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Julie Doe

A Burning Obsession - Susan Kearney I chose this book in part because the cover touted the author as a "USA Today bestselling author." And I wanted a good steamy read. And I was in my favorite used bookstore, so the book was half price. A great deal, right? Wrong.

This book features a stupidly contrived set-up, a hero who ought to be in jail for not one, but two, sexual assaults on the heroine in the first fifty pages, a heroine who has butter for brains, and a re-imagining of the laws of physics.

Kimberly Hayward, a production assistant at Simitar [sic—yes, I know it’s spelled wrong:] Studios, has written a script about a series of heists of historical artifacts. Her boss says that he is interested in producing the script--but only if she authenticates that all of the heists can be performed as written. Contrived set-up. Yes, because all movie producers require script writers to personally act out their scripts before hand. Sheesh. But off she goes to Great Britain to play amateur thief.

Unfortunately for Kimberly, (before the book starts) she gets caught by U.S. Customs going through security somewhere with rocks concealed in a padded bra. She is not arrested, but the ever-suspicious U.S. government decides that she needs to be surveilled and outsources the job to the Shey Group. Enter Jason Parker, former jewel thief pressed into service by Shey Group. Jason is also a walking hard-on for most of this book. How attractive.

In the opening scenes at a library, Jason watches Kimberly’s movements on the security cameras. Now, unlike most institutions who value not getting sued, the library in question has installed a security camera in the women’s bathroom. Yes, the bathroom. Jason's Peeping Tom tendencies are thwarted only because the camera does not have a view into the stall Kimberly uses to change clothes. After getting into her disguise, she examines a rare book and appears, to Jason’s eyes, to rip a page from it. Promptly He leaves the security office and confronts her.

How does he confront her? Good question. He grabs her as she walks down a hallway and pulls her into a dark corner. Then he proceeds to hold her too close, call her “doll baby” (yeah, I almost retched at that one), and feel her up, running his hands over her bra looking for the secret compartment in it. Ms. Butter-for-Brains, AKA Kimberly, thinks maybe she ought to scream (ya think?), but then mentally refers to Jason as Mr. Too-Beautiful, Mr. Gorgeous, and Mr. Pretty-Blue-Eyes and does nothing. I guess sexual assault is OK if the guy is cute.

Taking a short commercial break here…I have read two books by this author, and in both books, the male characters force sexual attentions on the female characters. Why does the author think this is romantic or even acceptable?

Jason promptly joins Kimberly’s tour group. Someone is trying to set Kimberly up for the thefts she is only pretending to commit, and Jason must save her. His first act is to jump naked into a bathtub with her so that he can conceal her library disguise (the clothes are under the bubbles) from the police who are about to search her room.

The plot goes downhill from there.

The re-imagining of the laws of physics comes when Jason supposedly looses a computer virus on a security system through an electrical outlet. This may sound great in fiction-land, but in the real world, it strains the credulity of anyone who knows even the first thing about how AC power works. No, it doesn’t just strain the credulity, it breaks it in two and tosses it away.

So Jason and Kimberly must figure out who is trying to frame her and why. They do so in the end, and boink each other happily along the way.

And the act of boinking brings up the final stupidity in this. Kimberly’s boss has asked her to add several REALLY HOT love scenes to the script. Poor Kimberly thinks that although she has a vivid imagination, she just “can’t get in the mood” to write them. Later on, she thinks that she has “no idea what to write….” Poor dear, use your imagination. That’s what being a writer is all about. Jason has thoroughly snooped through Kimberly’s notes about changes to the script, so he knows that she wants to find a man to “help” her. He lies and tells her that her boss sent him—to help her. *wink* *wink* And she buys it. I’d say it was social Darwinism in action, but both main characters survive to the end of the book and live happily ever after.

Best to spend your money on something else.