[554]: The Hotter You Burn by Gena Showalter

21845099 The Hotter You Burn (The Original Heartbreakers, #2)
HQN | July 28th, 2015
Adult Fiction | Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Beck O’ckley is ruthless in the boardroom…and the bedroom. He’s never been with the same woman twice, and vows he never will. With a past as twisted as his, meaningless sex keeps the demons at bay. His motto: One and done. No harm, no foul.

Harlow Glass is the most hated girl in town. The beautiful artist is penniless, jobless and homeless. When she sneaks into Beck’s home—her ancestral estate—for food, she’s shocked by his early return…and her immediate, sizzling and intense attraction to him.

For the first time in Beck’s life, he can’t get a woman out of his mind. All too soon, friendship blooms into obsession and he’ll have to break her heart…or surrender his own.

As you can tell, I’ve been on a romance kick lately. I tend to read these books quickly, because they’re not really the type of books where you need to pull a muscle so you can enjoy them. And if you’re lucky enough to find the right ones, some books has the uncanny ability to poke you right in the sternum. Suffice it to say, this book really got to me.

This is the story of Beck, the unapologetic playa of the Original Heartbreakers. His mantra has always been give them what they want, but be honest about what you can give. Commitment is the one thing he’s unable to give. But if there’s anything he’s committed to, is solving the puzzle that is,  Harlow Glass. She doesn’t know this though. They  haven’t even met. Beck found a box of pictures belonging to the former owner of the Glass House. As soon as he saw the echoing longing, pain and loneliness in her eyes, he couldn’t stop obsessing about her.

Harlow Glass is as poor as a mouse. The fall from grace was not well, graceful.  She’s homeless, jobless and the town of Strawberry Valley would rather see her die than help her –  or employ her, even.  The once owner of the Glass mansion is as destitute as they come. She lives in a tent in the woods living off the land, as it were. When she breaks into her former house to steal food, Beck caught her and decided that it was his chance to keep an eye on her. So he employed her to do the artistic work for the gaming company he’s a partner of.  Their interaction is hilarious; complete with sassy banters and awkward one-sided flirtation (Beck).

I think the toughest thing to read about this book was Harlow’s abject poverty. The townspeople laughed and ridicule her with every misfortunes that befall her. She was a former bully who has had a rough life, and while she’s learned from her mistakes, the people of SV weren’t so quick to forgive her. It hit me time and again how she was so willing to accept her ‘punishments’, and that she’s quick to tell herself that she deserves every bit of bad luck that comes her way. As much as I dislike books that feature damsels being saved by knights, I was glad when Beck stepped into the picture to give her a job, a home and some semblance of stability. I mean, Harlow was a pretty strong woman determined to live her life according to her rules, but it’s pretty tough when the girl can’t catch a break.

Beck is far from the white knight hero, though. Events from his past made him wary of love, feelings and commitments. He fears taking a chance at being happy with another person and considers love a crutch he’d rather not depend on. I still like him as a hero, though. He’s a loyal friend, he’s kind to all his ‘lady loves’, and generous at that.

These books offer more than your typical romance novels. I like that Gena is able to dig deeper and give us a bit more than the usual fares. This is a fantastic series if you’re looking for a mental break.


  • Jazmen

    This sounds like a story I can relate to. Great review. I wanna look into these books!

  • I NEED a good romance, at this point in the year, and I’ve heard glowing things about Gena Showalter! I haven’t really read any of her books (although I do have The Closer You Come) but I’m intending to remedy that soon. I always feel like stories about bullies need to be told to (people are people, after all) and I think this bit bully bit, plus Beck being a non-hero would really help my slump. Great review, hun, thanks so much 🙂 XD

    • There are always two sides to the story right? And Harlow did have a legitimate reason for being a bully back in the day. I’m not going to give her a pass, because there’s no excuse for being mean whatsoever, but Harlow certainly paid for her unkindness when she grew up.

  • Sounds really good! And Gena Showalter- I may try this-do you have to read book one first?

    • Not really. It’s your typical romance series. You can read it out of order and you can read the books as stand alones.

  • RIGHT THOUGH? Sometimes when I feel too overwhelmed, I find meself a good romance (whether it be HR, PNR or just plain ole romance) to unwind and get back on track.

