by Eden Bradley, contemporary (2005)
Phaze, $2.00, ISBN 1-59426-535-6

I've often wondered why romantic erotica authors often have to come up with often silly plots just to have their characters naked and going at it. Why not just two people attracted to each other and having a good time because of that? Eden Bradley's Heatwave is a simple story of Leigh Novack liking what she sees in her neighbor Jared Townsend and having a fabulous time when each realizes that their mutual attraction is reciprocated by the other person.

The sex scenes of this story are truly hot in a frank, crude, dirty, and urgent manner that I rarely come across even in romantic erotica. Free from purple prose or embarrassing euphemisms for sex acts and organs, the love scenes in this book are truly naughty in a down and dirty, even earthy manner. What I also love about this book is how Leigh's sexuality isn't dependent on the hero. While Leigh's ex-husband cheated on her, she never allows that incident to turn her into a sexually-needy codependent ghoul like a typical romance heroine may very well turn into. There is no button on her that Jared presses to turn her into a sex goddess. Instead, Leigh turns on the shower and has a memorable solo scene involving the shower head before she gets together with Jared.

Instead of just sex, the author also incorporates enough conversations and quiet moments in the story to show me why there may be more to Leigh and Jared than squeaky bedsprings. I'm not so convinced at the declaration of love at the end of the story but I can see that these two will be okay if they ever decide that it is really love that binds them together. If not, I can see that Eden will be okay too as long as there is a functional showerhead in her house.

There's romance, there is a heroine who is delightfully sexual and makes no apologies for it, and there is not one stupid "sexy romantic suspense" plot or psychic tormented sex-maniac lyncantrophic vampire in sight. It gets down and dirty without resorting to camp or purple prose. Heatwave is so far the closest to being my ideal romantic erotica. If only it isn't so short!

Rating: 89

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