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Ever since FBI agent Keira O'Shay started tracking a young boy named Mateo, she's felt a connection even her empathic abilities can't explain. She needs to save Mateo from the cult leader holding him hostage. Nothing can interfere with that--not even the reappearance of Luke Ransom, the hot-as-hell fire captain she's regretted walking out on for three long years.
Losing Keira left Luke ...
Ever since FBI agent Keira O'Shay started tracking a young boy named Mateo, she's felt a connection even her empathic abilities can't explain. She needs to save Mateo from the cult leader holding him hostage. Nothing can interfere with that--not even the reappearance of Luke Ransom, the hot-as-hell fire captain she's regretted walking out on for three long years.
Losing Keira left Luke vulnerable--in every way. When they were together, the powers each possesses were mysteriously enhanced. But it's the sexy, surprising woman beneath the tough exterior that Luke's really missed. Even if she betrayed him utterly. And even if agreeing to help her uncover a government conspiracy means watching his life and his heart go up in flames again. . .
Praise for Joan Swan and Fever
"Swan's gutsy, jaw-dropping style will have readers talking!" --New York Times bestselling author Larissa Ione
"Smart, emotional and unputdownable." --New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Tyler
She squinted through the hundred-and-twelve-degree heat rippling off the hard, dry Nevada landscape. The ranch house and barns of the property danced in watery distortion, shifting like reflections in a house of mirrors.
Fitting. From the very beginning this situation had taunted Keira with reflections of her own twisted past.
Her commander, FBI Senior Special Agent Angus West, leaned his hip against the bed of an agency pickup ten feet away, arguing logistics with the incident commander from ATF while she and her team steamed like vegetables in their SWAT fatigues.
Fucking departmental posturing. Fucking egos. Fucking waste of time.
So much precious time already depleted in briefing, staging, arming, negotiating.
Gunfire cracked through the air, followed by the clang, clang, clang of bullets against metal. The sting of anxiety burned across Keira's ribs. The half-empty bottle of Gatorade exploded beneath the crush of her fingers, orange liquid drenching her hand. She chucked the shattered plastic at the dirt.
"Don't return fire, you idiots." She clenched her teeth to keep her voice low so the team, hovering beneath the shade of a single pathetic Joshua tree nearby, wouldn't hear. "My boy's in there."
Her stomach coiled tighter, something she hadn't believed possible. She already felt like a bottle of champagne—shaken and still corked.
Enough of this bullshit.
She pushed off the SWAT van that acted as a barrier to the hostilities. The men supposedly in charge had ceased their dispute to watch FBI and ATF agents scuttle among pickups and outbuildings for cover.
"Excuse me, sir." From beneath the brim of her uniform ball cap, she trained her eyes on Angus. "What are we waiting for? A neon sign flashing 'Armageddon this way'?"
The ATF leader standing across from Angus sliced her with a critical sneer. One that indicated he had a dick the size of a peanut and had to compensate by making everyone else's life a living hell.
Angus's gaze remained locked on the other man, his demeanor controlled as he raised his index finger to Keira.
Don't push it.
Yeah, she got it. Didn't even need her clairaudient abilities to get that message as loud as the gunshots across the compound and as clear as the growing risk she faced with every passing moment.
But, dammit, this waiting was killing her. She wanted that little boy. Wanted to see him. Wanted to touch him. Wanted to prove that the kid was real, and that she hadn't spent the last year of her life chasing a ghost only to end up in the same haunted, hopeless, helpless place she'd started.
She didn't understand the gravity of her needs. Only that they'd driven her from the moment she'd first seen his photograph. He was important to her. She just didn't know why. Just as she didn't know why another vague anxiety gnawed low in her belly. One she'd cued into as soon as she'd stepped onto the scene.
She scanned the landscape again, searching for the source of her discomfort. Clusters of FBI, ATF, local deputies, military personnel, support staff, and vehicles cluttered the staging area. Nothing stood out.
