"Heat Wave," a compilation of three contemporary short stories, is a perfect summertime read. Beaches, bikinis, and hot bodies feature prominently in each story.
In the first, "Rex on the Beach" by Stephanie Bond, a female private investigator goes undercover to locate a missing groom, by targeting the best man. She gets close to him in a hurry, just for information, or so she tells herself. Knowing what he likes, Lucy molds herself into his perfect woman, so it's no surprise when he quickly falls for her. But Rex is keeping his own secret, one that could break up this sexy pair before her assignment is over. A sweltering Florida locale, a quick introduction to seashell collecting, and a little light voyeurism make "Rex on the Beach" a fun summertime sizzler.
The second story in the collection, "Getting Into Trouble" by Leslie Kelly, is tough to peg. It's a confusing mish-mash of elements, clearly part of an on-going series set in the town of Trouble, Pennsylvania.
Damon, a counselor and caseworker for Child Protective Services, is burned out on his job, so he quits to become a hypnotist for a traveling carnival. In Trouble, he meets Allie, a 22-year-old single mom and secretary for the eccentric billionaire who saved the town of Trouble from ruin. Got all that? There's some more stuff in there about a camel, a would-be rapist, and a missing piece of note paper, but the story never gels into a cohesive tale, which is a shame because the character of Damon is an interesting one.
In "Shaken and Stirred" by Heidi Betts, the final story in the book, shy medical researcher Abby meets sexy marine Mike on the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Their courtship is smoking hot, perfect for a vacation fling.
Aside from misunderstandings with Mike's "friend with benefits" who always hoped for more, the story doesn't have much conflict or tension, but with a duo this spicy, who cares? It's got a beach, a macho military man, and one memorable gold lam‚ bikini, but my favorite thing about the story is how fair-skinned Abby always remembers to apply her SPF 45 sunscreen, even when her head is whirling from Mike's kisses.
A little con
Investigator Lucy Bell is looking for a runaway groom. Fortunately, the almost-best-man (who's tastier than a double chocolate cheesecake) likely knows where he is. All Lucy needs is a little deception and a whole lot of hot 'n' sweaty persuasion!
A little magic
Single mom Allie Cavanaugh has played nice with others for too long. Then Allie finds herself kissing a powerfully magnetic hypnotist at a carnival in front of an audience! Sure, maybe she's mesmerized, or maybe the 'real' Allie is finally waking up....
And a little late-night mischief!
Abby Weaver abandons the cool haven of her pharmaceutical basement for a girls-only week of sun, sand, and fruity drinks. That was the plan until Abby finds herself going solo. But the beach is a funny place you never know just what (or who!) will wash up onshore....