Luke realizes that his attempts to make things better actually made them worse. Huzzah – no magic-penis-which-miraculously-fixes-the-heroine’s-trauma in sight! Whoo-hoo!

Still, Luke isn’t being totally honest with Aurelie either in spite of his pronouncement that he only deals in truth. At least when his brother calls him on it, he doesn’t try to word weasel his way out of it – much. When Aurelie discovers that she’s still not quite to the trust stage needed for a relationship and leaves, it does unfortunately take a deus ex machina to head her in the right direction again but then these two actually talk about their issues and begin to work things out. Bonus points to you though for having her tell Luke that she still might “need a moment” every now and then. That she still could panic at times. And for Luke replying that he’s still not finished with his own change issues either. I’m glad I stuck with this one and the deus ex machina might just induce me to go back and try the first book in the series. B-

~Jayne

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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.

7 Comments

  1. Mom on the Run
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 11:15:19

    I liked the first book in this series. Very unexpected storyline and good characters.

  2. Ros
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 12:42:12

    I just read this one today. My heart absolutely broke for Aurelie when she explained about her previous ‘relationship’. I liked that Luke was patient with her and I felt that he would continue to be so as she worked out the ongoing issues. She deserved to be happy so much.

  3. Jayne
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 18:15:26

    @Mom on the Run: The little bit of Chase Bryant who’s in this book intrigued me. I also like the fact that he’s already told older brother what older brother can do with it.

  4. Jayne
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 18:19:08

    @Ros: I was in her corner from the start based on how she was misjudged yet stood up to it and neither backed down nor sunk into acting out. Her “relationship” was a different take on abuse.

  5. SonomaLass
    Feb 03, 2013 @ 01:55:43

    Okay, I’m going to try these books. Thanks!

  6. Kate Hewitt
    Feb 03, 2013 @ 11:45:54

    I hope you continue to dip into the Presents pool, Jayne. There are some wonderful stories out there. I’m assuming by the deus ex machina you mean Aaron coming in at the end of the story? That’s so interesting because I’ve never thought of it that way but now that you’ve pointed it out I can see how it would seem so. I felt that Luke’s issues were linked with how Aaron has treated him that he had to deal with that before the story ended, and Aurelie had to deal with how other people would view her. But I suppose a character coming in at the end without any apparent warning to trigger a final conflict can seem a bit imposed…! Anyway thank you for taking the time to express your thoughts about the book. I love reading what people thought about a story, good and bad. Aaron’s story is out in July, and he *is*assholic, at least at the beginning!

  7. Jayne
    Feb 03, 2013 @ 18:21:56

    @Kate Hewitt: Actually I guess Aaron could be one as well but mainly I was thinking of Chase as the deus ex machina – perhaps because I haven’t read his book yet. I totally agree that a lot of Luke’s issues seem to begin and end with Aaron so seeing him finally show up wasn’t a big deal. Thanks for the heads up on Aaron’s upcoming book.

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