on July 19, 2004
To call this a romance is definitely stretching it, since there really is no courting involved. In fact, the way they meet Seth, the hero of the book, is sort of a pervy stalker/peeper, which is kinda creepy. But wow! are the sex scenes really steamy!
The book is really pretty much built around the multiple sex interludes. And there are a lot, as Seth and Raine do it like rabbits. There's a ridiculous intrigue plot with guns and big bad guys sorta tossed in, but that part is really just stupid. The meat of the book, and McKenna's writing forte, is the sex! Not too dirty, but definitely not tame, she really delivers the sizzle! Lots of positions, but no bondage or kink (other than a little role-playing.) And one indication that this is fiction for women? Seth, the hero, loves giving oral sex, but never asks for any himself. Hah!
on March 11, 2004
I discovered Shannon McKenna quite by accident and immediately fell in love. So far she has only two novels, but I would highly recommend both of them. She is an amazing writer. Her writing is not just straight erotica, but actually has a great plot, and great characters. She is an exceptional writer. You will not be disappointed.
Raine Cameron is trying to find out what happened to her father. She knows he was murdered and she is determined to find the killer. She obtains a job as a secretary working for Victor Lazar who is a very powerful man. She believes Victor had her father murdered. Seth Mackey has his own reasons for following Victor. He knows that Victor had his baby brother Jessie killed, and he will do anything to even the score. Seth is also a wire specialist and can plant bugs and cameras in almost any business or home. He can also break into just about any system. Seth bugs Victor's mistress' house, and after Victor's mistress is murdered, a new person moves in. This is Seth's first vision of Raine. Even though Seth believes Raine is working and sleeping with Victor he is attracted to her. Can Seth and Raine learn to trust each other and maybe even learn to love each other while trying to catch a killer? I would highly recommend.
on August 18, 2003
A good combination of thriller and very erotic romance. There's a lot of sex in this book, so if you object to such, then this is not a tale for you. However sex is used here as much to show how the two central characters change in the course of events, from power plays to tenderness, touching on punishment and eventually even forgiveness. In this, as well as the quality of writing, McKenna makes this about more than sex, and brings in something of the human condition, as well as drawing in other themes and subtexts of the novel. Thus, although plentiful, the erotic nature of the book actually adds meaning to the relationship and thus integrates into the story as a whole.
As for the thriller side, there is certainly no 'mystery' here - we know whodunnit and why the various characters are taking the actions that they are. The two central characters are Raine Cameron, who has recently begun working for identified baddie Victor Lazar, and Seth Mackey, whose brother had been killed 10 months prior to the opening of the book. All that drives Seth now is the need for vengeance. He likens himself to a cyborg - focused, emotionless and with a single purpose. To this end he has extensively bugged the house of Lazar's mistress (Lazar being involved in his brothers death), which is now Raine's house. Raine is actually related to Lazar, and blames him (rightly) for the death of her father. She has been on the run from Lazar for 13 years, and considers herself to be a bit of a coward - the shy, retiring, unnoticeable type. Now convinced that she needs to find out more of her fathers death, she has 'infiltrated' Lazars firm, supposedly anonymously - almost a joke as Lazar knows exactly who she is. Seth, for his part, has been watching Raine with fascination, becoming more and more attracted to her. And now the plan moves along, as he seeks to make contact with Lazar, and through him with Lazar's new assistant. Both of them seeking knowledge and retribution, neither sure of who they can trust, both unable to deny the attraction they feel for the other. An attraction watched with interest by many...
It's a very well thought out story, containing many elements. Revenge, hate, manipulation, rage, and the seamer side of life are definitely a part of it, but so too is a great deal of warmth and 'family' feeling. Seth on his side has the memories of his brother, and his developing relationship with the McCloud brothers (who I hope will have their own stories in the future). Raine brings her historical relationship with her parents, and her ongoing complex feelings about Lazar. There are others very central to the book too - Novak and Riggs whose roles become important in the telling of the story. There is no 'mystery', but a great deal of human nature, as characters change and develop as they deal with very real danger and cope with the shifting nature of reality. I particularly liked the triangle of Raine, Seth and Lazar's roles as they played against each other.