She reached into the front pocket of her jumpsuit for the child's photo, a talisman of sorts now after all this time. The moment she touched it, a young voice loped through her head.
Thia, edo eeme. Edo eeme. Thia.
Whatever that meant. She couldn't exactly ask the missing boy's father why the kid was speaking another language without exposing her clairaudient abilities. And if that happened, she faced an ugly path of workplace inquisitions, governmental psychological testing, probable suspension, and possible termination. If her powers, or more important, the source of her powers, caught the wind, her life and the lives of those she loved would hit the fan.
Keira studied the boy's face for what had to be the thousandth time over the past year. And wondered, for what had to be the hundredth time in the last few hours, whether she'd recognize him now, three years older than he was in the picture. Would his eyes still be warm and trusting? Would his face still be round and full of color? Would he even still be alive?
Keira looked up just as one of her fellow agents, crouched behind a metal storage shed for cover, bucked and pitched backward. She sucked an audible gulp of air. "Oh, shit." Her stomach clenched and burned. Two backup agents swept in, hooked their hands under the armpits of her academy buddy, and dragged him to safety.
"Was that ... Connor Royal?" she asked.
"Yes." Angus pressed his fingers to the earpiece feeding him information over the airwaves as he spoke to her. Sweat glistened on skin the color of fresh ground coffee beans. "It was Royal. Not a fatal hit. They're bringing him out."
Nerves split her professional shell. She couldn't stand it anymore. Screw all this testosterone. "Are you going to send us in or wait for him to kill our whole squad?"
She'd catch hell for the attitude later, in private. Now, Angus focused on Keira with his customary intensity. "Yes. You're going in."
The other leader threw his shoulders back. "Now, wait just a—"
Yes! She tuned out the argumentative ATF ass and swung back to signal her team.
Finally. She could get her hands on this kid, turn him over to his father, and get the hell on with her life. And even save a few other lives in the process. Win-win.
"Wait." Angus put a hand on her arm and signaled the team to hold tight. "This isn't a rescue mission. Not yet."
"Sir, you can't be serious." She glanced back to make sure the ATF asshole wasn't within earshot. "There are women and children—"
"I'm dead serious, Keira. At this point, the best way to salvage the lives of those women and children is to take out the shooter. Either by capture or elimination." He pulled the Colt from her hand and slapped a Remington sniper rifle in its place, then released a five-by-seven photograph from his clipboard and held it out. "This is your target: Andre Rostov. And lose the attitude, would you?"
Her new mission came into sharp focus. Sweat slid between her shoulder blades.
She studied the photo, but didn't take it. She wasn't ready.
The man in the image was in his late fifties with nearly white hair and a clean-shaven jaw exposing a fair share of wrinkles and age spots over a plain, expressionless face. Light eyes, a color she couldn't determine, beamed with intelligence and defiance.
"Rostov's got another one of our teams isolated at the west end of the main house." Angus drew her attention. "Pinned between a silo and an outbuilding."
"Once we pull the kids out—"
"No, Keira." He had his boss face on. Hard. Demanding. Unyielding. "You are going to take him out of the equation before he starts handing weapons to those kids."
A shiver tracked her spine. She stepped closer, forced her voice lower. "But, Angus—"
"No buts. This is what you were trained for. You are our best chance of getting this guy before he hurts anyone else." He pushed the photo toward her. "Do it for Royal."
She peered toward the ranch house—the lower level windows boarded with shutters, the charcoal gray roof and stark white siding wafting in the inhumane heat.
Yes, she'd been trained. Yes, she could kill in self-defense. But, elimination? Assassination? Murder?
The department picnic two months prior flickered in her head with images of Royal's young wife and their two toddler daughters.
The fingers of her empty hand curled into her palm and squeezed hard before she reached for the picture. At the first touch, a tangle of sounds and voices snarled in her head. She let them murmur in the background until she was ready to unravel and apply.
That other, unrelated unease resurfaced, chewing at her belly. And it definitely wasn't coming from the photo. She glanced over the various groups again. Looking for ... what? What the hell was bugging her on this subversive level?
