Heat Wave by Elyse Springer is book three in the Seasons of Love series, and just like the summer it happens over, it’s a scorcher. Sara Walker is stuck in a rut. She likes her job but doesn’t exactly love it, her friends don’t have time to hang out with her, and a couple of months ago her boyfriend left her for another woman. She doesn’t blame the woman though; he was a jerk. So on a lonely Friday night, when that woman calls her up, newly single herself (I told you, the guy was a jerk) and asks her to go have a drink with her, Sara says what the heck. Laura is openly bisexual, and while she knows Sara is straight, she doesn’t hide the fact that she’s checking her out. It makes Sara feel… strange. But Laura respects boundaries, and they have a great time together. So they see each other again. Laura continues her appreciative glances and mild flirtations, but Sara starts wondering why they make her feel so good. Until one night, she takes the plunge and ends up in Laura’s bed. Waking up with no regrets but a lot of confusion, Sara has to figure out what this means for her own sense of self. Meanwhile Laura explicitly tells Sara that while she’s done with men for now, this is just a casual rebound thing, while the straight Sara is experimenting. The problems occur when both women seem to forget the casual nature of their relationship and start feeling more than they think the other one wants. They both have to decide where they’re going, and soon, because Laura is considering moving from New York to California, and she’s set the end of the summer as the time to move.
Sara Walker has a good job as the manager of a diner. She figures that’s pretty good for someone who never went to college. She’s taken a break from dating after the disastrous end of her last relationship, but with her friends tied up with new relationships, she’s feeling lonely. Laura turns out to be fun and sexy and she has a really good time going out with her. When things get confusing, Sarah tries to figure out how she could feel things that she’s never really felt before. But then, Laura makes her look at a lot of things in different ways. This new self-examination takes Sara to college for business classes she never thought she’d take, and she finds a new passion there as well. She’s trying to respect Laura’s wishes to keep things casual but Laura makes her feel more than she ever thought possible.
Laura Murphy works as a makeup artist for a local theater. She’s worked in Los Angeles before in film and television, but it isn’t really her scene. Her dream is to open her own salon, perhaps with her counterpart at the theater, Noelle, who does hair. She isn’t really looking for a relationship, and what happens with Sara catches her off guard. She doesn’t want Sara to freak out, so she makes sure that Sara feels no pressure by emphasizing the casual nature of what they’re doing. The problem is that soon enough it isn’t casual anymore. When things get to the point where she feels like she has too much invested in a straight girl who’s just experimenting, she decides the only thing she can do is leave, so she decides to head back to LA.
The Writing Style
Although this book is written in third person, it’s only from Sara’s point of view. This limits what we can get of Laura’s thoughts, but Springer does a really good job of dropping hints through dialogue and action that Laura starts feeling more than she thinks she should. At the same time, Sara is so stuck on the fact that Laura says she wants casual that she misses all the clues that the reader picks up. Their relationship happens really organically and sweetly, with a bit of spice thrown in, but all of it just makes us root for the two to wake up and see what they’ve got before they throw it away. Pages definitely turned quickly.
I really liked these two characters. Laura was able to get involved with a self-professed straight girl without it feeling like she was predatory or pressuring her. And Sara was a delight to read, as we were there not only for her initial confusion but also her resulting acceptance and the deepening of her emotions. The story was really sweet, but with the added bonus of some hot sex scenes thrown in.
The whole conflict in this story is one of those where if they’d both stopped and really talked about their feelings, a lot of the bad stuff could have been avoided. By the time Sara has the courage to really tell Laura how she feels and what she wants, it’s too late – Laura can’t stop the plans she’s already put in motion. It’s the sort of conflict that makes me want to smack both people upside the head and tell them to use their big girl words already. But I have to admit that it does make the final resolution that much better, so I’m going to say it didn’t bother me as much in this book.
This was an excellent story, and I enjoyed it very much. It’s not just a coming out story, it’s a oh-my-god-I-didn’t-even-know-this-was-a-possibility story. Which makes Sara’s confusion and uncertainty very believable. It makes me want very much to read the other books in the series. I will caution people though – Whiteout, which is book one in the series, is a male/male story, and so is book four, Changing Colors, so if those aren’t your thing, give that one a pass. Thaw, book two, is female/female, and one of the character’s is asexual, so that has its own concerns and attractions. But for me, I liked her writing enough to give the whole series a chance.
Excerpt from Heat Wave by Elyse Springer
“Close your eyes, and don’t open them until I say.”
Sara let Laura guide her down the hall, her body tense in the unfamiliar, unseen environment. But Laura kept one hand on the small of Sara’s back, the other on her shoulder, directing her carefully.
Neither of them spoke, but Sara could feel Laura’s breath on her cheek, knew she was close, and was able to relax into the darkness behind her eyelids.
“Stay here.” Laura’s hands vanished, replaced by the creak of drawers opening and closing, fabric swishing. Sara tried to guess what she was doing. There was a snap like the button on a pair of pants being undone; two thuds like shoes being kicked out of the way. Then another sound, whispering like silk.
“I’d like to blindfold you.”
Sara waited, but Laura didn’t move. She was waiting for a response. “Why?”
Laura’s hand on her shoulder made Sara jump, but the touch was soothing. “Because I want to help quiet that brain of yours for a little while. Taking away one sense is going to amplify all of the others, and hopefully stop you from thinking so hard about whatever’s upsetting you.”
“Okay.” Sara exhaled. “Yeah, that sounds good. Make me not think.”
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781626495166
- Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Elyse Springer Online
Note: I received a free review copy of Heat Wave by Elyse Springer. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.