Overall I enjoyed the book very much, particularly as a study of human characteristics and relationships, and indeed and how we as individuals affect each other and touch each others lives, for better or worse. I liked very much that this 'erotic thriller' was deeper than a surface story, and that the characters within were constantly evolving not only as they grew and changed within themselves, but also in their dealings each other.
on August 7, 2003
Definitely R-rated (maybe even NC-17!) for adult content, adult language, sex and violence. A darkly intense story that started out a bit slow, but then drew me in to the point that many, many things I should have done did not get done because I could not tear myself away from this book!
If you prefer sensitive, sweet obvious heroes don't even bother with this book, 'cause there are none to be found within these pages! Bruised, battered, hard, tough, yet inherently good guys, yes - but no softies here. Seth Mackey and his friends the McCloud brothers (Connor, Sean & Davy) are looking for some serious revenge against the men responsible for the death of their friend Jesse (Seth's brother and Connor's FBI partner). They've set the trap for their two victims and have surveillance equipment everywhere - including the townhouse of Victor Lazar's mistress, which is currently occupied by the luscious Raine Cameron.
Victor Lazar is a wealthy man who is easily bored and so occasionally flirts with the illegal and the darkside. He amuses himself by manipulating others and his latest subject is psycho thug, murderer and sometime co-conspirator Kurt Novak (the man who killed Jesse). His own niece, Raine is not even immune from his machinations when he purposely throws her into the path of the sexy, predatory Seth just to see what she's made of. Little does she know that Seth has become obsessed with her after weeks of watching her via the surveillance video.
He assumes she is Victor's latest mistress (he figures she's a sex toy so he doesn't have to treat her real nice), and she thinks he is a security consultant working for Victor (a partial truth/cover to get into Lazar's offices to plant bugs, etc) and the kind of bad boy she's never had the nerve to go after - until now. When they meet, it's combustible! And while a sexual relationship begins, they're both keeping secrets about who they are and what they're working toward. He's dedicated to bringing Lazar and Novak down to avenge Jesse. She's trying to find evidence that Victor, her own uncle, murdered her father. Of course they're all on a collision course toward disaster when things slip out of Victor's control and into Novak's. Several factors come into play including blackmail, murder attempts, the corruption of Connor's FBI boss and Raine's memories and the ripples her "investigation" into her father's death create. And then there's the romance that develops from the initially rocky sexual relationship between Raine and Seth - two people who've experienced little affection or security in their lives. It was great to see Raine evolve from polite doormat to a woman who could stand up to both the surly, overbearing Seth and the enigmatic and manipulative Victor. And in the process she touches the deeply hidden and wounded heart of Seth who reluctantly begins to trust her just knowing it's probably a mistake. Is he right?
I loved this book, but be warned, the language is rough and so is the sex on occasion. I also loved Seth though many may not, as he is capable of being a real Jerk with a capital J. And Victor's character is not your cookie-cutter bad guy - he's interesting and complicated (though Novak is definitely creepy!). And the McCloud brothers are lots of fun secondary characters that we'll see more of in future books. Sequel STANDING IN THE SHADOWS is Connor's story (also a great read!). Definitely dark, intense and complex with compelling characters - this author is one to watch! Highly recommended!
on February 5, 2003
This book was the perfect mix of mystery and romance - which is usually a hard combination to get right. Many times authors try too hard to make a mystery plot twist and turn, but this one was great - it kepy your interest without being overworked. There was great character development of all characters individually and also good development of relationships and interactions. The romance between Raine and Seth was also well done - sometimes in a mystery the development of feelings is minimized, but not in this case. Lots and lots of hot, sizzling scenes!! OK, so that's an understatement.
Some might think the language in the book is a bit crude, but I find it realistic. How accurate is it when a tough guy says "Gosh darn it, what in the heck are you doing?" Nah-uh, it's not!
It's been a long time since I've considered a book to be 5 stars, especially for a romantic suspense/mysters. So BRAVO to McKenna for her amazing and perfect debut! I am definitely a fan. I wonder if we will see future books about the McCloud boys?? Either way, I can't wait to get more from McKenna.
on January 22, 2003
Seth Mackey has never thought of himself as a voyer--just a security expert who needs revenge for the brother he recently lost. But since Raine Cameron moved into one of target Victor Lazar's homes, Seth has been obsessed. When he's hired to manage security for Lazar, Lazar throws Raine at him as a bonus--a bonus that Seth knows exactly what to do with. The only problem is, he speaks better with his body than with his mouth and knows that he'll get in trouble soon. Especially when she finds out his secrets. Especially when he finds out her secret.