"We'll get Tony's kid out, Keira," Angus reassured. "But to get him out alive, you're going to have to remove the threat, and we both know this maniac won't let you take him alive."
Yes, she did know. Which was why she wanted to get to the boy so badly. "I understand, sir."
Keira tuned out the background voices of her colleagues, the rumble of vehicles, the murmur of generators. One by one, she sorted through the sounds: the clink of glass, bubbling liquid, a ringing timer. When none of those made sense, she focused on the disjointed voices. Control group ... placebo ... quantitative results ...
The skin over the back of her neck tingled. "Angus, are you sure about the intel on this? A religious group?"
He pulled his attention from a map spread over the hood of a pickup. "Why?"
One more check of Rostov's picture, just to make sure ... Absolute measure ... controlled environment ... clinical trials ...
"I just ..." Hear voices that tell me it's wrong. How fast did she want to lose her job and land in a pink padded room wearing a straitjacket? "Look at him. Not much of a Koresh look-alike. I mean, come on, he's no cult leader."
"It was your research that led us here."
"To find the kid. I knew it was a commune of some sort, but I never said it was a religious compound."
"Well, others have, and it's a moot point anyway. He's now shooting and holding hostages."
And she'd been entrusted with this boy's safety. Angus was right. The underlying purpose of this ranch didn't matter anymore. What mattered was rescuing a child from a nut job. Reuniting a loving father with a stolen son. She'd seen the court custody papers, the ex-wife's psych evaluations. Now, she'd all but proven the abuse allegations.
Angus yelled at the ATF commander, huddled among other bigwigs, "My sniper's ready. Get me your best agent to guide her in."
Sniper. Keira's lip lifted toward a grimace.
"Ransom, suit up." The man's growl stilted the conversation of several agents loitering around the back of an ATF van. "You're going in."
Keira's brain was still pushing around sniper, searching for a comfortable fit in some unused crevice when the name registered.
"What?" she asked Angus. "Who?"
"I don't know. Someone named—"
"Ransom," the asshole yelled again. "Get moving. You're babysitting the Feebs' prima donna."
Ransom? Her stomach jumped and went icy hot.
The hostage she'd vowed to rescue and the cult leader she'd agreed to kill faded in her mind, replaced by memories of a man she hadn't heard from in three years. A man who shared her complex past and still secretly held far too much of her heart.
Lord, she could not afford to think about Luke right now. Besides the name had to be a coincidence, because Luke was not an ATF agent. He was a fire captain in northern California. He wouldn't be at a government-run siege in the Nevada desert.
Surely there were thousands of men by the last name of Ransom in the western United States. She scanned the ATF camp, focused on one group of swarming men, and swallowed hard. Okay, maybe hundreds named Ransom who were also tall, well-built, and blond like the one suiting up, his back toward her.
There have to be, because Luke is not ATF. Shit, he's not.
The man dropped a black bulletproof vest over his navy uniform T-shirt. He leaned down to tighten the holster securing a semiautomatic at his jean-covered thigh and grabbed a Ruger submachine gun handed to him by a colleague.
Keira's stomach jumped. Jesus, the fluid movements, the tilt of his head ... they created a delicious, familiar pressure in her chest. Which terrified her. Please, no. Please, no. Keira held her breath as the man pivoted toward his commander.
Before he'd fully turned, her stomach bottomed out. She knew the slant of that cheekbone. Knew the angle of that chin. Knew the slope of those lips. In fact, every inch of her body knew that mouth.
No! Dammit. Luke is not ATF.
But denial couldn't erase the fact that he stood yards away, just as striking as the day she'd left him for the academy. Same intense blue eyes. Same long legs. Same wide shoulders. Same commanding presence.
"Screwed. I'm so screwed." Keira turned her back before Luke spotted her. Not to hide—far too late for that. Just to regroup. Just to get herself together before she faced him.
Angus looked up from his map. "What?"
