Why I read it: Previously (also?) published under the title Red Hot Renegade, it’s a book I’ve heard from a number of blogger/Twitter friends is worth my time. Kat from Book Thingo is a big fan of this book and she even mentioned it in the recent DBSA podcast with Sarah Wendell. So I picked it (and 10 or 11 other Kelly Hunter books) up from the recent eHarlequin 50% off sale. I’m so weak.
What it’s about: (from Goodreads) In desperate need of protection, Jianne Xang-Bennett reluctantly turns to her estranged husband, martial arts expert Jacob Bennett, for help. But there are problems: they’ve been separated for twelve years and cannot be in the same room together without arguing or ripping each other’s clothes off–often at the same time.
But Jacob will go to extremes for those he loves, and Jianne is the only woman who can bring this honorable warrior to his knees. Can they delve beneath their red-hot desire and blazing anger to find the love that has always been hiding?
What worked for me (and what didn’t): There so much to like about this book – so much that’s unusual and well done – for one, it’s set in Singapore and the sense of place is strong throughout the story. The heroine is Chinese and she is written that way. I’m no expert, but she didn’t have the same Western sensibility I know – insofar as I can judge, she seemed Asian to me. The hero is an Australian martial arts expert with his own dojo in Singapore. Then there’s that the heroine is super rich – way better off than our hero. Add to that, that it’s a second chance at love story (they’re married and have been estranged for 12 years) and really, it’s made of win.
The reasons for the estrangement felt realistic, as did the changes in their lives since then (but not their fundamental attraction) which made it possible for them to successfully navigate a relationship.
The stalker plot was a little weak I thought, especially since this dude has been bothering her for FIVE years (which seems like a really long time to put up with something like that and for it to finally come to a head). But, it’s main purpose was to bring our main characters together again and for that, I can only be grateful.
The story is a part of a series (I believe it’s the final book but I could be wrong on that) but I don’t think it’s necessary to have read the previous books to understand this story. Kat assured me of the same thing in the podcast I mentioned earlier so it’s not just me who thinks so. As it happens, in the sale I also picked up many (perhaps all) of the other books in the series – Wife for a Week and Untameable Rogue are two of them – and both of those books also come highly recommended.
Some of the prose in the book felt a little odd to me – for example the use of the word “for” instead of “because”. It’s something I see in very formal books or historicals and it felt a little out of place here. But, that is a small niggle and it didn’t really impede my enjoyment of the story.
Jianne and Jake have scorching sexual chemistry and Jianne gives as good as she gets.
Gasping as he stroked long fingers down the crease of her buttocks with a sensuality that was his alone, down and down and then lifting her effortlessly so that she sat on the bench. His hands on her thighs now, pushing her skirt up and parting her legs wide as he stepped in close and dragged her against him again, and all the time his lips not leaving hers for more than a moment.
‘I thought of you,’ she confessed. ‘I thought of you, and I made do,’ she whispered as she slid her hand to his wrist and forced it down between their straining bodies. ‘Like this.’ And she surged against his hand as he took his cue and stroked her, his stroke so much bolder than her own and vastly more effective. ‘Jacob?’
‘What?’ he asked hoarsely.
‘I’m tired of making do.’
Their sexy banter was the highlight of the book for me – especially the scene about the whisk and the wooden spoon. 🙂
What else? If you’re looking for an exotic setting with an unusual hero and heroine, this is your book. I recommend 🙂