Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-59578-382-0
Contemporary Romance, 2007
As the title would suggest, the three stories in Hot Summer Nights take place in the summer when the days are steamy and the nights are steamier. I know, how clichéd. But apart from that, the three stories are very different from one another.
Bonnie Dee opens the anthology with Summer Break. Goodness, how old are these characters again? They have just graduated from high school. Is Ms Dee trying to capture a more youthful readership? Eric is not happy that he’s most likely stuck in town while everyone else goes off to college. His brother is a stoner and his mother has long fled from their lives. Eric has a crush on his friend Josh’s girlfriend Brianne. Even then, he may not have a chance to hang out with them much longer as Josh is heading off to the NYU while Brianne is going to Berkeley. But when Eric and Brianne find themselves embroiled in an affair while Josh is away, things really get muddled. What will happen now?
I like the fact that the resolution is more pragmatic than I’d expect but on the whole, these three kids are, well, kids. I find it hard to imagine that the romance will last, especially when Eric has no ambition and Brianne ends up making some decisions for him when it comes to what he wants to do in life. After all, what do kids know about love, eh? I think I will enjoy this story more if it takes place a few years down the road and the characters are older and wiser.
Jayelle Drewry is next with Summer’s Promise. As a middle school teacher, Delilah Jaynes has two months of vacation during the summer and she intends to enjoy every minute of it. Her ex-husband showing up to collect the kids puts a damper on her enthusiasm but the appearance of kung-fu master/uberstud John Knowles will soon put a smile on her face again. John has his eye on Delilah for some time now and he realizes that it’s his chance to make a move when her kids are away and there is nothing standing in his way anymore.
This story is a divorcée fantasy rather than a well-written romance because Delilah is supposed to be this very hot and sexy curvy woman who apparently has all men other than her ex-husband panting at the sight of her. This doesn’t really make sense unless the ex-husband is some kind of alien but I suppose at the end of the day it’s all about the message that you can eat all the ice cream you want and still be hot and beautiful. The story revolves around John working to get Delilah to start trusting men and her heart again. Naturally, I’m sure you can predict what his method of persuasion is going to be. Summer’s Promise is a quick read but I doubt I will remember much about this story apart from perhaps the fact that the hero is bald.
Rusty Wicks closes the anthology with Sun Kissed. Our heroine Bess is the private tutor of the two kids of a rich businessman who constantly travels all over the world and takes his family along, which explains how she finds herself in Egypt. Bess has a crush on her handsome employer Clay but she doesn’t have the opportunity to do much as Clay’s two kids are always around. But one afternoon when the kids are away, Bess realizes that she and Clay have a rare moment alone. Is this the time to make her move?
The romance, if I can call it that, is rushed at a ridiculous degree, with Clay announcing that he’s in love with her right after their first shag. Then again, with this being a short story, I suppose I can’t expect more. But I am certainly befuddled by how the author also has Bess buying this magical ring in a marketplace. This development serves no purpose other than to have Bess writhing and molesting herself while dreaming of shagging some fellow named Mahmud who babbles that she’s been filled with the power of the sun or something. I have absolutely no idea what all this has to do with Clay and Bess. The end result is a rushed story packed with bizarre dream sex scenes that serve no discernible purpose other than to up the sex scene quota. Seriously, what is that all about?
Quite frankly, Hot Summer Nights is yet another anthology with three most forgettable stories.