"This vest is screwed." She yanked at the canvas-covered Kevlar as her heart scrambled for a dark corner. "Who last wore this thing, a two-year-old? It's choking me."
He turned from the truck and took hold of the straps, tugging to test the fit. "It's fine. Fits perfect."
"Then why the hell can't I breathe?"
"It's called anxiety and it's totally normal. Relax, O'Shay." The hint of a pride-filled smile turned his dark lips. "You're the best in the nation."
"Don't start bragging." The thought made her cringe. "You know how guys go all weird when they hear that."
Angus's attention locked on someone behind Keira. Luke. She knew. Her guts knew. She could feel him, as if his presence physically compressed her lungs until she could drag in only a wisp of air on each breath.
Angus sidestepped her with his hand out in greeting. "Agent Ransom, you're going to be taking care of our sharpshooter. And I promise you, she does not have an ounce of prima donna in her blood."
The word popped into her head from nowhere, vibrating like an echo. The same way thoughts from images played beneath her skull. God, it was happening already. She hadn't even spoken to him, hadn't even looked him in the eye, and her powers were rising like a kite in high wind.
Keira's eyes closed. She allowed herself a split second of dread, of doubt, of pain, before she drew all her strength into her core. Then she envisioned a metal door shutting out every agonizing memory and secured the shield before facing the men.
Luke's clear blue eyes dropped from Angus's face to Keira's. Her stomach sizzled as his gaze held hers. His flat, impersonal expression lasted two full seconds before shock set in. The reaction would have been comical if it hadn't been so quickly followed by a look of heated, almost sickening, contempt.
Her psychic armor took a heavy hit.
"Don't let that sweet face fool you, Agent Ransom," Angus said. "Mobile targets, mobile platforms, extreme distance, night shots, you name it, O'Shay will hit it. She's a pit bull."
For an extended second, his eyes remained steady and unblinking on her face. A deep vertical line pulled between his brows, as if someone had smacked him upside the head and he hadn't quite recovered.
He hadn't had a haircut in months, hadn't shaved in at least two days, hadn't been using enough sunscreen. And he looked ... amazing. Absolutely mind-numbingly amazing.
"Yyyyyeah. You could say that." His tone suggested an unsavory subject. He squinted at Angus. "Sir, can I have a word?"
Goddamned sonofabitch. Keira's millisecond of admiration splintered, and the hurt and anger from their past boiled to the surface. "If you have something to say, Agent Ransom, say it to my face."
Luke's eyes reconnected to hers with a cold snap. He shifted his weight and cocked his hip, a move she'd once found sexy but which now struck her as arrogant.
"Okay, Agent O'Shay." He put the same venom on her title as she had on his. "Are you qualified to do this job, or are you just a pretty face for the news cameras? 'Cause I'm risking my ass here, and I'm sure as hell not doing it for you."
Air siphoned into her throat with the sucking sound of a gut-punch. Her stomach responded with a painful hitch. After so much time, he could still stab her right in the heart.
That came out really fucking wrong.
The thought drifted from Luke, but his expression remained unchanged. And after that greeting, he didn't deserve the benefit of the doubt.
She forced the imprisoned air out of her lungs. Refused to wince at the pain centered beneath her ribs. And faced Angus.
"I'm not going to recite my résumé for this ..." Pissant. "If he doesn't trust me, get someone else to take me in."
The ATF commander invaded the group. "Problem here?"
"No." Luke's chin went up. Stubborn sonofabitch never changed. "No problem."
"Then get on with this before that fucker starts throwing bodies out windows."
Luke's boss stomped toward their camp, wiping the sweat from his bald head with a handkerchief.
Keira pulled off her ball cap, tossed it on the hood of the truck, smoothed her hair into a ponytail, and pulled on her helmet.
"Keira," Angus said, "is there a problem here?"
Hell, yes. "Nope." Two could play this game. "I don't give a flying fuck whether he goes or not. I can handle this on my own."
