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Hot in Here Paperback – June 2, 2009
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Hot In Here
Former country girl, Jenna McCabe is an intelligent, professional businesswoman, having built a successful public relations and marketing company from scratch with very little capitol. Jenna is a "force to be reckoned with in business". However, the "business of being a woman had never come easily", therefore her longtime friend and confidant Bryce Ryder has never felt a sexual attraction to her. Jenna however, has been in love with the handsome, popular Bryce since age 17 and has waited for years for him to see her as a love interest.
Bryce is a very successful gifted chef with his own restaurant and television show "Heating It Up". While he comes from a wealthy family, he has made his own fortune providing culinary excellence to his patrons. When he makes an inappropriate comment concerning women, which is reported and embellished in "Celebrity Gossip" magazine his career is put in jeopardy. Bryce then calls on Jenna to develop a public relations plan that will put him back in good stead with his patrons and viewers.
This presents the perfect opportunity for Jenna to finally encourage Bryce to see her as not just a friend, but as a desirable sexy woman. She is fully aware however that Bryce has never thought of her that way. In fact, he is a known womanizer with a new slim beautiful woman on his arm every night of the week.
Bryce is a man scorned following his ex-live in girlfriend "Chrissy", using him for money and nearly bankrupting him in the process. Jenna was there all through his tough time and, in fact was instrumental in negotiating a "Chrissy" pay off. Needless to say, Bryce is cynical where women are concerned. His whole focus is his career and restaurant.
As the story opens Bryce is hosting Jenna at his restaurant to review her damage control plan. He has always viewed her as his close friend and confidant, a `girl next door' type hailing from their small rural town. However, suddenly over the intimacy of delectable food and business conversation, Bryce begins to have overwhelmingly hot sexual fantasies concerning Jenna. He doesn't understand why, she isn't his `type' after all, but with every mouthful of culinary sweetness entering Jenna's luscious mouth he feels an undeniable sexual attraction to her. Their new very intimate sexual relationship blossoms following that meeting when Bryce unexpectedly turns up at her apartment.
There is a scintillating parallel between mouthwatering culinary delights and sex in this novel that IMHO enhances the erotic scenes. In addition, through Ms. Renwick's lovely erotic prose, I could feel Bryce's love for Jenna deepen during their emotional intimate encounters. This is a hot erotic romance and there are a number of intense sexually explicit scenes in changing settings, which I felt also, enhanced their deepening feelings. First a reader is shown the city where both Jenna and Bryce's businesses and homes are located. Then we are whisked to romantic Tuscany where Bryce has a lovely old home overlooking a beautiful vineyard. Finally, they return home to the small rural town where both of them grew up under very different circumstances.
An interesting family dynamic is established in that we are introduced to three brothers from the Ryder family, Bryce, Trey, and Tyson, and, three sisters from the McCabe family, Jenna, Sarah and Emily. Trey and Sarah are the secondary characters given the most page time as they hatch a scheme to get Jenna and Bryce together, which backfires terribly causing our heroine, who is already suspicious of her hero's intentions, to spurn him completely. Bryce then has to do some serious damage control to earn back Jenna's trust.
Trey and Sarah have an adversarial relationship, in that she professes to `hate' him, however he doesn't quite understand why. Trey is an internationally acclaimed photographer and is quite accustomed to having beautiful models at his beck and call. He is aloof and sexy as heck, an intriguing character with significant commitment issues. There is a hint of a turbulent family history with respect to the Ryder men, Trey especially, that you will have to learn about through reading the novel.
We only get glimpses of Tyson and Emily in "Hot In Here", however, I'm hoping we will learn more about them if there is a sequel.
There is also a subplot concerning a struggling rural family on the verge of losing their farm and way of life. In this context, Ms. Renwick brings a very real problem to life as part of her lovely fictional erotic romance.
The question is, can Jenna trust her formerly womanizing best friend enough to make the ultimate leap and profess her love for him? Further, can Bryce convince Jenna of his sincere intentions, in spite of his history and making some significant mistakes during the course of their relationship changing from one of friends to lovers?
I will look forward to reading more of Ms. Renwick's work in future.
Jenna McCabe is turning 28 today and she's going to get her birthday wish - Bryce naked in her bed. For ten years she's been in love with him and enough is finally enough. Well aware of Bryce's reputation with woman, Jenna has a master plan on how to get Bryce and keep him. His call for help is the perfect opportunity too. Owning her own marketing firm and working tirelessly to build a solid reputation, Jenna knows she can help Bryce with his current dilemma.