Raine Cameron is haunted by psychic dreams of her father's death--and of her uncle, Victor Lazar's role in it. She's determined to discover the truth and has taken a job with her uncle using an assumed name. What she doesn't know is that she's playing with the big boys now. What she does know is that Seth Mackey turns her on more than any man she's never seen.
Author Shannon McKenna writes a sexy action-thriller of a romance. Raine and Seth burn together--and also share horribly damaged upbringings--a history that will make them eternal enemies--or lovers. Still, they keep too many secrets and Seth, at least, has forgotten how to trust. When Lazar begins to open to Raine, she feels herself torn between loyalties to family and to her man.
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS is filled with sex, but it is also an emotionally satisfying story of two damaged characters who can only find fulfillment in one another, yet whose very damage may prevent them from taking the steps they need. With plenty of action (both sexual and adventure), DOORS is a winner.
on January 3, 2003
Behind Closed Doors is very much a non-typical romance novel! The author dedicates almost as much time to the mystery as she does the development of the leads' relationship. There are highly charged sensual scenes that come close to overshadowing the underlying romance. Yet, if we watch closely, we see both the hero and heroine as highly vulnerable. The book encompasses a great deal of maturing for both leads - especially the hero.
Raine Cameron is looking for her father's killer. She has taken a job with her uncle's company to hopefully find his killer. Seth Mackey is looking for this brother's murderer. He is a surveillance expert and is watching Raine's uncle's company because he believes he will discover the murderer within the company. Thus, we find Seth, on the opening page of the book, spying on Raine and finding himself closed to obsessed with her.
The leads meet early in the book. Seth and Raine are good at keeping secrets from the other. But as their relationship develops they each open gradually and expose the despised vulnerability that lies deep within the other. Seth was a little too mean to warrant Raine's love. Initially, Raine allows herself to be pushed around but gradually we see her becoming more assertive. Nevertheless, there are still times you may roll your eyes and wonder "Why is she allowing this?" The hero certainly takes his time in becoming a nicer person but it is his ruthlessness that carries many of the sensual scenes. These sensual scenes rate about a 4.5 out of 5 (see More About Me for rating guidelines).
If I had a choice, I would rate this book 4.5 stars instead of 5. My reasoning is based entirely on the time dedicated to the growth of Seth and Raine's romantic relationship. Although the murder mystery was somewhat better than you find in most romance novels, it still took too many pages. The couple's relationship had a good base and capacity for growth that is never amply explored.
Overall, certain scenes within the book are too powerful to warrant less than a five star rating. It is certainly one of the spicier books I have read and you definitely have to be a reader that appreciates a type A, dominant male lead. The heroine does knock him off his all-powerful pedestal more than once but he always climbs back up on it. On the whole, this is a fun, entertaining read that I will keep to read again. This author is new and I expect many good books from her in the future. She somehow has developed an intriguing edge in Behind Closed Doors that is difficult to define, but captivating none the less.
on October 30, 2002
"I am not a nice guy and never pretended to be one." Seth Mackey, the surveillance expert tells it straight to his love-interest Raine Cameron. In fact in Shannon McKenna's debut full-length erotic romance novel, the untainted pair are saints compared to the miscreants.
One by which is Raine's uncle Victor Lazar, multimillionaire businessman who harbors a mad passion for collecting murdering weapons from the past. His latest whim takes him to threatening his associate Kurt Novak with a video-clip flashing his heinous murder of a model and his lover and his murder weapon. Novak is also responsible for the death of undercover agent Jesse Cahill, Seth Mackey's brother and thanks to his surveillance expertise, he is able to infiltrate Lazar's corporation as an employed surveillance expert to catch him and Novak red-handed with the help of his allies, the McCloud brothers.
Mistaking Raine as Lazar's mistress, he keeps close tabs on her and the detection edges close to an obsession for voyeurism. Behind Closed Doors he engages in his private fantasy until he meets her in person - and Raine is caught up in a web of sensual passion and animal attraction.
