Vic Savian, a famous but reclusive playwrite, lives across the hall from the delectable Niall Chandler. The two have locked eyes previously and even shared an elevator alone once and even then, during these mundane moments, the tension between them crackled. Than one night Vic overhears Niall arguing with a disgruntled suitor. It doesn't take him long to recognize danger and Vic makes a rapid decision to peel the guy away from Niall and after which, even instilling a littler fear in him as well. In the next second though he offers Niall a drink at his apartment. Lucky for Niall, some hot lovin' was on the menu as well.
I love having characters revealed slowly to me but I thought that in this instance that revealing was too slow. In the midst of the white hot sex, we're given emotion but very little detail as to why, especially on Vic's end. Shortly after their first sexual encounter we're given limited information on Niall's tragic past and I suppose that it was both fortunate and unfortunate that I found her history so interesting because I ended up skimming the sex scenes to a certain extent to get back to the emotional story rather than the sexual.
Niall Chandler's four year old son was murdered before her very eyes. Soon after which her husband deserts her to wallow in his own grief. After suicidal attempts turn to homicide attempts with regards to Niall's life, her husband is admitted to a mental institution. Slowly coming to terms with not only her son's death but with the guilt and her husband's accusations that it should have been her that died, Niall has done her best to put her life back together over the last three and half years. Yet Niall still lives in a semi-catatonic state where her grief frequently manifests itself with debilitating nightmares. But it's Vic's earth shattering love making that awakens her to life again.
Vic has had his share of tragedy as well but his jaded demeanor, in my opinion, made him hold his fiancé's betrayal a bit too close to heart for too long. Jenny, a gorgeous movie star with a complex, broke Vic's heart after cheating on him and choreographing the timing so that Vic would walk in on her with another man. It's this betrayal that makes Vic refuse to become close enough to a woman where she has the power to once again break his heart. Yet Niall soon inspires complex emotions to arise and like the man that Vic is, he explains away his intense emotions as lustful desire.
Understandably, Niall is afraid of Vic's possible judgement regarding her son's death and she can't bring herself to tell him the truth of her past despite his offering to be there for her. Vic, finally ready and wanting to know who Niall is, nearly begs her to confide in him but of course she's too terrified of his possible negative reaction to do so. When the truth of her marriage becomes known, Vic proves true to Niall's fears and not only judges her but walks away from her as well.
As a reader, I have a serious aversion to the heroine going after the hero in general and even more so when the situation should definitely be the other way around. While I can't fully say that Vic didn't try, he did at one point call Niall, but he made no effort to truly demand an explanation which I think he was fully entitled to. I also can't say that Niall was entirely innocent for she never did return his call and she did also slink away and move from her apartment across the hall without a goodbye. Yet despite all that I believe that Vic should have manned up and went after her. Niall's crumbled and heartbreaking expression at Vic's untimely realization of her marriage, warranted some further digging on Vic's part. It's like he completely forgot her night terrors and her pale and shaky reaction to her parents arriving at her apartment unannounced. Plus she also had previously informed him that she needed to tell him something regarding her past but asks for more time. How could he have forgotten all this?
After six months of separation, Niall conspires with Vic's sister and boards at the farm that Vic owns south of Chicago while on a brief teaching foray at the local high school. Vic of course is still reeling over his discovery of Niall's marriage and is not particularly happy that she's foisted herself upon his life at the farm. Vic was beyond cruel and arrogant with his treatment of Niall and he even does the unforgivable in romance land: getting caught making out with another woman not once but this is now his second offense (the first was earlier with his ex. Jenny and I didn't like his explanation for that one at all).
On the other hand, I wanted Niall to rail at him and download her history on him so hard and fast that his head would spin. I wanted him to crumble under her valid anger and after wallowing in his guilt, he needed to get down on his knees and beg her for mercy. Yet my wishes didn't weren't realized. Instead, when I finally thought that Niall had had enough of Vic's abuse and found the will to walk away, what does she do? She runs back to him again! Vic, of course by this time knowing in detail Niall's tragedy, says he's sorry for his ugly behavior but although Vic internally realizes his love for Niall(and I could be wrong even after a second look through), he never voices it.
'Wicked Burn' wasn't by any means a bad read it just struck a lot of general dislikes for this reader. It's one of those novels that everything could have easily been cleared up with one simple and revealing conversation but where would the fun be in that, right?
This novel is definitely a very erotic read and I was surprised that the sexual content didn't merit a posting somewhere on the cover announcing this. It's categorized simply as Contemporary Romance. Perhaps there's more leniency with regards to what context requires an erotic warning to be printed with the entire romance genre heating up between the sheets these days. Either way I hope readers aren't caught off guard.
In closing, my thoughts on 'Wicked Burn' will not by any means prevent me from picking up subsequent author works. I definitely plan on purchasing Ms. Kery's 'Daring Time' when it releases.
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