REVIEW: Turn Up The Heat by Jane Davitt and Alexa Snow
First impressions fool recently dumped Rory into thinking Shannon’s a walk on the wild side and the perfect way to get over a failed relationship. Shannon’s not about to argue. Not when Rory coaxes him into some of the hottest, roughest sex of his life. But who is Rory falling in love with? A fantasy lover or the real man?
Fighting to keep Rory happy, longing for romance as well as the steamy sessions that leave them bruised and breathless, Shannon’s got a lot on his plate even before family and friends complicate matters further.
There’s only one solution. Turn up the heat, and hope it doesn’t burn their relationship to the ground.
Dear Jane Davitt and Alexa Snow,
Every time I decide to pick up a new book by the two of you I fret a little bit, because your books often contain way more sex than I am interested in reading these days. I do not grade a book lower because it has a lot of sex if I think it is necessary to the story, but I may still get bored with it, and then I usually choose not to review the book because this would be my issue, not the book’s fault.
In other words, if I think that the book is well-written erotic romance, it will get a high grade for me, but so many sex scenes bore me silly these days even if they are well written, and off to the virtual DNF pile the book will go. Luckily this was not the case here.
Rory and Shannon meet when Rory tries to sell Shannon a bike. He needs money to pay for his brother’s bail. Jude has mild FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). His mom’s drinking left “her only child subtly damaged”. Jude’s father remarried and he and his new wife raised Jude together. Rory is a few years younger than Jude but has often found himself in the position of the older brother, cleaning up Jude’s messes. Rory can sometimes be overprotective, but Jude does seem to need someone to be in his corner no matter what, and Rory is that someone. Note that I have no idea how believable Jude’s portrayal is as someone living with FAS. All I know is that I liked him; he seemed like a real person having some difficulties navigating the world around him.
“And there it was in a nutshell. Jude didn’t see the world the way most adults did. Oh, he could hold down a job, not that he ever did for long, and he’d made it through high school without failing everything, but the mother who’d drunk her way through the months before, during, and after her pregnancy had left her only child subtly damaged. Rory didn’t sigh. What was the point? Jude took things literally, trusting easily, never seeing the pitfalls in the decisions he made.”
When Rory and Shannon meet they are attracted to each other, but Rory also finds himself playing a fantasy in his head about having a wild sex with Shannon, with no strings attached. He is still reeling from the break up with his previous boyfriend and Jude has managed to land himself in trouble again because one of his friends got him involved in a theft. Rory is stressed and wants to let go and that’s what they do, and both seem to enjoy their walk on the wild side.
“Would Shannon refuse to kiss him? Be demanding, even cruel? Uncaring when it came to Rory’s pleasure, only interested in getting off? That level of selfishness should’ve been a huge turn-off, but part of Rory craved being used that way. Once. This once. Overpowered. Overwhelmed. Lost in raw sensuality.”
Very quickly Rory and Shannon realize that no strings attached does not really work for either of them, and they want to continue seeing each other. They do not fall madly in love right away – just in lust. As I said earlier, I am not a big fan of erotic romances these days or of fast attraction, but I certainly acknowledge fast attraction and falling in lust may happen and in this book I was convinced.
As you probably figured out from the blurb the book contains kink. For me the kink was mild but opinions may certainly differ — Rory wants to play out a fantasy of being caught (that’s a very general description as Shannon eventually figures it out) and he seems to get off on a fantasy involving exhibitionism and humiliation as long as it stays a fantasy.
I’ve mentioned before that I enjoy reading about kink in Romance (I do not have real life experience of it), but I rarely find books where it is described in the way that I enjoy. This book definitely made me enjoy their explorations together. I liked that the authors managed to talk about kink in a non-clichéd way; here Rory and Shannon are just exploring something that is new for both of them. And I thought it was brilliant how the authors made the “walk on the wild side being new for both of them” part of the eventual conflict between the guys and made it so convincing.
Rory wanted a fantasy in which he finally had a nerve to ask the other guy for what he wanted, but what did Shannon want from their love making and would they be able to manage their mutual expectations? Stay tuned for that.
I also liked how the conflict and mandatory breakup (or in this case the almost breakup) was handled. I absolutely bought the idea that a new couple whose relationship started with fantasy would have communication issues, and even then they did not shut down the lines of communication completely. There was no running off into the night (let me count the ways how I hate the “running off” part). And that the guys being apart did not last for too long also made perfect sense to me considering what happened.
There were several other romance clichés the book seemed to poke fun at in a way I enjoyed. Why is it never painful for the person who rarely bottoms or has not bottomed for a long time? Or if it is painful, it is always in a pleasant way. I did not need to see anybody get seriously hurt, but I am glad that we see the moment when it is quite painful indeed, it just felt more believable to me.
I often find that m/m romances seem to have an obsession with anal sex, so I am glad that one of our heroes had an ex who did not like anal sex in any form and the narrative did not judge him for that. One day I will read a book where the guys will not be having any anal sex – just for variety’s sake. It will happen, I just know it!
I do not usually read “motorcycle club” romances because they feel more like gangs to me and I am not interested in that, but I giggled when Shannon referred to himself as a boring biker who holds two jobs and goes home afterwards.
Overall I quite enjoyed this story.