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Beth Kery

REVIEW:  Wicked Burn by Beth Kery

REVIEW: Wicked Burn by Beth Kery

This review is reposted from December 2008 when it was originally released in trade paperback. I thought I would revive the review because the book is being released in mass market, four years later.

Dear Ms. Kery:

I had really been down on erotic romance as a sub genre for the past few months.   So much of what I had attempted to read was sex without emotion.   That type of story gets tired quickly and with many of the mainstream romances heating up, it seemed that erotic romance might be a sub genre that no longer fit my reading tastes.

Wicked Burn Beth KeryWhen I started Wicked Burn, despite the well written sex scenes that nearly singed my eyebrows, I thought that it was going to be just one of those  erotic romances because of the unrelenting sex scenes during the first third of the story, but serious relationship issues arise leading to believable conflict, character growth, and a very strong romance. This is a straight relationship driven contemporary erotic romance.

Niall Chandler  and Vic Savian live next door to one another in a high end apartment complex in Chicago.   They’ve been attracted to each other but haven’t acted on their attraction until Vic hears Niall being hassled outside her apartment one night by an over eager date.   Vic dispatches the date and the two embark on steamy encounter after steamy encounter.   The two start dating and it seems that there is little conflict to impede the two from moving foward to the inevitable happy ending.

Vic Savian is a prize winning playwright who has recently moved to Chicago and will be opening a new play. His temperment is hot and passionate (much like you would expect a playwright to be).   He is the leader in the bedroom. Niall is a bit of an innocent although she has good reason to be. She felt embarrassed by her reaction to Vic, like a rube. Vic doesn’t necessarily glory in her innocence, just her willingness and openness. Vic reads very earthy, almost animalistic, but he doesn’t try to pretty up his attitudes toward Niall or toward sex. Vic is very much a what you see is what you get kind of guy. For example, when he is nervous about the opening of his new play and doesn’t attempt to hide it, sweaty palms and all.   When he is confronted with an old flame, Vic admits that he not only slept with the woman but that he was in a pretty bad emotional state at the time.

“I slept with Eileen Moore years ago, Niall. It was after I went through an ugly breakup with a woman I was supposed to marry. I was dead drunk for almost six months after the fact. If you want to know the truth, Eileen probably thought of it as a series of pity fucks. I was damned pitiful, that’s for sure,” he said with a wry twist of his handsome mouth.

Because Vic is so open, the conflict is driven primarily by Niall who is the opposite.   She doesn’t really allow Vic very far into her life, keeping him locked out of her family and her past because she has a  very big secret. She hopes she can get rid of that secret before it affects her burgeoning relationship with Vic but her furtiveness outside the bedroom raises alarms in Vic. Ultimately, Vic finds that Niall engages in a huge betrayal and this brings up old hurts.   Vic’s own past has it’s nightmares. His light burns hot and bright and it always has. Sometimes he’s not sure whether his relationship with Niall is a healthy thing, but he can’t keep away from her. In many ways, for all his masculinity, Vic is the vulnerable one here.   Niall has some doormat issues and is definitely overshadowed by Vic which is why I can’t give the book a higher grade. She does not have the backbone of steel of the quiet heroine in Gateway to Heaven but I did find her sympathetic.

I can’t say much about Niall’s secret as it would be a big spoiler. Needless to say that her past is not letting her move on no matter how much she wants to.   I went on to read several other Beth Kery books and I found them to all be hot, although some I liked better than others.   I can’t help but think that the successful marriage of emotion and eroticisim will make Beth Kery a big name in erotic romance.   I know that this is in trade, but if a reader likes ER, then I think she’ll like this book.   B

Best regards,

Jane

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REVIEW: Addicted to You by Bethany Kane

REVIEW: Addicted to You by Bethany Kane

Dear Ms. Kane:

For an erotic romance, this book had both smoking hot sex and great emotional connection between the characters. Where it falters is in the tacked on romantic suspense plot and the totally WTF opening scene. However, as an erotic romance, it definitely delivers. In fact, of all the books you’ve written this one reminds me most of Wicked Burn, my favorite Beth Kery.