Excerpted from Blaze by Joan Swan Copyright © 2012 by Joan Swan. Excerpted by permission of BRAVA BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted April 8, 2013
This is book 2 in the Phoenix series and it is a page turner. You get the same quality of writing, solid plot and terrific romance and intrigue as in book 1 (Fever). But you also get more information about the goverment plot that exposed the original team of firefighters to chemicals and conferred on them their paranormal abilities. The team members are starting to reunite and there is a final twist that makes you gasp in surprise. I cannot wait to read book 3! This is a terrific series.
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Posted October 11, 2013
Posted August 18, 2013
This series just keeps getting better and more intense. I am absolutely in love with these characters! From the very first page, Blaze is full of action. I loved Keira, she was strong willed, could kick some series A-- but yet has so many insecurities due to a terrible past. She has to be one of my favorite heroines now!! I cannot wait to get more of all of these characters and hope that all of them get their HEA.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 11, 2013
Posted June 4, 2013
Posted May 21, 2013
Posted May 13, 2013
Blaze by Joan Swan
Keira is in shock when she learns Luke is on her team that is rescuing the little boy from the complex.
This book starts out strong and action packed fast-I felt like I was part of a team six seal team or it's equivalent.
The mission is aborted but she goes forward as there are many children ...
Tony her boyfriend is not who he seems. She also reads minds without talking-it works with some people, Luke for one.
Just when the hospital has cleared them she is abducted along with the child. Disturbing part of this book to me is the foreign language that is spoken. Really feel left out in the cold...Tony had been using others for scientific experiments...
Very much reminds me of The A Team from TV fame where everything came together at the end. It's just the process of getting to the right place at the right time. As they travel to get away from the thugs there are many obstacles and who can you really trust with your life?
Hot steamy sex scenes add to this story.
Like the high tech microchip implants chat, whoa! The story also follows another alternate chapters where we learn the connection one from each side has...
I received this book from The Kennsington Books in exchange for my honest opinion.
Posted May 9, 2013
Posted May 4, 2013
Posted April 30, 2013
Posted March 19, 2013
Posted March 19, 2013
Posted January 26, 2013
Review Of Blaze (Phoenix Rising Series Book #2) By Joan Swan
Although I could never love Luke more than I love Teague Creek, I do have to say Luke Ransom is very HOT!!!! Once I read Fever (book #1) I knew I would be bouncing off the walls until I got to read this book. Joan so does not disappoint. She had me hooked from the first sentence.
When Luke and Keira crossed paths for the fist time since their breakup I knew things would be explosive but I never realized just how much. I was already rooting for these two characters ever since they were mentioned in Fever. Luke and Keira are the types of characters that need to be together because without each other the other one is just existing and not really living, at least in my opinion. Keira needed to prove something to herself and she had to let Luke go in order to find herself. Luke on the other hand, knew that he wanted to create a future for him and Keira but he just couldn't get her to see his vision for them.
The action in this book started at the very beginning which threw our couple immediately together and started them on a path to survival with an unknown enemy. The back and forth between the two kept me at the edge of my seat. Just when I think I have things figured out it never really is what it seems. Teague, Alyssa, and Mitch get called in, first to help heal Keira and then, to help Luke figure out just what it is that is going on.
Everything in this story flowed really well. I felt nothing was thrown in for the sack of filling up pages. Joan really has what it takes to continue to be a really great author. Some books claim to be part of a series but often they turn out to be barely considered a series at all. I love how I got an update on Teague, Alyssa, and Mitch in this book. It makes the sequel cohesive. On a scale from 1-10 I give Blaze a GREAT BIG 10. It was a great story and kept me hooked until the very last page. If you are looking for a story with tons of action and a searing romance than I think everyone adult 18+ needs to go and pick themselves up a copy of Blaze. If you haven't read Fever** I also recommend picking up a copy of that book too. These books will not disappoint. Let Luke and Keira's story burn you up in more ways than one.
Posted December 29, 2012
Five Fast-paced, Fantastic Stars!!!
