Hot As Hell

HelenKay Dimon
2008, Contemporary Romance
Brava, $14.00, 320 pages, Amazon ASIN 0758222254

Grade: C-
Sensuality: Hot

At one point in Hot As Hell, Noah Paxton wants to know what the hell is going on. I did too. I donít know when I have read a book that had such a convoluted plot as this one. There were times I was totally lost and I still donít think Iíve got it all figured out.

Lexy Stuart and her brother own a security business. One of their employees is Army veteran Noah Paxton, who is also Lexieís fiancť. At least he was, until she discovered he was keeping secrets from her, most notably the fact that he had been married. Also, Lexie has found some trace evidence that Noah might be stealing from one of their clients. Her only human source for that information is Charlie Henderson, who is currently working at a spa in Utah. So Lexie goes there, to interview Charlie and to do the spa thing.

Naturally, Noah goes after her in an attempt to woo her back. It doesnít take too long before Lexie and Noah are in the middle of a police investigation when Charlieís dead body shows up in her room. This forces them back together, but the secrets both of them are hiding may force them apart before itís all over.

Both Noah and Lexie have the deepest trust issues I have seen this year. To HelenKay Dimonís credit, she gives a most unusual and plausible reason behind Lexieís inability to trust and talk to anyone. Her parents were hoarders. Lexie grew up in squalor, unable to tell anyone about it and unable to have anyone over to visit. To everyone in the community, her parents were rich eccentrics, but the reality was so terrible that Lexie felt she couldnít talk to anyone. She has trouble opening up, but she demands total trust. And when she didnít get it from Noah, she felt terribly betrayed.

Noah is not as complex - heís an overprotective alpha male who doesnít want Lexie to get into danger. Heís got a good heart, but he is pretty much an alphaís alpha (although not a jerk). I canít say a lot about him; heís not overbearing but thereís nothing all that special about him either.

The plot, as I said, was complicated and thereís lots of dialogue. At times, I longed for a good old info-dump since I was all at sea, especially at the beginning of the book. I felt like I had just tuned in to a long running series and everyone knew everyone but I didnít. As the book progressed, things got a bit clearer, but only a bit.

Hot As Hell has great love scenes, and I mean really hot and sensual ones. As much as they have difficulty communicating, Lexie and Noah have no trouble in the bedroom. The love scenes are steamy and lush without being at all purple and they are best thing in the book.

While I canít totally recommend Hot As Hell, it does have some good things going for it. The love scenes are great, and Lexieís background is original and very well presented. And the cover is wonderful. I donít know who the model is, but he is one fine looking man.

-- Ellen Micheletti

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