by Kirstin Hill

October 2003
ISBN: 0-8217-7508-1
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

Cassie Knight only ever wanted to work in radio and when her chance comes she takes it. However, not as brunette farm girl Cassie but disguised as blond bombshell Sondra Lane. A sexy voice in the night that has reporter Nathan Taylor hot and bothered. A glowing review later he feels he owns the right to an up-and-personal interview with the elusive late nigh DJ. But Cassie guards her secret well.

With his editor pressuring him to deliver the exclusive piece on Sondra Lane, Nathan sets out to do whatever it takes to reveal the face behind the voice. Disguised as French cab driver he waits outside the station. His only guest in the late hours is a young woman who he tries to impress with his fake accent and his non-existent knowledge of vines. Heís lucky. Cassie is easily impressed and charmed. Even though she doesnít trust him enough to let on about what her real nighttime job is, she still welcomes his advances.

Itís not a bad idea for a story, but it takes off far too slowly, and it never really gets off the ground, as there just isnít enough time spent together. No chance of any sizzles or sparks to happen. One of the reasons could be that the reader doesnít learn anything of importance about the characters - other than her choice in music and his desire to achieve his goals, that is. Sure, the reader finds out about her family, but it adds no depth. There are far too many questions left unanswered to allow for a comprehensive portrayal of Nathan and Cassie. How am I to care for them without getting to know them?

Iím not keen on Nathan. He lies to her about his identity. And the only valid reason I could find for his actions were for them to propel the story along. Sorry, that just isnít enough to keep me interested and sympathetic towards him or the story. Why does she fall in love with him? Why does he fall in love with her? Because he has a French accent? Itís fake! Because she is good, sweet, genuine and virginal? Oh please! Nope, not working. There needs to be more!

ďHe thought the goodness in her had brought out the best in him.Ē

That is so clichťd. But all right - it is a nice sentiment. Problem is, in Nathanís case, itís not true. He doesnít change - he keeps lying to her - he cheats on her! This is supposed to be a romance. With characters like Nathan and Cassie Hot Under The Collar doesnít deserve to be called a romance. A romance novel celebrates love, trust and respect.

Therefore, for readers that demand more than just a good idea, Hot Under The Collar is a book to leave on the shelf.

Reviewed in January 2004 by Kris Alice.

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