Make room for this romance-suspense junkie, because I'm doing cartwheels all over this book! Yes, the sequel to FEVER pushed all the right buttons for me. Can you tell that I found it fantastic? Well, I did!
Blaze mainly focuses on Keira O'Shay and Luke Ransom. Both were part of the firefighting team whose lives were forever changed in that warehouse fire that was first mentioned in Fever. Going into Blaze, I liked that these two already had an established relationship, even if they hadn't seen each other in 3 years. Keira and Luke's lives intersect again when Keira, who is now an FBI agent/sniper, has a mission to rescue a little boy. I must say that the opening sequence of events is not only explosive, but we also get to see how well Keira and Luke work together on many levels.
“Luke stood on the opposite side, looking tattered and sexy as hell sporting his rifle and that goddamned semiautomatic strapped to his thick, muscular thigh. Why, why, why did she find that so...hot!” --Keira
I have no idea how she found the strength to walk away from this man 3 years ago...well, I do, but you've got to read and find out yourself. After reading Blaze, I now understand why Luke was the way he was in Fever. The love of his life walked away from him and his dreams, and he had been hurting all this time. Now, circumstance has thrown their lives back together, but can he trust her to not hurt his heart again? Whatever the outcome, what I loved about this couple is that they are awesome at taking on the bad guys.
“If it's your fight, it's my fight.” --Luke
“We stick together, right? I've got your back.” --Luke
Ladies, Luke doesn't mind that she leads the way in the fight either. Mmmm...gotta love a man that lets the woman take the reigns! Keira is one of my most favorite kick-ass heroines that I've come across. Even with all her issues I completely understand and love her!
Joan Swan gives her fans another thrill ride in BLAZE, complete with lots of action, fast-paced scenes, and sizzling romantic tension. Alyssa, Teague, and Mitch all have prominent secondary roles. Mitch...oh man, he is really something! I really, really hope he gets his own book. More of the conspiracy behind that infamous warehouse fire is revealed, and there's so much more left to uncover in the next books! I am so there for book 3. Bring it on!!!
Posted December 20, 2012
This is Book 2 in the Phoenix Rising Series. Joan Swan has such a good story in this series. I am hooked. I suggest you read Fever before this one, as things will make a lot more sense. Blaze is just as good as Fever and probably better because you get to continue on with characters that you met in Fever.
This story starts out with Keira, who works for the FBI and is SWAT, on a mission to rescue children from what she was told was a religious compound. Little does she know that fate would throw her into a situation with Luke, the man she walked out on three years prior because they wanted different things. Luke and Keira quickly learn that something isn't quite right with this mission and the intel they have isn't accurate. From this first scene, the action starts and doesn't really stop until the end of the book.
Keira and Luke have paranormal powers that were caused by a warehouse fire several years prior involving unknown chemicals. When Luke and Keira are together their powers are amplified. One of the things they found they were able to do together was read each other minds. That is both good and bad as you can imagine, and was quite entertaining for the reader. Luke and Keira's relationship has had its ups and downs over the years. Luke so desperately wants to be with Keira and have a family. Keira freaks out at the idea of a family as they always seem to be on the run from the government and the idea that she could lose a family causes her to panic. Joan Swan writes the romance between these characters so well. It takes the entire length of the book and keeps you hanging on to see how it is going to work out. I like books where the hero and heroine steal a kiss here and a kiss there but don’t jump into things right away. There is only one main intimate scene in the book and is well written and really fits the characters and the story so very well.
I enjoyed all the secondary characters in this book including Mateo, Cash, Seth, Teague, Alyssa, Kai, and Mitch. I can't wait to read future stories that include these characters. They are such a close family of sorts and I love the powers they each have acquired. It is sort of like a bunch of superheroes getting together to fight evil, but in a more down to earth, believable way and that evil is a government conspiracy. I highly recommend this series to anyone that likes romantic suspense books!
