by Susan Andersen

August 2004
ISBN: 0-7783-2021-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Mira Books
Mass Market Paperback

Hot & Bothered is a book not to be missed. Itís got it all. A secret baby, a pretend engagement and a hero form the wrong side of tracks.

A former marine with an abusive childhood and now turned private investigator with an office in Denver, John ďRocketĒ Miglionni is the man to turn to when it comes to locating missing teenagers. Heís called to Colorado Springs to find one Jared Hamilton, seventeen-year-old runaway and prime suspect in his very rich and very much-hated fatherís murder. John is in for a surprise. Not only does the person hiring him turns out to be the one woman to make a lasting impression on him six years ago, but she also seems to be the mother of a little girl whith his eyes.

Victoria Hamilton never thought to look for the father of her little girl. Six years ago John made it clear that their fling was a short one and without a chance of turning into something more, something special. Now she doesnít know what to make of him. As heís her best bet at finding her brother and clearing his name, she allows him to stay at the estate and to get to know their daughter. He clearly is not prepared to act the daddy, but he seems willing to try. Even when it means playing with Barbies.

As he's from the from wrong side of town and clearly not part of the country-club crowd, John and Tori enter a pretend engagement to introduce him to the people most likely to have gained from her fatherís demise. Meanwhile a scared Jared (he believes himself to be responsible for his fatherís death) is on the run, trying to learn the rules of the streets, to find something to eat and a place to sleep.

Once more Susan Andersen proves that she is an author with a conscience, an author to tackle an important subject without shoving it down her readersí throats. Runaway children and teenagers, and the dangers they face on the streets (and at home) are not an easy subject. In Susan Andersení words they make sense and become an issue worth reading and thinking about. An issue, which doesn't interfere with the storie's romance and sensual pull (we are talking hot and bothered here!). What it does, is provide a tough and challenging backdrop to John and Tori's growing respect and love.

Susan Andersen has always been a writer I liked. And I do admit, I was at first a little disappointed when she turned away from her light and funny books to her now more mature stories. However, how can I not like her books with a hero like John? To watch this tough guy being confronted with being a dad and then trying to make a go of it, is just priceless. It shows a vulnerable side to him that is so very endearing and so it sure comes as no surprise when Tori discovers her love for him. And Tori? Well she is another of Susan Andersenís strong heroines. Fiercely protective of her little daughter and her brother she is not one to just stand by and watch.

Hot & Bothered is a book I read slowly, as I was afraid of missing out on memorable moments and dialogue. I savored every word. Itís wonderful to have an author not afraid of big emotions, an author to trust her characters, to balance the dark with the light, to find a pace just right and to keep you turning the pages.

Reviewed in July 2004 by Kris Alice.

Read more reviews of Susan Andersen books.Click Here