Monday, April 9, 2018

Book Review: 'Untamed Heat' by Tarah Scott


A worried young mother meets a hot archaeology teacher, and they end up getting chased through the desert by assassins trying to gun them down.
The first meeting between Liz and Hawk got me very confused and annoyed. I didn’t get it. No normal person would do what they did. Liz is worried about her teenage daughter getting in bed with her teacher, and yet she cowers from confronting him face-to-face, and then feels all lusty ’cause he’s such a hunk. Um, what? Hawk, on the other hand, expects her to be a call girl (the reason for that assumption comes clear later) hired by his enemy, and therefore he treats her horribly, with disdain and violence, plus sexually assaults her. Yeah, not real life or real people in any sense of the word.
I almost couldn’t get past that scene to the rest of the book. That would have been a shame because despite the terrible beginning this story does pick up toward the end, growing more realistic and simply better. The plot evolves into a suspenseful tale of land developers trying to get richer through any means necessary versus archaeologists trying to preserve the past.
Against that background, Liz and Hawk start to get to know each other once they realize their erroneous assumptions about one another. Plus, the notion of big time industrialists trying to scare or even kill the little people standing up against them rang true for me at least. Money and political connections ensure that even law enforcement people’s hands are tied, while assassins take care of anyone opposing their employers.
About the characters. The annoying cliche in M/F romance novels, where a man’s masculinity is accentuated by a woman’s helplessness, does rear its ugly head here too. But thankfully not much. Once put on the spot, Liz exhibits her own strength and smarts. Sure, there’s a single hysterical moment, but we can attribute that to shock. While I wasn’t all that impressed with Hawk’s continuous “sweetheart” remarks, he’s still strong, smart, and hot, as befitting the hero. His age is never really given, nor the reason why he’s suddenly so drawn to Liz. His moral fortitude and physical strength do come through several times, but he still felt a bit lacking.
The attraction, as you might have guessed, is instantaneous. Thankfully, though, the two don’t hop into bed immediately. In fact, in the whole story, there isn’t a single “bed” scene. The two do have sex, oh yes, but always outdoors. And yes indeed, the sex is super hot! That alone made this worth a read. The suspense angle gave the story a different kind of tension, and thus a definite boost to the pace and the way the heroine and the hero were forced to interact and defend themselves.
Overall, an above average tale of outdoor sex and suspense in running from the bad guys, with two interesting main characters and a continuous sensual tone. I’m looking forward to seeing what the author can do with a longer piece, as she handles both sensuality and suspense rather well.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.