    I don’t usually like Damsels In Distress either but I am intrigued by the sound of this. Harlow’s situation sounds so heartbreaking and hard to read but it sounds like Showalter did a really good job 🙂

    I am glad you liked the book, Joy! 😀

    • Beck and Harlow was a fun pairing. All the more reason why their story is the perfect cure if you’re in need of a break. They take pleasure reading to new heights. 🙂

  • I don’t mind a love ’em and leave ’em love interest as long as he’s not stringing these women along. Harlow’s story reminds me of Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines, Blaire’s story broke my heart in that too. I love an out of the box romance. Bloody hell Joy, you’re costing me a fortune with your reviews! <3

    • Hahah! Must resist, Kelly. Must resist. <3

  • Haha! Know, you don’t have to pull a muscle to get into the romance books! I agree!
    I love the sound of Beck… Nice to his ‘Lady Loves’ you say… hehehe!

    Naomi @ Naomi’s Reading Palace

    • Beck is a sweetheart despite his love em and leave em attitude. 🙂

  • I’ve been on a romance kick, too (well, I’m always on a romance kick. Right now’s just a bit excessive)! I’ll check this one out. It sounds like a guilty pleasure!

    • Romance novels are just so much fun to read. I don’t have to think too hard, or invest pieces of my soul to enjoy them.

  • Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    I love being on a romance kick with genuinely good romance novels coming my way and I’m so glad to see what Showalter is really working for you, Joy! I definitely need to give her brand of romance a try so I might be giving this a shot as my first novel of hers. Thanks for such an honest and helpful review, Joy–romance reviews of unique novels in the genre are my favorites!

    • I especially like the draw of the small town feel. I always find that they add a certain endearment to the story. If you like Laura Florand, Showalter can probably go toe-to-toe with her. Lol.

  • kindlemom1

    I have been meaning to try this author for forever now, maybe this would be a good place to start?
    Wonderful review!!

    • Absolutely! I hope you’ll enjoy them, Ali!

  • Mmmm that cover though. 😉 I’m in love with it! I’m not a huge fan of damsels in distress either. But I think it kind of works out for this book maybe because of the fact that she was so ridiculed in the beginning. It’s good she finally saw the light and changed the error of her ways. 😉

    • Definitely. Sometimes, a girl needs a leg up no matter how strong a character she is, yanno? That’s why I appreciated Beck even more.

  • These two characters sound like they have lots of chemistry brewing between them, not a perfect white knight and former bully! I’m so glad you’re enjoying these romances by Showalter. Thanks for the lovely review, Joy 🙂

    • They have chemistry in spades! And you can totally see the changes in Harlow. You’ll feel for her and would probably hate the world for being mean to her.

  • Jenny @ Supernatural Snark

    YES TO THIS BOOK JOY!!! I love Gena Showalter something fierce, and this book sounds particularly awesome. I hurt for Harlow already, and bullying past or not, I know I’m going to want to throttle these townspeople for not lifting a finger to help someone who so desperately needs it. Not sure how their cruelty now is any different from hers those years ago. Grrrrr. Definitely adding this to the list!

    • Oh I hope you’ll enjoy these books, Jenny! I don’t know where I’ve first seen reviews for them, but I’m so glad I did. I cannot wait to read the instalment, which unfortunately, does not come out until November. Boo.

  • You are so so awesome and lucky to be able to read so many romance books 🙂 You are the best Joy. <3 And yay for liking this one so much 😀 You make it seem awesome. Sigh. One day. And the cover is pretty gorgeous too 🙂 Thank you for sharing about this one sweetie. <3 But yeah.. I don't think I would like the characters much, lol. They seem a tiny bit annoying 🙂

    • Hahahah! One day, yes. One day, you’ll be bitten by these books and you’ll never look back. 🙂

  • I’m so glad you’re enjoying these books, Joy! I like the sound of this one a lot, but those towns people sure sound very cruel. I don’t think I’ve ever read a small-town romance book with “mean” characters. Everyone is always so loving and nosy!
    I’m glad that Harlow had Beck’s help. Poor girl! I already feel for her even though she was a former bully.
    Great review, Joy!

    • They are cruel, but I think their hatred is justifiable. Still, your heart will go out to Harlow.

  • Oh sounds Hott! 🙂 Brilliant review Joy.

  • Pull a muscle to enjoy, lol!
    But I do enjoy them just for that

  • Not pull a muscle, lol. But true! I do enjoy them for that, and I have no idea how cursive started…