Posted November 30, 2012
This story grabs you from the very first page and I couldn’t put it down from there. The relationship between Keira and Luke is rough. They each think that the other has done something wrong to destroy their friendship and relationship. Keira has a very strong connection with the boy Mateo whom she has never seen in person, only through a photo. Keira and Luke team together to find out the truth about their own mysterious powers and help Mateo find his father. They uncover a lot of information and can only really trust each other and the rest of the fire crew that as involved in the accident that changed their lives greatly. I was surprised with how quickly I read this entire story. I could not put it down. It’s definitely a page turner for sure. I’m looking forward to the next book and can’t wait to read more about the other characters that make up Keira and Luke’s team.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 25, 2012
SO GOOD IT GAVE ME GOOSEBUMPS
As originally posted on Mina's Bookshelf
During a “bizarre” firefight mission, the lives of agents Keira O’Shay and Luke Ransom were altered forever. Keira came out of that chemical inferno with enhanced psychic abilities: ever since that warehouse fire, she is a clairaudient, a person able to communicate telepathically and hear distant voices and other people’s thoughts. Luke acquired the ability to deflect fire and bullets. Not only did they use to be a formidable match professionally, their new abilities intensified when they were together, connecting them also in a more intimate level. But when “family-guy” Luke asked Keira to bring their relationship to a deeper level of commitment , Keira, a woman with a tragic past and a lousy childhood, decided to quit her job as a firefighter and become an FBI agent instead. The break-up was inevitable. Luke is not a flexible man and tends to see the world in black and white…either with me or without me. Neither does Keira clearly state the reasons behind her aversion to motherhood and feeling of inadequacy . For a good part of the novel, Luke will be unaware of her dark past of foster-care child, abused and tortured, starved physically and emotionally. She may feel “historically, environmentally, genetically” inadequate for the role of mother, but it will be her involvement in a FBI mission as a SWAT agent three years after breaking up with Luke that will prove how misled she is about herself. Two things will become clear in the general atmosphere of mystery and military secrets: with her generous and brave heart, she has a natural mother instinct, and she cannot live without Luke. Another out-of-the-ordinary explosion in the Nevada desert, where a Russian cult leader is holding a group of kids hostage, will bring the two former lovers and a very special child together, and from that moment on there will be no holding them from putting their lives and their hearts on the line of fire. The” explosive” opening scene has a strong emotional impact and an outstanding dramatic effect. The initial pages (as the rest of the book for that matter) read like a movie script, with highly accurate descriptions of time and space, the scenes unrolling in front of me with vivid details and fetching dialogues. Keyra’s emotional trial is palpable: an unexplained and deep connection with one of the hostages, and the conflicting emotions when she meets Luke for the first time in three years, make her “tight and cohesive world” fall apart. Love and hate, attraction and resentment cling to the same corner of her heart. Anger and hurt still dwell in Luke’s heart too, but he cannot deny that “deep pang of pride for all [Keira] has accomplished”. In the past three years she has found herself, becoming more mature, more savvy, and to Luke’s eyes, even more attractive.
I simply marvel at the way this author takes on the romantic suspense genre with the polished skills of a veteran novelist. In this brilliant second installment of the Phoenix Rising series, Joan Swan will engross the readers with her effortless craftsmanship and those smooth and seamless shifts of focus between action and romance that can rival even the most seasoned suspense writers. After turning the last page of this compendium of pulse pounding suspense and breath-taking romance, I am still not able to tell whether I was more affected by the emotional depth of the characters’ back-stories, or more taken with the mesmerizing intricacies of the storyline. To tell you the truth, I can’t even recall enjoying a “conspiracy-theory, paranormal mystery” this much since the days of the X-files tv series.
In Luke and Keira’s story, emotions intensify and the mystery thickens: together with the theme of ghost government agencies and their secret agendas, Joan Swans brings so many emotional issues to the table (the personal hell of an abused child, expectations and compromises in a love relationship) that spoke to my heart and lingered with me even after putting the book down.
