Turn Up the Heat -- Kimberly Kincaid
Book 1 of Pine Mountain series
As much as I enjoyed this book, in hindsight, I have to admit that it was fairly formulaic Contemporary Romance stuff. The highlight of a Kimberly Kincaid book, I’ve found after reading three of her Line series books, is that they are written in a fairly entertaining fashion and the narration always has those enjoyably witty-good moments.
In a sense, despite being a typical romance novel of the “Meet Cute” to “Off on the Wrong Foot” to “Instant Attraction” to “Witty Banter and Exchange Developments” to “Good Relationship/Friendship Development” to “Lust Fulfillment via Mind-Blowing Sex” to “Falling in Love” to “Everyone Has Secret Commitment/Childhood/Twisty Behavior Issues”, with a final ending “Reconciliation and Happily Ever After™”... I really DID find Turn Up the Heat to be quite enjoyable.
The Story in Brief:
Basically, Bellamy Blake is having a terrible week that pretty much forces her to re-evaluate her entire life. Her boyfriend has just indirectly dumped her by NOT telling her that he’s moving to a different state (an announcement that happens on local television, by the way) without her. A continued strain on the relationship with her boss and said boss’s slave-driving ways eventually leads to Bellamy’s resignation in the heat of the moment. Then the transmission of her fancy Miata blows while she’s making the mountainous drive up to Pine Mountain resorts in the middle of a coming snowstorm.
And then she meets Shane Griffin, a small town mechanic who just so happens to have some strange beef with city people, who takes one look at Bellamy with her city girl aura, and automatically decides to peg her as a rich and spoiled, self-entitled city girl. And then he precedes to heckle her before she even gets a chance to request the services of his garage to help her figure out what happened to her car. (Way to acquire business deals you actually need to make money for the loan payments that are currently pending, douchebag.)
The rest of the story entails the romantic escapades of Bellamy and Shane as well as a little soul searching on both ends of the relationship concerning their current lives. It’s got a pretty straight-forward story and a straight-forward romance with the obligatory miscommunications, secret-keepings, bendings of certain truths, and misunderstandings.
It all sounds fairly straight forward and flat, but really, the book was a lot of fun to read. Granted, I DID kind of feel like the big secret was a bit dull, the misunderstanding was eye-roll worthy, and Shane’s little beef with city people was a bit over-dramatic.
I mean, just because you've encountered one city person you have issues with and have had a single bad experience with city living doesn't mean that the entire city is evil; nor does it mean that every city person can automatically be filed into "It's okay for me to act like a douche towards her because she is from the city and will turn her nose up at small town living anyway, and also, she's probably a rich, spoiled, entitled brat."
Talk about prejudiced stereotyping... I mean, for crying out loud, Shane took one look at her, barely had a civil conversation because he started off being hostile in the first place, and already decided he knew exactly who Bellamy was in his negative connotation of "She's from the city" way. Besides,
I decided that he had no right to his first impression pre-judgments about Bellamy.
Nonetheless, the characters are witty and relatable in their own ways, the side characters are loads of amusement to have around, and there’s a spattering of food porn here and there since Bellamy is a self-taught amazing cook. (There are recipes at the end of the book of dishes and snacks Bellamy makes in the story, as seems to be the norm with a Kimberly Kincaid book.)
And while at first I thought that Shane was a big fat asshole with his pre-judgments and his uncalled for nasty behavior, the guy slowly grows on you. He’s certainly got a nice romantic streak on him, and together with Bellamy, the two make a great couple with hot sexual chemistry as well as a strange, soul-mate-like quality to their jedi-mind-trick communications. Although it doesn’t escape me that the fact that they “just get each other” was repeated a few times too many to describe how compatible the two of them are in the whole “they just get each other” deparment.
Overall, Turn Up the Heat was an enjoyable read which was no less than I’d been expecting from Kimberly Kincaid.