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REVIEW: Hot Under Pressure by Kathleen O’Reilly

Dear Ms. O’Reilly,

I love what you do with your heroes and heroines. They’re not always totally believable (I mean, stranger sex in a stretch Hummer?) but I like these people. I’d like to have dinner with them on a couples night out and just sit and talk for hours. I feel that comfortable with most of them by the time the story, regrettably, ends.

David McLean (aka “hot man”) and Ashley Larsen meet not-so-cute in the confines of a packed airplane that’s going no where. Trapped beside a kid from hell whose parents are AWOL even though they’re sitting right there, they chat and attempt to while away the time until it’s finally clear that the spare part or spare plane isn’t going to arrive at O’Hare airport in time to get them to their business meetings in LA.

Which is when they decide to give into the heat that’s been smoldering between them for hours and check into an airport hotel. A night of hot, explosive sex results. But Ashley decides that she wants to leave it at a fling. If they plan for a future, then the “bam” of their hot, sorta stranger sex will be gone and things will simply become mundane. After her divorce, she’s still a bit shaky about relationships and after his divorce, David hasn’t dated much so…they come to an agreement. They’ll talk and arrange monthly meetings since both travel so much but that will be it.

Until “it” isn’t enough for David and he starts pressing Ashley for more. She’s agreed to let him help her set up a fashion “reality” thing for her Chicago boutiques but with her complicated family situation, Ashley is reluctant to allow more. Until the moment that “it’ isn’t enough for her either.

So will they be able to work out a long distance relationship? Cause I hope they have unlimited long distance calling with all the horror (Ashley’s choice) movies they’re watching at the same time. Will Ashley be able to finally “cut the cord” with her dependent sister? Cause Val is an alcoholic piece of work. Or will David have to settle for a solo life in NYC, working for the Brooks financial power duo and being best friends with his hand?

Before 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 and lives in NYC. But their bit parts are perfectly in keeping with this story and never overshadow the main action. Squee over now.

I also noticed that this book seems a little hotter than your last few. I mean, it is a Blaze but there is a lot more talk of “cocks” and filling Ashley up and stuff like that. Are you taking your books to a higher erotic level? Or am I just delusional?

Ashley and David’s relationship starts with hot sex, and initially, continues with hot sex before they begin to get to know each other. But the pacing works for me since we get roughly 100 pages of heat, 100 pages of reality hitting and them starting to fumble through a longer termed relationship then the final, “yes, we care but we have a few issues to resolve first” 100+ pages.

Hmmm, another few things. Love Ashley’s pink bunny slippers she uses as a crutch to relax her enough to fly. But I got tired of the conversations she’d have in her head with Val. And what’s with Val’s daughter calling her mother and Ashley by name? I kept waiting for this to be explained. Is it because Brianna is more the adult, even at age eight, then her mother?

I love that David is worried about the fact that Ashley might think his initial attempts at love making leave something to be desired since all David can pretty much think is sex, sex, sex!

He tumbled on top of her, completely without finesse, but thankfully, she didn’t seem to mind. Her legs wrapped about him, pelvis surging toward him, and his hands went to his fly. Her breasts pressed against him, soft peaks in white cotton. If his zipper would ever get unstuck, he’d shove the bra aside, because he wanted to see-
Condom. Oh, shit. He needed a condom.
"Wait," he nearly yelled. He needed to get control. He needed to breathe. In the dim light of the single bedside lamp, she looked up at him, clothes ransacked into parts, exposing more skin than covering. Great skin. Gold and rose mixed together like mother-of-pearl. She wore white cotton panties. With a sun-yellow gypsy skirt, she wore white cotton panties, and did he even know he had a thing for white cotton? He definitely had a thing for white cotton. It was sexy as hell. She was sexy as hell.
His hands were still shaking as he shoved her bra aside. Like a total amateur.
Dude, get a hold of yourself. She’s going to think you’ve haven’t done this in like, months.
She’d be right, but he didn’t want to advertise the fact.
The foil packet tore exactly as it was supposed to, and then-
"Let me," she whispered in a husky voice that sent every drop of his blood out of his head. Into his head. There was courage in her eyes. The bunny-slipper woman, who was a trembling coward at ten thousand feet, now seemed mightier than any warrior queen with her clothes askew.
Oh, no. Her capable hands got busy on his cock, sending ten thousand volts to his system. Concentrate on something else. The breasts, for instance.
Didn’t work.
David wasn’t going to last, he was going to explode and this was going to be over. No way.
He pushed her into the bank of pillows, rough, again with the no-finesse thing, and then..
Then-
Yes.
She was tight, perfectly tight, and wet.
He opened his eyes, looked down at those dark, dancing eyes and swallowed.
Had he truly forgotten that sex could be this awesome? Yes, yes, he had.
"Oh," he managed.
Ashley smiled at him, and it was a marvelous smile. A smile for a hot summer’s day, and he was so glad the airplane had had mechanical failure. He was even glad for Hell-boy Junior. Being like this, surrounded by her, was worth it, so worth it. He rocked his hips, going deeper inside her, and her smile turned serious. Again he thrust, just to see if it was as good as the first.
Yes, yes, it was.
Then his mind began to shut down, and biology, desire, and sex took over.
He should be doing more for her, pushing buttons somewhere, but his body was running on auto-pilot, pumping hard and fast, and she didn’t seem to mind. Her hands locked on his shoulders, pulling him, pushing him, and there was no finesse there, either. And he’d never had such great, mindless sex in his entire life.
Stranger sex? Is that what that meant? Shit. They were going to have to do that again.

