Blazing Midsummer Nights

Leslie Kelly
June 2012, Series Romance
Har Blze #689, $5.25, 217 pages, Amazon ASIN 0373796935

Grade: C-
Sensuality: Hot

Sometimes the smallest things pull me into a story. In this case, the opening setting of an outdoor party at an old southern mansion where the heroine lives pulled me in. The landlord, the party, everything about it felt welcoming. I also adore Shakespeareís Midsummerís Night Dream so I was intrigued by a book structured around the play. But once I got past the opening scenes, the book wasnít compelling. I would read a few pages, get bored or irritated, and put it down.

Mimi Burdette has a high level position with her fatherís grocery store chain and is working hard to prove she deserves to be the next CEO; sheís even dating one of his assistants. While Dimitri is handsome, smart, and hard-working, thereís no spark between them.

Mimi isnít like the rest of her family. While sheís in a high-pressured, high-paying job, she lives in a small apartment in an old mansion filled with quirky characters; she feels itís a place where she can truly be herself. As the book opens, the mansionís owners - a retired hippie couple seemingly stuck back in the 1960s Ė are throwing a party. Although Mimi is at the party with the boring Dimitri, the landlady decides to set her up with Xander, a hunky new tenant. The landlady gives him a ďshortcutĒ to his apartment that leads him directly to Mimiís bedroom, a bedroom in which sheís currently changing clothes.

Sparks abound in Mimi and Xanderís first meeting, but the two donít actively pursue each other, they donít have meaningful conversations in the hallway between their apartments. Instead, their ďrelationshipĒ is characterized by a series of accidents. Mimi climbs up a ladder, falls, and lands in Xanderís arms. She climbs up a tree to rescue a cat, falls, and lands in Xanderís arms. She trips and ends up in his lap. Yes, there is lots of sexual action during these encounters, but I wanted more. I wanted some discussions. What do they have to ensure a long-lasting relationship other than the best sex of their life? Iím not sure, and the author didnít convince me. Far too much happens off-page, including apparent times Mimi and Zander spend together when theyíre not having sex.

There are many clever ties to A Midsummerís Night Dream. The backyard setting for the opening party is like the magical woods in the play. Like Oberon and Titania, the owners of the mansion are estranged. When Mimi has trouble sleeping, one of the owners gives her a special blend of tea to drink. Not only does Mimi sleep, she has unbelievably erotic dreams that take place in the forest involving both Xander and Dimitri.

Iíve read and enjoyed several of Ms. Kellyís recent romances but this isnít one of them. If this had been my first experience with the author I doubt if I would read any more. Since Iíve liked her in the past ,I will give her another try. If you havenít read the author, donít start here; check through AARís database for some better examples of her work.

-- LinnieGayl Kimmel

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