cover image The Hotter You Burn

The Hotter You Burn

Gena Showalter. HQN, $7.99 mass market (416p) ISBN 978-0-373-77969-7

Showalter’s second Original Heartbreakers contemporary (after The Closer You Come) explores a new relationship between Beck Ockley, who has slept with nearly every available woman in Strawberry Valley, Okla., and Harlow Glass, once known as the cruelest bully around. The book opens with Harlow, now homeless and hungry, breaking into her former home and stealing a pie. When she’s caught by Beck and his two roommates, the house’s new inhabitants, Beck immediately becomes possessive and controlling, manipulating Harlow “for her own good” when he decides to step in as her savior. Fortunately, after the rocky start and clichéd characterization of Beck, the romance between Harlow and Beck becomes more complex, and readers who stick with the story will be rewarded with the journey of two truly troubled people learning to fight past their issues to build something genuine. (Aug.)