WICKED BURN by Beth Kery is a contemporary erotic romance that has a terrific plot that will tug at your heart strings. The two main characters are well drawn, three dimensional and layered with subtext. It seamlessly blends romance, steamy erotic interludes and character development with a good story line. Bravo Ms. Kery for creating a world I wanted to spend time in.
WICKED BURN takes place in Chicago and involves a playwright and a museum curator. Both the hero, Vic, and the heroine, Niall, have instant chemistry upon meeting each other. While both Vic and Niall have their own reasons for acting on this instant attraction, what develops is a love story fraught with heartbreak and misunderstanding. I'm not a big fan of the ‘misunderstanding’ between the hero and heroine. It often makes me want to throw the book across the room. But in this instance Ms. Kery has given us a solid foundation for why the misunderstanding occurs and how it lends itself to further develop both the characters and the story line. No easy feat, but the author pulls it off.
Vic is a talented and well known playwright living in Chicago mounting a production of his new play. He also happens to live across the hall from Niall. Their first encounter is sudden, electric and steamy. Ms. Kery knows how to write a good erotic scene. Her hero is all alpha male; his dominance in and out of the bedroom as well as his somewhat brooding personality is off set, or better yet, tempered by the fact that he is a playwright who is intuitive about human nature and emotions. Niall, a museum curator, is a woman who has a truly tragic past. The worst thing imaginable happens to her and her family. And yet three years later she is trying to get on with her life and find a new way to live. She's beautiful, talented and intelligent - and she's no victim. And while her parents would love nothing better then to continue to exert their control on her life, she continues to set into motion her plans to start fresh and to try to be happy again. I liked Niall immediately. Her struggles and her pain are very real, and yet she is determined to make her life not about the tragedy of her past but about the possibility for the future.
Both Niall and Vic are recovering from experiences that have left emotional scars. Niall more so than Vic understands what it is like to loose the most precious thing in one's life. While these two begin to explore a relationship that begins to grow into a deep emotional attachment, Niall still finds it difficult to share with Vic the most important things about her life. The biggest problem in their relationship becomes their inability to communicate. Although Vic is a writer, he's not much for saying what's on his mind. And Niall is a woman who can't bring herself to tell Vic about her past. Her fear of being judged by him holds her back. This leaves them open and vulnerable to misunderstandings. What is important here is that they are falling in love with each other and communication is paramount if they are going to further their relationship. Watching these two try and find their way to each other is the journey this book takes us on. From the bright lights of the Chicago sky line to a farm in downstate Illinois, these two travel distances both in miles and emotional turmoil to find each other.
WICKED BURN, is an erotic romance with equal emphasis on both the erotic and the romance. It has emotional twists and turns with characters that are layered and rich. This is the first book I've read by Beth Kery, but it certainly won't be my last.
Marisa is Vice President of Programming at Romance Novel TV