The dialogue between Ashley and David sparkles at times while at others it’s quiet and serious as they discuss their feelings and the issues still keeping them apart. You didn’t go easy on the issues either. David with his broken family relationship caused when he caught his brother and now ex-wife in bed only to have those two marry after the divorce came through. And Ashley who acts almost as a mother to her 30 year old, champion guilt inducing younger sister who can manipulate with the best of them. The resolutions for both came raggedly yet in their own time. I appreciate the fact that neither is tied in a neat little bow and both appear to be sort of ongoing. Just as real life would be.

And I loved finding all the little indicators that show how much these two are falling – or have fallen – in love. “Then he was kissing her, and she was kissing him back, and she wanted to laugh again. He did that. Made her happy inside.” The story isn’t all sweetness and light, despite the bunny slippers, but it felt like real people stumbling in a real way towards a resolution of the things in their lives that were holding them back. B+

~Jayne

This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.

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.

14 Comments

  1. Twitted by dearauthor
    Aug 06, 2009 @ 15:06:36

    [...] This post was Twitted by dearauthor [...]

  2. Pearl
    Aug 06, 2009 @ 15:27:27

    Great review of what seems to be a great book!
    I am not a reader of categories (so many other books to read!) but this review is seriously making me rethinking it.

    ReplyReply

  3. Babz
    Aug 06, 2009 @ 15:33:07

    I read this yesterday, and don’t tell anyone but I teared up a few times. It is that good.

    I did get tired of Val pretty quickly and Ashley’s inability to tell her no, maybe because if I was in Ashley’s shoes I would have screamed my head off a long time ago. Val was too childish and too selfish I cannot believe no one has slapped her silly before. I understand responsibilities but I also understand letting go. And to me, people who does not know how to let go or say “enough” are just so darned frustrating I would avoid them in real life, so I don’t really want to read about them in books. That was my only problem with this book, I can’t help thinking Ashley is weak. Yes, she did tell Val no in the end, but what she said and how she said it to Val is not enough for me to be satisfying. The Val and Ashley problem was not resolved for me.

    Anyways. It speaks of how good the writing is for me to celebrate David and Ashley coming together and for me to tear up a couple of times along the way. They are so believable together. Who does not want a man like David? Despite my problems with Ashley, I believed they make each other happy.

    I also noticed that this book seems a little hotter than your last few. I mean, it is a Blaze but there is a lot more talk of “cocks” and filling Ashley up and stuff like that. Are you taking your books to a higher erotic level? Or am I just delusional?

    I think this is why it was so good for me – more sex! It is a Blaze after all, and most of my complaints with Miss O’Reilly’s previous books was that there was not enough sex – we are talking about a Blaze here!

    Oh, and there is one book in the trilogy about the 2 brothers and one sister where the sister just ruined everything for me and I cannot bring myself to read the book about the very intrusive, untrustworthy sister.

    Yes, I confess I have a love/hate relationship with Miss O’Reilly’s books. But this one is a total winner.

    ReplyReply

  4. ASable
    Aug 06, 2009 @ 17:24:10

    I really love Kathleen O’Reilly’s books. I agree that she manages to take an over-the-top, not quite believable premise and make it work somehow. (The Andrew/Jamie Hummer thing was the best one yet!) I enjoyed this book as well. Once you get over the whole “no one I know would do that” moment, her characters are surprisingly well drawn for a category. And the romance develops organically. Nothing feels forced or rushed. And I actually liked both David and Ashley, which was nice since lately I feel like I’ve been reading books where one of the main characters is a schmuck that must be redeemed so he/she can get the HEA. This was refreshing.