Addicted to You by Bethany KaneKatie Hughes, Everett Hughes, and Rill Pierce have been friends since their teens, the Hughes family adopting the young man from Ireland. Rill, a famous movie director and script writer, who had directed Everett Hughes in six of his films. Katie did not go in front of the screen choosing to be a tax attorney in Beverly Hills. Katie has been in love with Rill since he first came into her life but he’s never looked at her as anything as his best friend’s little sister. Rill married an actress named Eden but 18 months ago, she died and Rill ran away ending up in Vulture’s Canyon, Illinois. Why he ran away and the reason for his emotional withdrawal is far more complicated than the fact that his wife had died. Instead it is wrapped up in Rill’s sexual identity. Essentially, Rill is afraid of his own sexual nature, afraid that he’ll somehow let go and become overcome by his “unnatural” urges. He’s taken up drinking as his only hobby. (Was he an alcoholic? I never felt like this was well addressed).

There’s something about how you write the sex scenes that make them compelling. I think it’s the activity and by that I mean, there’s movement both in the action of the characters, but also in the emotion expressed through internal monologue and dialogue. During the scene, we know what the characters are feeling at each given moment and that’s important to me. I think the scenes also include the five senses: what the characters smell, taste, feel, hear, and see. They are very alive for me. Plus, there is a lot of emotion leading up to the acts itself.

Katie has come to save Rill from himself and unexpectedly finds herself the intense focus of Rill’s suppressed passions. So the first scene. Rill is the drunk off his ass. Katie shows up at his door. And … Rill proceeds to have sex with Katie without a condom. While this was incredible sensuous scene, I kept thinking that Rill wasn’t in complete control over his own mind and Katie should have put a stop to it. If roles were reversed and Katie was totally drunk, I don’t think I would have been okay with Rill having sex with Katie. And Katie! Katie, girl, I know this is the man of your dreams, but make him suit up, okay?

I liked that Katie has decided that Rill has had enough time to damage himself and that she wants him to wake up and realize that she’s a good partner for him, both in bed and out of it. She doesn’t back down from Rill or her brother but is pursuing her own desires. Rill, afraid of his attraction toward his BFF’s little sister, runs hot and cold. This is offset, though, by Katie’s mostly level headedness. I wanted Rill for Katie because Katie wanted Rill and Rill’s waffling wasn’t because he didn’t want Katie, but because he wanted her too much. Rill is full of a lot of self disgust and doesn’t want to sully Katie’s precious being with his dirty hands and even dirtier mind. Of course, everyone else from Katie to the reader is encouraging him to defile her in every way possible.

Even though Rill was married previously, I never felt that Rill hadn’t completely fallen for Katie by the end. I was charmed by the small town of Vulture’s Canyon and the inhabitants.

I think where readers may stumble include the overt sexual nature of Rill’s recovery (it’s the magic hoo haa) although this did not bother me. Why Vulture’s Canyon? Why would they stay there? Wouldn’t their positions take them elsewhere? Why wasn’t Katie happy as a tax attorney in Bev Hills? Didn’t she have any other friends/family she would miss? And for all the build up over Rill’s dark side, I was a little deflated (pun intended) when I discovered his dark side. Maybe I’m simply too debauched by my past erotic readings, but Rill’s passionate nature seemed quite normal to me and his angsting over his sexual beast became a bit tiresome.

There was a suspense plot tacked on to the end and generally I dislike suspense plots that are used just to heighten conflict at the end of a story, instead of well woven throughout. That said, this erotic romance was primarily focused on just Rill and Katie and their physical dynamic worked for me. think readers who liked Wicked Burn would like this one, opening scene notwithstanding. B-

Best regards,

Jane

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