Hot by Elizabeth Hoyt, Julia Harper
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: January 1st 2008
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For four years, play-by-the-rules bank teller Turner Hastings has brooded over her uncle's wrongful imprisonment. But when two bumbling crooks stumble into her branch (barely disguised in Yoda and Sponge Bob masks) and hold up the place, she sees a chance to do something she's never thought possible: get revenge. She takes advantage of the melee to pull a heist of her own, seizing info from a security box that will exonerate her uncle.
Sent to investigate a bank robbery in small town Wisconsin, Special Agent John MacKinnon discovers the robbers were two not-quite-so-bright thugs and one woman. Now, Turner is on the run. With SA MacKinnon on her trail, she's breaking into the bank president Calvin's house, kidnapping his Great Dane, and for the first time in her life, setting out to break a few rules. But when Calvin hires a hit-man, MacKinnon will have to decide between his career--and saving Turner.
Several months ago, I read The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt. I absolutely adored it. I know several other bloggers who felt the same way. I’ve been meaning to pick up more of her novels, but haven’t done so yet. No particular reason, I just haven’t.
Anyway, I read this book, Hot, over the weekend thought it was wonderful. A light, sexy romp that proved to be better than I originally expected. Then, much to my surprise, I realized this is Elizabeth Hoyt’s first contemporary novel, written under the pen name Julia Harper. I have to say, now that I know and look back, I can see some similarities in the writing style. I also have to say, no matter what name she’s writing under, or in what genre, EH/JH is a truly talented author.
Turner Hastings has been biding her time for four years, waiting for the right opportunity to prove her boss, and the president of the local bank, set her uncle up on false embezzling charges. When two guys dressed as Yoda and Spongebob Squarepants rob the bank on a Saturday, Turner seizes the moment to steel the contents of the president’s safe deposit box. She’s pretty cheeky about it, too, making sure to smile big for the camera as she does it.
John MacKinnon is the Special Agent assigned to look into the bank robbery, and right from the beginning he’s attracted to Turner. There’s just something about her buttoned up look that makes him want to see what’s underneath. But as the case progresses, Mac starts to wonder what major pieces of the puzzle he’s missing, because though it seems like Turner is behind the robbery, the evidence is leading away from her. When a hitman starts taking potshots at Turner, Mac knows he has to get to the bottom of things quick. But as time goes on, he starts wondering who’s in more trouble: Turner for stealing or him..for losing his heart.
This was a wonderful comedy, full of fresh characters and laugh out loud moments. John was a great hero who really complimented Turner. Though he knows it crosses a line, he can’t help but call Turner every day and get sucked into conversations with her. I think the unconventional way they got to know each other (with Turner on the lam and John chasing her whilst talking on the phone) made for an interesting twist.
Turner was a good heroine, too, though she had some emotional issues. I’m not really clear on how she came to be so emotionally stunted. It was hinted at that she’d been abandoned by all the men in her life, but we didn’t really see examples of that, so I was left a bit confused on exactly why she was so wary about having emotions.
Still, she was witty and sarcastic, and I love that in a heroine.
The secondary characters were interesting for the most part, but I felt the story of why the bank president was embezzling wasn’t well fleshed out. His reasons for doing what he did still aren’t clear to me. I understand he needed money, but I have no idea why.
Although, the two bank robbers, Nald and Fish (Spongebob and Yoda, respectively), were hilarious to read about. I haven’t laughed that hard in ages.
One bad spot for me: The local cops were basically characterized as your stereotypical idiot small town cops. For those of you who read my personal blog, you know I’m slightly (ehem) biased when it comes to the way cops are portrayed, and this one really got on my nerves.
Oh, and I did have to suspend disbelief to buy that John was so lax in his duties as an agent. He didn’t really pursue Turner as much as he just chased her. Though I understand that had to be the case for the story to work, I did snort over it a time or two.
Regardless of those issues, however, I’d still recommend it. A light, fun read that gave me a couple hours of escapism.
4.0 out of 5