    ReplyReply

  5. Jayne
    Aug 06, 2009 @ 17:37:40

    I am not a reader of categories

    I didn’t read too many either but O’Reilly has cured me of that. I always at least check out her books since she doesn’t do the asshat hero thing.

    ReplyReply

  6. Jayne
    Aug 06, 2009 @ 17:42:25

    And I actually liked both David and Ashley, which was nice since lately I feel like I've been reading books where one of the main characters is a schmuck that must be redeemed so he/she can get the HEA. This was refreshing.

    Yes, I totally agree with you here. I can see the best friends of the hero or heroine thinking, “Why can’t I find one like that” vs “I can’t believe my best friend would date anyone like that.”

    ReplyReply

  7. Jayne
    Aug 06, 2009 @ 17:51:25

    Oh, and there is one book in the trilogy about the 2 brothers and one sister where the sister just ruined everything for me and I cannot bring myself to read the book about the very intrusive, untrustworthy sister.

    Oh yeah. I had my problems with that one too.

    I’m assuming that Val is going to get a book ::looking around for confirmation:: so maybe Ashley’s issues with her will be resolved. Or maybe not if this is a stand-alone novel. Does anyone know?

    ReplyReply

  8. Kathleen O'Reilly
    Aug 06, 2009 @ 20:20:35

    ::whistling quietly:: uh, I actually hadn’t imagined Val for her own book. I’m not sure I can do a HEA with Val that makes you believe in forever. Not sure. Maybe a secondary or something. This is technically a stand-alone, but the idea is having three “When you Least Expect It Stories,” but each are their own book, own characters. I know the January book is stand-alone, and I’m about to start the May book, but right now it’s really stand-alone, and then another truly connected trilogy in the summer of 2011.

    The *hot* comment is interesting. Jayne, I always like reading your reviews, because I learn something about my writing that I never knew. I didn’t think about it, but with this book, with the long-distance characters, I think the heat/sex quotient has to be there every time they’re together. And also, that’s kinda David’s *thing*. That disordering of his life. But he burns *very hot* underneath — anger, passion, etc. That’s just who he is. I’m not intentionally writing hotter and I’m not sure if the Jan book is hotter or not. It’s got two couples (sort of), so… I don’t know.

    ReplyReply

  9. Jayne
    Aug 07, 2009 @ 06:03:34

    uh, I actually hadn't imagined Val for her own book. I'm not sure I can do a HEA with Val that makes you believe in forever. Not sure. Maybe a secondary or something. This is technically a stand-alone

    Oh, okay. I wasn’t sure. I knew if you did do a book with Val, it would be one with major issues cause she’s a major issues kind of woman.

    The *hot* comment is interesting. Jayne, I always like reading your reviews, because I learn something about my writing that I never knew.

    Well….it’s not so much that the scenes are so much hotter than you normally write but there seemed to be a more earthy, blunt language/tone to those scenes than I’m used to seeing from you.

    ReplyReply

  10. Kathleen O'Reilly
    Aug 07, 2009 @ 08:12:18

    Hmmmm….As to language, the correct and final answer is: I have no frickin’ clue. :) Some of this might just be David, because at his heart, he’s very much still a blue-collar guy in a white-collar world. I’m not sure if in your head blue-collar would translate into a earthy person or not, but it does in mine. I think the more educated, more cerebral someone is, the more they try and mask these things in poofy-talk. The hero I just finished is much more of a romantic.

    I’ll pay attention as I’m writing this next one and let you know. :)

    ReplyReply

  11. Jayne
    Aug 07, 2009 @ 08:55:47

    Hmmmm….As to language, the correct and final answer is: I have no frickin' clue. :) I'll pay attention as I'm writing this next one and let you know. :)

    LOL, I’m so glad you’re in touch with your inner writer.

    ReplyReply

  12. Short Reviews of 3 Kathleen O’Reilly Blazes «
    Aug 17, 2009 @ 20:20:31

    [...] story, with a lot of intensity around the sex (there’s a lot of plunging, as Jayne in the Dear Author review mentions. Maybe he was a plumber in a past life?), which for David is the how he shows emotion. [...]

  13. Heather Boyd
    Aug 18, 2009 @ 03:54:25

    This is the first Kathleen O’Reilly book I’ve read and I loved every minute. Great humour, great romance and hot, hot sex! My fav combination.

    ReplyReply

  14. Kaycee Reinmann
    Jul 04, 2010 @ 16:17:37

    Outstanding post..

    ReplyReply

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