Review – Hot in Handcuffs Anthology

Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: Out Now
How I got this book: review copy from publisher

Three Novellas of Erotic Capture

Allow yourself to imagine the man behind the dark sunglasses. Hear the purr of his zipper as he lowers it, then reaches for the shiny metal hanging from his black leather belt. It’s futile to resist arrest. Give yourself up to the fantasy. Besides, he thinks you’re so hot in handcuffs…

Arresting Desire by Shayla Black
FBI Agent Jon Bocelli never stopped wanting beautiful professor Lucia DiStefano. She’s interested in taking her first lover, and he intends to be that man. When her past puts her life in danger, Jon risks everything to save her and prove this fling is forever.

On Fire by Sylvia Day
When Deputy Marshal Jared Cameron investigates a series of arson attacks in a seaside town, the biggest blast of heat comes from sexy fire inspector Darcy Michaels—until their scorching after-hours affair is compromised by a secret from Darcy’s past.

The Unwilling by Shiloh Walker
Mica Greer and her former lover, ex-FBI agent Colby Mathis once shared an intimate past and a powerful psychic gift. Now, they’ve been reunited by a bizarre series of murders—and an electrifying passion that could put them both in jeopardy.
*Blurb from Goodreads*

I love reading anthologies. I’m a big fan of finding new-to-me authors who I may have never read before, and while I’ve enjoyed stories by Black, Day and Walker before, I’m also a sucker for a hot guy with handcuffs. So when this book showed up on my doorstep, I snatched it up and tucked it away for a rainy day.

Arresting Desire 
Jon was an undercover FBI agent for a mob family, and now that he is done with the case, he will do anything and everything to prove his brother’s innocence in a judge killing case. The only thing he wasn’t prepared for was having to take Lucia with him on the case. He’s long desired Lucia, but was always afraid to act on those desires. With his undercover work being done and over, he is now ready for more.

I have to say, I think this was my least favorite of all the stories. While I like Black’s writing and the story was engaging, there was also a little something missing with the romance. While I believed in the lust and desire between Jon and Lucia, the BDSM aspects of the relationship were pretty tame, and then at the end Jon wanted to collar Lucia, which seemed to be a little extreme for the relationship to date. While I could see them as a couple who might experiment more with the harder BDSM aspects down the line in their relationship, I had a hard time buying the collaring with the lack of intensity in the relationship shown on the book pages.

I did really like the mystery-case aspect of this short story though. I liked watching Lucia’s mind work through the clues her father left her, and get to see her and Jon find out the truth about so many different loose threads in their lives.
I give Arresting Desire a C+

On Fire
This was my absolute favorite story in the anthology, Day is such a talented writer. Jared is called into a small town to look into a series of arsons that seem to be taking on the characteristic of a serial arsonist case. When Jared meets Darcy, local fire inspector, he has two fire problems to deal with: the one in town, and the one in his pants. The two immediately hit it off and the sexual attraction rages strong. They easily fall into a relationship, all why trying to figure out who is starting the town fires, and why they all seem to link back to Darcy.

I wanted to cry when this book was over… not because it was bad, or felt as if I wasted my time. No, I wanted to cry a) because it was over and b) because it wasn’t a full length novel that I could spend hours getting lost in. I loved the relationship between Darcy and Jared. While they started purely sexual, it was obvious that the emotions and feelings came quickly for these two, and I adored that aspect of their relationship as well. They were so wonderful and great together, and I just didn’t want their story to end.

The mystery surrounding the fire and all that drama was also so incredibly well done. Day constantly kept me guessing, and I was never quite too sure who was behind it all. I was floored by the end of the book, and never would have guessed who was behind it all. An exceptional story with a romance that had me wishing – desperately – for more.
I give On Fire an A

The Unwilling
I really enjoy the FBI Psychics series by Walker, and was pleasantly surprised to find this novella in the anthology. I’m not sure what I was expecting but it was a treat to read about Colby and Mica. Mica is working as a cop and on the case of a murderer she can’t nail down. When her captain tells her to bring in Psychic help, she finds herself turning to Colby, her once love and partner at the FBI. Colby has missed Mica, and although he fears using his psychic powers, will do anything he can to help her. But when the clues point towards a cop, will Mica trust in Colby’s power.

I really liked the main storyline with the murderer and the ongoing case that Walker created for this story. I think she does an incredible job writing believable and thrilling and somewhat creepy romantic suspense stories that pull the reader in. This was no different. I especially enjoyed watching Colby and Mica come to grips with their psychic powers while working together to solve the case.

The romance was a bit frustrating for me, only because I could see how perfect these two were together, and they kept fighting it at every turn. I wanted them to have an easier time to their HEA, and while I got their hesitancies, I also wanted things to go smoothly for them. But, in the end, I was glad things worked out the way they did, and that these two were able to come to common ground, admit their feelings, and move on.
I give The Unwilling a B

All in all this was a wonderful anthology, and definitely worth the purchase. The sexy times are hot from start to finish, the mystery aspect of each story was incredibly well done. Fans of romantic suspense will enjoy the steamy bits, and the smutty fans will enjoy the mystery woven in. An all around wonderful anthology.
I give Hot in Handcuffs a B+

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