Though it's been years since the infamous Macy O'James stepped foot in Sugarville, Washington, everyone remembers what she supposedly did. The tiny town is still buzzing about her crime and lack of punishment.I'm going to begin by saying that my first reaction when I flipped that last page to Susan Andersen's latest contemporary romance Burning Up was "that was such a fun book!"
Now back to lend her family a hand, Macy vows to hold her head high—especially at her high school reunion. But forget about the hottest man in Sugarville escorting her. Though she and fire chief Gabriel Donovan generate enough sparks to burn down the town, he's a law-abiding, line-toeing straight arrow. So not her type.
But maybe—just maybe—he can change her mind about that.
Macy O'James is returning to Sugarville, Washington to temporarily care for her cousin Janna. She left town right after graduation and made a success of her life as a music video star. Unfortunately, although she considers Sugarville her home, there won't be a welcome mat for Macy. A gorgeous woman with a body and face that make men drool, she was the victim of nasty rumors back in High School that began when she rejected a popular jock. But our Macy doesn't wear her heart on her sleeve and instead of shying away she dressed up to kill, rubbed her assets on everyone's faces, and let them all talk and wonder. That's our Macy! Of course there was also the car accident where three jocks were hurt... and Macy was the one behind the wheel of the car that hit them.
The situations presented in the plot are not necessarily new and some of the characters have a familiar feel to them at times, however it's all in the execution and Andersen definitely does that well in this novel. Macy is one of those characters, except that with Macy what you first see is not necessarily what you get. As Macy returns to town years later, she seems to be the same old girl, rubbing everyone the wrong way and flaunting her looks around the insular little town of Sugarville, the more bizarre her outfits the better. Andersen then proceeds to develop this character's public persona, as well as the real, vulnerable Macy as seen only by her family and close friends.
When Macy first drives into town, the first person she meets is the new fire chief, Gabriel Donovan and by the look in his eyes, she can tell exactly what he's thinking... "here's trouble." Gabriel is definitely attracted to Macy, but she's right... he immediately places her in the category of a "party girl" and decides to stay away from her. He's the type of man who's done sowing his wild oats, making mistakes and is ready to settle down with a nice, sweet woman. Gabriel is an uptight, stick-in-the mud who makes assumptions at-a-glance about Macy based on her looks and initially treats her accordingly.
And the fun begins! The best part of this book for me was reading how Macy drives Gabriel crazy and then how he goes from being uptight and reluctant, to a desperate, hot, steamy sexy man. The dialogue between the central characters is excellent and it's what made Burning Up a fun contemporary romance. Andersen uses sexual tension as a build up to the steamy sexual scenes that top it all off.
There is a secondary romance that was developed rather too quickly and although it provided some fun moments, I'm afraid it didn't quite hold my attention. Gabriel does get to show off his skills as a fire chief during an arson investigation and I thought that part of the storyline fit well with the rest. The secondary characters were a wonderful addition to the story, especially Sheriff Johnny and Macy's cousin Janna.
Burning Up is a well developed, hot and steamy, fun contemporary romance with a female protagonist I truly liked. Set in a small town, with judging and preconceived ideas that are shattered, some old plotting devices cleverly used by the author and great secondary characters, this is a book I really enjoyed.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Released: August 31, 2010
Source: Requested from NetGalleyGrade: Solid B
Visit Susan Andersen here.