Monday, February 08, 2010
Slow Heat by Jill Shalvis
When Wade needs a date for a celebrity wedding, Sam steps up to the plate as his "girlfriend." But given her secret crush on him and that one awkward night a year ago in a stuck elevator with too much scotch, the whole thing is an exercise in sexual tension.
Wade is thrilled when the pretense turns into an unexpected night of hot passion. But the next day Sam is back to her cool self. As a catcher, Wade’s used to giving the signals, not struggling to read them. Now, to win the love of his “pretend” girlfriend, he needs a homerun–even it involves
stealing a few bases...
I must sound like a broken record. I love Jill Shalvis' books. She has a great blend of humor, emotion, and hotness mixed in with her ability to tell a wonderful story.
Slow Heat is the sequel to Double Play. While I really liked Double Play, I adored Slow Heat.
What I liked:
Wade and Sam. They are both emotionally stunted in that they have been hurt by their families - those who should love them most and unconditionally. After a sexual encounter in an elevator (takes place during Double Play), they try to avoid one another, thus avoiding any need to address their feelings about that day, until they are forced to "play" at boyfriend and girlfriend to save Wade's reputation.
What I liked so much about Wade was seeing him open up to Sam. Without realizing it. He shares with her, he can't stop thinking about her, and he tells her so - not realizing the implications for himself. Plus, he's hot, has a great sense of humor, and loves to tease. Of course, he thinks that all of this is in good fun, while the reader can tell that "this is it."
Sam. Well, she wants to be as emotionally distant as possible. But she, too, finds herself falling for Wade. She's less vocal about it, far more in denial. However, her emotional journey is also complicated by her nephew, who comes to stay wwith her. She can't help but adore him, and learns on-the-job how to mother him. It's with Tag that she experiences the most emotional growth, and this allows her to open up to Wade as well. Wade couldn't help falling for Tag, too.
The sex. Hot. But always serving to forward the story, the emotional connection. While both Sam and Wade think they're having sex for sex's sake, each encounter affects them deeply. Wade hides his emotional fragility behind humor after sex and a general unwillingness to discuss issues. Sam hides her emotional fragility by simply running away after each encounter. But having said that, each time they have sex, their connection is cemented further. There are no gratuitous sex scenes. Although, I did wonder when they'd find a bed! But that also serves to show how both of them wanted to keep things superficial. A bed implies commitment, a conscious choice, while sex up against the wall can be chocked up to a momentary urge.
Both Wade and Sam deal with their family issues during the course of the book, but not everything is wrapped neatly in a bow. It's obvious that there will continue to be trust issues between Wade and his father, and between Sam and her family. But I like that they are making decisions that are best for themselves, for their emotional health - something that they could never have done at the beginning of the book..
The quotes. Shalvis has found a gazillion quotes on baseball (and life via baseball), and starts each chapter with a different quote. It can sometimes be considered a trite move, but these quotes match Shalvis' style completely. Warm and funny, but insightful.
What I didn't like: Not much. If I had one complaint about this book, it would be her refusal to look at Wade's actions, and believe that they have a chance. She's all tied up in what she thinks he wants, but refuses to acknowledge that it could change.
Last thought. Shalvis is able to make me wonder about more books in this series simply by creating great characters. There is no sequel-baiting. As soon as I finished the book, I tweeted Shalvis, wanting to know if Gage's story is next. Dying to know more about him!