Saturday, October 12, 2013

Torrid Nights - Beth Brookes/Lindsay McKenna (Jove - Mar 1984)

Mackenna Scott has built roads and bridges throughout wild, lush Indonesia, proving unquestionably her ability as an engineer. But when her new project lags, her boss, Brock Hampton, dares to challenge her as a professional--and as a woman.

They clash inevitably and repeatedly. Yet Brock's raw power inflames Mackenna's senses. His work-roughened hands sear her flesh. As they forge a tempestuous union in teeming Asian jungles and, later, on dazzling Australian beaches, Mackenna strives to tame this tiger of a man. Then, abruptly, Brock vanishes from her life, leaving her angry and bereft. Is his departure the betrayal it seems ... or a final proof of his love?

I really liked this book.   One of my favorite things about Lindsay McKenna's books is the way that the women usually have unusual jobs.  In this book the heroine is a construction engineer in Java Indonesia, a job that very few women do.  She and her crew run into problems just as the company they work for is sold to someone else.  When Brock, the new owner, shows up sparks fly right away.  He doesn't trust women at all and has no experience with a woman in her position.  Mackenna has to convince him that she can do the job while fighting the attraction she feels for him.  I loved the intensity that showed in their relationship from the beginning.

I loved Mackenna.  She has put everything she has into doing her job and doing it well.  She has had to work hard to earn the respect of her crew and has done so.  The job she is on right now has fallen behind through no fault of her own.  When Brock arrives his attitude makes Mackenna angry, with his opinion that women can't do the job and are only good for bedwarmers.  I loved the way that she stands up to him with logic and facts.  She also feels an attraction to him that she hasn't felt for anyone since the death of her husband a year earlier.  She has buried her grief in work and the reawakening of her emotions is painful.  Just as she and Brock are beginning to work together she comes down with malaria.  The resulting delirium burns away the rest of her grief and depression and she come out the other side with a new outlook on her life.  I also enjoyed the way that she can see past Brock's walls and begins to change his attitudes.  Things are looking up for the two of them when Brock is called away.  The longer he is gone with no contact the more Mackenna feels the loss of something that could have been wonderful.  It takes a near tragedy to bring them back together and open them both up to a future together.

Brock has changed from the man he used to be.  Thanks to marriage to a woman who was only interested in his name and his money and her actions during their divorce, Brock has become an angry and bitter man.  He is not happy to find a woman in charge of this project and is pretty obnoxious in his attitude toward her.  He now looks at all women as if they are like his ex-wife.  He is surprised by Mackenna's refusal to back down from his attacks.  He is also disturbed by her ability to see his pain and his reactions to her.  The more time he spends with her the more he feels her breaking down his walls.  Giving in to their passion is something he never planned. When he is called away to deal with a crisis it gives him the chance to try to rebuild his walls.  But the longer he is away the more he realizes he needs Mackenna in his life.  His return to Java is nearly too late and he has to convince her that he's worth taking a risk on.  I loved the way that by the end he had come to fully accept and appreciate her abilities on the job.

I loved the setting of this book.  The descriptions of the jungle are so good that I could feel the humidity and hear the sounds as I read.  I also loved seeing the way that Mackenna's work is described and the rapport she has with the men who work for her.  I loved the care shown her by Sully and the respect she has earned from the rest of her crew.

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