Turn Up the Heat

Turn Up the Heat - Jane Davitt, Alexa Snow Review originally posted at Sinfully.

3.5 stars

If you don’t like stories about people who fail at communicating, you may have a tough time with this one because that is what it’s about. Rory and Shannon, who are strangers to each other, play out a hot sex scene that they think will be a one-time thing, but then continue it over and over again as the sexual chemistry and attraction is undeniable. But feelings change and potentially false assumptions form deeper roots, and conversation is pushed aside for sex. That’s not to say there isn’t talking, this one definitely gets points for dirty talking and hot, rough sex. But Shannon begins to almost resent what’s happening, wondering if Rory even wants to know him for who he is, or just wants to play out the hot, dominant biker dude fantasy to get the sexual experiences he’s been denying himself for so long.

Even going into it knowing the story was going to revolve around communication issues, I still wish there had been some actual talking. Rory and Shannon win the prize for failure to communicate. It was definitely frustrating at times, but it was the point of the story. Shannon, especially, becomes so focused on giving Rory what he wants, the sexual fantasy, that he pushes aside his own needs for romance and taking things slowly in bed for fear Rory will walk away from it. Rory, for his part, is a bit insecure and isn’t sure what Shannon sees in him, but is willing to go along for the ride as long as it lasts. Shannon’s attempts to start a conversation always result in him giving into Rory’s sexual advances while he becomes more and more uncomfortable with the way things are heading. I spent a lot of time wondering just how far Shannon was willing to go (pretty far as it turns out) before he finally broke and said something and how long Rory could keep being pretty selfish even though his feelings for Shannon were growing.

I love the way these authors write their kink. They make it natural to the characters as people, not as a formal Dom/sub, but as two people working out what they like and how to achieve it through trial and error sex, so to speak. Here, Rory likes a bit of humiliation and fear in with the rough, dominating sex. Cue the dirty talk and threats of them being discovered or put on display, something he knows deep down that Shannon wouldn’t do. That feeling of safety allows Rory to lose himself in the desires he has hidden for so long.

Outside of the communication issues messing things up, there is also Rory’s brother. Jude was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and though he is a functioning adult, he has trouble with social interactions and making good judgment calls, often leading to him into situations where he is used by those he considers “friends.” Rory’s devotion to helping Jude has driven away prior lovers and is an issue with his friends. He believes he is the only one who understands and wants to help Jude, but really just enables him. Shannon is the one who doesn’t run away, but finds a way to deal with the situation. I really had to worry about Rory’s ability to judge people as well considering the friends he surrounds himself with. What a horrendous group of people.

This was a hot read about a dysfunctional couple. The authors know how to write kink and it’s on full display here. I would have liked to see a bit more of their relationship developing after they come clean with each other about their wants and needs. We do get a glimpse of them months down the road and a recap of how things have changed, but I missed out on actually seeing Shannon getting the romance he wanted and how their interactions have changed in order to balance the two sides of their sex life. Other than that, it was another enjoyable read from one of my auto-buy writing teams.