Tess Elliot and Mike Grundel are both movie reviewers with aspirations of being hard news reporters. Mike is a demoted hard news reporter with a huge chip on his shoulder, and Tess is a high society debutante trying to prove that her father didnít buy her job. My image of Mike is that of a man who grew from a boy from the wrong side of the tracks and that he does his best to keep his bad boy image going, while deep inside heís a man who has a lot to offer the right woman. My image of Tess is one that in despite of having grown up with the proverbial silver spoon she wants to prove herself as an adult in her own way. Tess works for the Pasqualie Standard which is considered to be more elitist than the rival Pasqualie Star which is Mikeís paper. This fits in with what my image of the two is.
Due to circumstances beyond Tessí control she finds herself being rescued not by a knight on a white horse, but by Mike on a motorcycle. As has been ingrained in her she invites him to her apartment for coffee. While at the apartment this first time they find that the sexual tension theyíve been feeling across the movie aisle from one another is pretty fiery. They also find that they canít help but compete with each other for the better story. The bet they come up with is to see who can get a front page story published first. The winner cooks the crow and the loser has to eat it.
It doesnít take long for them to find out that theyíre not only nosing after the same story, but after each other as well. Itís not long before the sparks that have been flying become a full fledge fire that can not be put out with a one night stand as Mike had hoped. Not for the story or for their need of one another.
The sexual tension in this book is great from page one. It never lessens in intensity only changes as the relationship between Mike and Tess grows and changes. I was glad to see that the characters didnít fall into bed with each other at the first opportunity, but took some time to realize they had no choice but to be with each other.
I truly enjoyed HOT OFF THE PRESS by Nancy Warren and look forward to reading both future releases by her, and tracking down her backlist.
Sandi Shilhanek, February 2003