by Mlyn Hurn

May 2003
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In Burning Desires, the reader is introduced to Sabrina Selwyn, writer, and star of stage, film and soap opera, or daytime drama, as her father insists it be called. He is the patriarch of the family who created and controls one of the most popular shows on television. David Shelby, the sexy male star of the show, is one of the few primary members of the cast who is not part of the family. His looks keep him the star, but he’ll only share in the power by marrying one of the Selwyns. Sabrina was to be his way in, fifteen years ago.

That was when she was so badly burned in a fire that she was forced to endure years of horribly painful skin grafts. In her suffering, she thought her family deserted her; there was no doubt that David did. Through strength of will, Sabrina prevailed, becoming a major sensation in her field and a household name. Sharing her interests and pride of achievement for the last three years is wealthy entrepreneur, Brian Richards, who is not only a close friend but someone who secretly loves her.

At the close of her successful stage play, Sabrina is asked to make a twelve week guest appearance on her parents’ show. She’s absolutely against it, but Brian believes she should accept. He explains that the show needs a boost in ratings or it will be canceled. Privately, he knows that Sabrina needs to face those final demons from the fire: her family who seemed to turn away from her, and the man who broke her heart. While they share his apartment for the twelve weeks, Brian dares to hope that Sabrina will come to love him.

The story stretched my credulity in places. After fifteen years, and at a time when she knows they need her, she accepts her family back into her life almost as though nothing’s happened, basically after one look in her mother’s eyes. David isn’t as finely drawn as I would have expected. Sabrina, a self-described princess when she worked on the show previously, would have expected some degree of pampering from the man she loved. But as we see David, there’s no shred of decency, kindness or even charm in him. One wonders why she ever thought she loved him. Finally, after Sabrina and Brian make love for the first time (her very first time) she joins him in the living room for dinner, dressed in a silky black robe, and then focuses her attention on an old horror movie on TV. Sabrina, girl, wake up!

I also found much of Burning Desires to be very good. Having fought so much pain alone, Sabrina proved herself a strong fighter. She shows even more strength of character when she admits that it was she, more than her family, who pushed them apart. Brian is well written and believable. His supporting strength and love is never in doubt to the reader. Their dialogue is realistic and interesting. The sex is hot but not sizzling.

Reviewed in June 2003 by Kris.

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