Dangerous Passions

The Dream

The Fire Inside


Innocence Undone

Night Secrets

Nothing But Velvet

Perfect Sin

The Secret

Silk & Steel

Hot Rain by Kat Martin
(Zebra, $6.99, R) ISBN 0-8217-6935-9
Hot Rain's Allie Parker gets my nomination for the TSTL (Too Stupid To Live) heroine of the year. I'll present my evidence after the book summary; you can decide whether I've got a winner here. Personally, I think it's a sure thing.

Allie Parker watches as her sexy roommate and best friend, Chrissy, and Chrissy's boyfriend of the moment, Donnie, head out of San Diego on a yacht. Allie's admiration for the beautiful boat, Dynasty I, owned by Donnie's employers, the Dynasty Corporation, turns to horror when it blows up while rounding the bay.

Police say it's an accident, but Allie suspects foul play. Chrissy told Allie that she thought Donnie was tense lately. In addition, Donnie always had plenty of money to spend on Chrissy and he never told her how he earned it.

Allie suspects the Dynasty Corporation maybe using its boats to run drugs. She decides to check out Dynasty II, another yacht owned by the Dynasty Corporation. While she's on board the boat takes off for Belize. Six hours later, crewmembers discover her.

The man in charge, Jake Dawson, tells the others he's claiming Allie as his bed partner for the duration of the trip. Allie isn't sure whether to believe Jake when he says he won't hurt her; she is determined to try and escape her sexy jailer.

Let's just state for the record that Allie is blond or blonde - the author obviously likes the word since she uses it on just about every other page. However, she couldn't decide which spelling she preferred so she uses both, repeatedly. One can only hope the advanced copy I read will be edited for consistency.

Now just because Allie is a blond/blonde doesn't mean she's stupid. My mother and sister are both natural blonds; they are also extremely intelligent Ivy League graduates. And I have a great deal of blond in my hair - some of it's even natural. So Allie isn't dumb because she's a blond/blonde; she's dumb because she does dumb stuff.

Okay, here's why Allie gets my nomination for the Too Stupid To Live heroine of the year:

1. Although the police tell her there is no reason to suspect foul play, Allie takes it upon herself to play Nancy Drew and steals an insurance file - this is a crime, folks.

2. Allie decides to check out what she thinks is a drug-dealing vessel without telling anyone where she's going.

3. Planning to escape while the boat is docked, Allie starts a fire in the middle of the bed she's tied to hoping that someone will notice. Odds are, if Jake hadn't seen the smoke, she would have burned to death or died of smoke inhalation by the time anyone in the port would have noticed and called for help.

4. Even though she knows the crew wants to rape and/or kill her, Allie decides to go up on deck without telling Jake because she wants some air. Naturally, she's attacked.

5. When Jake wants to take her to safety she insists on putting herself right back into danger. Even though it should have been obvious that the bad guys would have discovered her identity by now.

6. Minutes after surviving a horrific plane crash, Allie insists that Jake trust her with the truth. Her first question after being kidnapped, beaten and having her life threatened? She wants to know if Jake is married.

Of course, these are all excellent reasons for Allie being nominated for the coveted TSTL award, but the prizewinner, the reason why I'm certain she's going to get the award, is because at one point in the story she actually berates Jake for NOT raping her. Allie is insulted; she feels certain that if her sexy roommate, Chrissy, had been his captive, Jake would have at least made an attempt at rape.

I realize the year isn't even half over, but I really think Allie deserves to win the Too Stupid To Live heroine of the year award. What??? You say there is no prize for this? Too bad, besides a few good jungle-sex scenes, Hot Rain doesn't have much more to offer its readers.

--Judith Flavell

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