Meeting Jenna for dinner at his restaurant, Bryce is appalled by Jenna's suggestions on how to recoup his reputation. He didn't ask that his fans be house wives. But unfortunately they're what bring in the money and they're also the ones that his words offended. He has to make amends but not by cooking with the elderly. No way! There must be something wrong with Jenna. Not only does she propose this horrible plan but she's also acting totally out of character. His best friend has suddenly developed a back bone where he's concerned and Bryce can't help but stand up and take notice and that's not the only thing that's standing up. Jenna totally has his blood fired up and his cock standing at complete attention. He wants her. Bryce wants shy Jenna McCabe. What is going on?
Jenna's in the mood to play a little hard to get. She certainly just can't hop into bed with Bryce the first night. That would be too easy for Bryce and Jenna would just be one more in a long list of romps in the sack. But Jenna's plans are soon tossed out the window after Bryce shows up unannounced at her apartment carrying a steaming hot platter of something that smells positively sinful.
Plying her with dessert is exactly what Bryce has in mind. He's not at her apartment for sex, he just wants an excuse to try and understand these new feelings that are bombarding him over Jenna. But his good intentions fly out the window when Jenna opens her apartment door dressed in a silky chemise that leaves little to the imagination. As one hot and delicious spoonful of custard dripping with chocolate and Carmel leads to another, Bryce and Jenna are soon overwhelmed by the eroticism of the moment and it's not long before these two get hot and heavy between the sheets.
Completely humiliated by last night's bed play and afraid that it all was one big fat lie on Bryce's part, Jenna escapes the confines of her apartment and heads to work. Shaken to the core, Jenna could kick herself for deviating from her plan of playing hard to get. Bryce's nonstop phone calls and unexpected visit at her office with breakfast is making things even worse. Jenna needs time to think and plan her next form of attack. Besides her emotions are completely raw and a moment to regroup is really all she wants. Well that and Bryce's cookie dough pancakes!
Now Jenna has a new plan with the help of her gorgeous and confident employee, Rachael. Give Bryce a little dose of what he's been dishing out all these years: hot sex with no strings.
When a marketing deal near and dear to Jenna's heart goes sour, Jenna hightails it Italy to save the account. Bryce is steaming over the fact that Jenna didn't tell him she was leaving the country. If it wasn't for his brother, who unbeknownst to both Bryce and Jenna is conspiring with Jenna's sister Sarah in an effort to get Bryce and Jenna together once and for all, he never would have known she was gone. But Bryce sees where he can possibly take advantage of this situation by whisking Jenna away to his Tuscan villa.
The days in Tuscany with Bryce are some of the best days of Jenna's life. In a perfectly sublime moment, Bryce tells her that he loves her. While her own heart has been engaged for years on end, Jenna's hesitant to tell Bryce her own words of love. She still can't believe that what he's saying is real. But what Jenna doesn't say she shows Bryce her love with her body as the two embark on some of the steamiest love scenes in the novel.
Of course when everything is just starting to feel secure for Jenna, disaster strikes. A rather nasty email was sent earlier to Bryce by his conniving brother Trey, all in the effort to get Bryce to realize his love for Jenna. While at the time Bryce thought of Trey's words as cruel, it did work to get his attention. But having the email read by Jenna turns the words into a whole new context.
Horrified by her behavior and her near proclamation of love to Bryce, Jenna is hit hard by the email's revelations. Those hesitant feelings with regards to Bryce's words of love are proving not only to be her savior, but reaffirming her earlier denied knowledge that Bryce simply can't commit. Humiliated, Jenna takes off for some much needed time alone on her family's farm.
Bryce is not about to let the one woman he's ever loved get away. With true heroics, Bryce tracks Jenna down with the drive of a hungry lion stalking its prey. He will win her heart no matter what it takes. But as more lies pile up, Bryce needs to do some fast talking or he may very well end up the way he'd always imagined - alone.
'Hot In Here' was a fantastic escape read. Bryce is an intense hero who is originally a bit frightened by the sudden spark of lust that he feels for his long time friend. But he shows real strength with his fast and determined commitment to Jenna. If anything, Jenna is the one with commitment issues, IMO, but much of that can be blamed on Bryce's earlier behavior with women.
Also, food has never read so sexy. I've developed new meaning to words like custard, gelato, and Carmel. Chocolate needs no added eroticism, it's a dessert that's always been associated with sex and boy was I reminded why.