Think the book is sleazy with sex? Absolutely not when Ms. McKenna's passion strips bare her characters' insecurities and vulnerabilites with tragic intimacy. Raine is haunted by dreams the past seventeen years of her father's death; Seth loses the sole kin who offers him love in a cynical environment controlled by his abusive father. It is sensuous erotic passion that shines over the clinical and perverse carnal acts between Lazar and his secretary. Raine and Seth engages in a fierce battle of power-play through sexual connection, offering a refuge for them built with quiet love, isolation and protection.
Ms. McKenna's characters are brutally honest like her overt passionate scenes - and this is what makes them strongly evocative and endearing. It is not a fairy-tale, bed-of-roses romance but a powerful love starkly devastating in its scale through the mistrust, dangerous obsession, voyeurism and frenetic pursuits from Novak's cronies to capture Raine.
There is absorbing and jolting suspense, surveillance research and familial hell in the story. Yet all these is secondary to the tender and poignant love scenes between the oddball couple. Each passionate play is lusciously sexy and steamy - only because of the emotional undercurrents. It is thus advisable to read it behind closed doors - for the erotic scenes sizzle and fog the mirror.
on October 16, 2002
Shannon McKenna's writing style is truly superb! The plot is gripping - the characters come to life. The sex scenes seem so real - the descriptions and verbal play are incredibly erotic and arousing; you almost feel like a voyeur as you read. McKenna really knows what goes on in a man's mind ... knows his purpose and his male perception of the sex act. Seth and Raine exchange dialogue that seems so realistic - not contrived. Seth is one of the most intense alpha-heroes I can think of. He exudes dominance and potency ... and lust. Everything he does is extremely intense and controlling, especially the sex. Oh my ... in that area he's like a primal beast! Red-hot!!! Seth's behavior with Raine is based on impulse and instinct ... she became his woman long before he ever met her in the flesh. I still laugh at the scene in the office kitchenette after he had briefly seen her ... or should I say 'stared at her' for the first time in an elevator ... where he leans into her, this stranger, and sniffs deeply to "memorize her smell." You can really understand how vulnerable Raine feels; Seth exposes all ... strips her barer than bare. He's like a modern day laird or viking ... a conqueror. Seth could fit into medieval times - yet he's perfectly suited for the here and now. But Raine is the perfect counter-balance for this dominating man. Her gentle caring spirit softens his hard edges as he learns to control his power play. And I especially liked that she wasn't an angry woman ... no matter what Seth did that was inappropriate, she spoke to him about it, explained her feelings, and got passed it. None of the "he said, she said" bulls**t dialogue. Awesome book! I can't praise it enough!!!
on September 8, 2002
Since his younger brother's Jesse's death in an FBI job gone wrong, Seth Mackey has reinvented himself. He maintains the careful control of a cyborg until his surveillance cameras expose Raine. She moved into Victor Lazar's opulent house after his last mistress moves out. Seth has no objective reason for maintaining the surveillance since Lazar has never come to see Raine, but he has become addicted to this sensual delight whose social life seems as limited as his own.
Raine does not suspect that someone watches. She applied for a job with Lazar's company in a desperate effort to seek answers to the past. She believes that Lazar killed her father when she was eleven, sending her mother and herself into hiding. Different cities and different names, a lifetime of disappearing, left her with haunting nightmares that will only stop when she finds answers.
Night after night Seth watches, recognizing the sleazy aspect of his voyeurism but helpless against the passion Raine arouses. He had plotted his lawless retribution against Lazar for his brother's death, and does not need the distraction of this woman of steel and twisting fire. Nevertheless, they soon come together in stunning, breath taking passion, even as they each conceal hidden motivation and desperate need.
Shannon McKenna pens a dangerously erotic tale with her first Kensington Brava, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. Replete with daring sensuality and tension filled danger, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS sizzles. McKenna does not quibble regarding these characters needs, desires and feelings, relying on a heart stopping, complex plot to maintain a fierce pace. Raine moves from clumsy naiveté to revealing a woman both strong and vibrant. Seth transforms from a man blunted to emotion to man driven to know this dynamic woman. They both keep secrets and hidden pain that threaten to rupture their newfound feelings. A mesmerizing read and impossible to put down until the last searing page, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS earns the WordWeaving Award for Excellence.