HOT NIGHTS by Shannon McKenna
Here's the set up and blurb from the back cover of the book:
Gold. The most precious of metals. And someone would kill to get at the dazzling exhibit of priceless Spanish treasure Abby Maitland just landed for the museum. Too bad Zan Duncan had to show up to protect her, but someone’s waiting—and watching. She’s in the crosshairs and she doesn’t have a clue.
Abby is mesmerized by Zan’s untamed strength and his very sexual vibe. From the long dark hair, the thick, hard muscles, and the black leather jacket right on down to the honed fighting skills and the tattoos, Zan is everything a bad boy oughta be . . . and everything Abby has sworn to avoid. Yet he’s a master of subtle seduction, pushing her buttons with tantalizing promises of night after hot night of secret, endless pleasure. Promises that he keeps, to the letter . . .
But danger stalks them both, for a lethal game of deception, greed and murder is underway—a game more sinister than Abby and Zan ever imagined. And when no one can be trusted and no place is safe, passion may be the only thing that can save them . . .
Okay, I'm going to say it and just get it out of the way, I know that I shouldn't like Zan Duncan in HOT NIGHT by Shannon McKenna. In moments of intimacy he becomes, to quote Abby in the book, "Dominator Guy". No, not in a BDSM way, but in a very sexually aggressive way he is sort of dominate...no he IS dominant. But Abby likes it...ALOT. Turns out I did too.
In many ways Zan is just not politically correct. He screws up in his relationship with Abby over and over again and offers a lame "I'm sorry" just one too many times. Which to Abby's credit she calls him on and sends him packing. He deserves it too, even understands that he's screwed things up and probably deserves to be sent out of her life.
The thing is I really liked this story. The sexual tension between Abby and Zan is so thick I, for one, could hardly breathe a couple of times. From a real life perspective if a girlfriend told me about a guy like this I would probably tell her to run for her life. A wild card sort of guy rarely works out in real life. For all the "bad boys" friends and family have linked up with I can recall only one time it's worked out.
Fortunately, this is Romancelandia and for me, in this book, it just worked. I totally bought that Zan was a different type of lone wolf/bad boy. Yes, he makes mistakes, is obsessed with Abby and acts out inappropriately, but we are sympathetic to it because we know who the real bad guy is.
This is another story where I was intrigued by the characters' past and how it influenced who they are when we meet them. I was glad that Zan wasn't independently wealthy, or a CEO, but a working stiff ... a lock smith and computer consultant. I also really liked Abby defending her territory whether it was her apartment or her job. Even though we, and Zan, know she is vulnerable to him and his wily seductive ways.
In short I loved this book and couldn't put it down. That just hasn't been happening much lately. I was glad it was my off night from yoga, because once I started reading I didn't want to stop.
In general I'm a Shannon McKenna fan and I think she is getting better at bringing more character elements into her books. These elements are things that as readers we often think about but many authors rarely address. For instance, Abby's demand that Zan respect her, trust her and give a crap about her "professional dignity". We don't very often see a character worry about the fallout in her real life when she takes a leap or choice that to any right minded person seems a little nuts.
This is a Brava release, so it has very hot and erotic love scenes. I was in just the right mood and it was a captivating read...