Reese Gabriel is one of the more responsible D/s authors who manages to come up with an unapologetic Dom who does everything but rape his heroine, while managing to read her mind at every turn as well as give her a safe word. (If only real partners were so insightful.) When you have characters as caught up in chemistry as hers, it is inevitable that they read each others’ signs on some level not available to people not in the loop. However, in this particular story, Scorching Sammie, most of the folks in town seem to be in the loop.
It all begins because Octave Development Corporation is out to open up a resort in a small Florida community, sending up and coming Sammie/Samantha/Red to work on the project in the distant Everglades, far from her NYC stomping ground. The highlight of her arrival in the boonies is not old-timer Toby running off with her designer luggage, being misrouted to the town's abandoned airstrip or being met by "Skeeter." It's the instant animosity/attraction to Sheriff Bill Donovan, whose abrasive attractiveness--not to mention shiny silver handcuffs--sends her mind into a realm of fantasy overload not recommended for people whose real intent is to make business deals. Instead of handling him as a normal entity, she relates to him as the long lost Dom she never had, and in their interactions sounds more like a vexing adolescent than a businesswoman.
But the tension does not actually kick into gear until she finds a snake in her hotel bathroom, and turns to calling 911 for help. The white knight they send is, of course, the toothsome and Dominant Sheriff Donovan who shows up to wrangle the snake, while she's still shaking with snake-terror, wearing nothing but water and a soggy hotel comforter.
The tension between Bill and Red is not the only conflict. Bill wants to keep the town the way it is--and protect the environment. The town needs an infusion of cash to keep it going and Octave Development Corporation wants to play a little game of engulf and devour. It all comes to a head with the arrival of Kyle Lenning, as smarmy a character as you would ever like to see run out of town on a rail.
Reese Gabriel is busy at her loom again, weaving a cat-dog tapestry. If there's a criticism, it is that the chemistry in Gabriel's stories is always accelerated and this one is no exception; typical Gabriel fare, in fact, with the characters spending a large proportion of the story engaged in horizontal activities, without missing a beat of repartee. The writing here is strong enough to support a real story, but in lieu of that, there is still a lot of chemistry. If bossy aggressive Doms with hearts of gold--and who can't take no for an answer--turn your page, then Scorching Sammie is positively screaming to sit on your shelf. Just don't expect it to sit quietly.
Reviewed by Maîtresse
© Nov 2008