The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares. – Henri Nouwen

The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions. – Leonardo da Vinci

Poor Jo. Such dreams, such power, and yet she never saw it coming. Never saw the spoiled little rich boy user who snuck into her life and stole her power and her career. Now, back home in the small town she grew up in, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Jo can still surf, but never as a professional again.

Trying so hard to build a new life for herself, Jo goes back to her life as a lifeguard, back to her beloved home and her brother’s support. Yet all is not yet well, for her past has followed her to her new life – and the danger is not only to herself, but to all those she loves.

There are things to like, and not like, about “Hot As Blazes”. First, the like. There is well written suspense here, and a strong, likeable female lead. Jo has been betrayed by someone she thought loved her. Trusting to the love of her family, she returns, only to find that not only has betrayal followed her from California, it waits at home as she finds hard truths from before she left for collage and surfing as a professional. And the pain keeps coming. All this was done very well. Actually, change the name of the book and downplay the romance (and change the cover) and this could sell well as a suspense novel.

Now for the irritation. The romance. The love of Jo’s life, Ray, apparently loved her as well, for as long as she loved him. Now, they have the opportunity to make things right. But here is where things go all wrong. Ray is an Iraqi war vet, a firefighter. And a spoiled, jealous, manipulative brat of a man. Everything is aallll about Him. Spoiled, selfish, and so jealous of a rival he is convinced is after Jo that he is willing to throw her to the wolves because he got his little penis in a knot. Pftt. And it nearly gets her killed. So, my thought that the author could write a much better suspense novel if she gave up on the romance and stuck to suspense with a bit of romance thrown in – and didn’t shove her heroine into a box labeled “poor little weakling who takes all the blame when the big strong (spoiled, self centred) man has a tantrum when he doesn’t get his way. . . ” Oy.Crying may be a sign of overload in children

Sigh. Read it for the suspense portion – that part is really worth reading. As long as I skipped over Ray I really enjoyed the book, but Jo’s acceptance of all the guilt in the relationship pushed the book from a four star to a three for once more making a mistreated woman the victim of the story, pushing her to accept the blame for the misdeeds of the “Hero”.

I received this book from the publisher in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.