Like in Swan’s debut FEVER (Phoenix Raising #1), the execution is spectacular and the language is vibrant and real. Funny and gritty dialogues set the lively pace of the narration, leading the reader through a wide range of emotional responses. The romantic involvement of the lead couple, the scorching sensuality ignited by their mutual raw need, the elusive truth at the bottom of their super-powers are the cornerstones of this solid piece of fictional fabrication. The plot is so clever that despite the lack of closure as far as regards the big scheme of things, this page-turner can be enjoyed as a stand alone. The dangling plot threads, the breakneck sub-plots and the introduction of secondary cast that will surely rock the world of the Phoenix Rising in the coming sequel, fuel the reader’s curiosity and enhance the thrill effect, leaving us with the awareness that our endearing characters are more in danger than ever and that someone is diligently trying to hide the truth.
That truth will still be elusive even in the final pages, but the choice of a conspiracy theme is thought-provoking and allows room for theorizing. The characters are fully nuanced, easy to root for and relate to, despite their larger-than-life nature; the emotional dynamic between Luke and Keira so engaging…the more they talk, the more they argue. They both share a personality trait that can place countless obstacles on the way to a smooth love relationship. They both possess an unforgiving, uncompromising, hard as granite temper, in addition to their psychic ability to read each other’s minds… hard to tell if this is more a blessing or a curse. When they finally unlock their hearts and understand that love is “about finding strength in the sum of our parts instead of fighting alone”, their release will be even more rewarding. To tighten up the threads of this rich and imaginative series, Joan Swan revisits familiar faces (Teague and Alyssa from Fever, installment #1 in the series ) and introduces an ensemble of new characters that move around our lead couple with the loyalty, the stealth and the precision of a SWAT team.
And then there is Mitch, Mitch Foster: “the dragon slayer” attorney, the man who gets things done with the power of a telegraphic phone call…there is no special force pilot, military helicopter, heavy artillery, or loyal bodyguards that he cannot obtain with a simple (and mysterious) call from his mobile…we will get to know his secret sooner or later. This character definitely deserves his own spotlight.
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Posted September 24, 2012
Blaze is Joan Swan’s second book of her Phoenix series. These stories revolve around seven firefighters who were caught in a chemical explosion in a government warehouse which left one dead and the remaining members forever changed. Each member has developed their own special abilities, and in this paranormal series, the scary monster in the closet isn’t a vampire or a zombie, it’s our very own government.
This black ops division of our government was aware of the toxic stew they kept hidden in their storage warehouse and have been monitoring these firefighters for the past five years. Those in charge are torn between destroying them before the public finds out or using their usual powers for their own purposes.
While all of the firefighters are being watched and monitored, it is Luke Ransom and Keira O’Shay who hold the most interest to the government. Luke and Keira were lovers long before the fateful fire, but everything changed when Luke walked out of the warehouse both fireproof and bulletproof and Keira was suddenly able to hear thoughts. Amazing enough, but it did not go unnoticed that while they were together their powers were enhanced. Because of this, everything is being done to keep these firefighters from coming back together. The fear is how powerful they could be as a team.
Keira and Luke are brought back together when the FBI and ATF are brought in on a raid on what is supposed to be a religious compound and turns out to be a laboratory, and when a fire starts during the confusion, they can’t help but notice the strange colors blazing in the flames. Those same colored flames that burned the night of the warehouse fire.
It seems the government got tired of waiting to see if they could control the firefighters and have decided to try to create their own gifted solders, starting with more malleable children.
At first Keira doesn’t understand the strange bond between her and little boy Mateo they rescued until she finally realizes that he too has the same special abilities shared by herself and some of the other firefighters. Now, Keira and Luke are on the run and trying to protect this boy but the government wants him back real bad, and they are willing to bargain whatever lives are necessary so they can get him back and bury their mistake, permanently.
Keira and Luke have been apart for three years now and neither has been able to get past the love that they shared, but is it undying love enough when your every move is watched and the danger only increases the longer you are together?
Joan Swan is definitely working her way to the top of my favorite author list! This story was riveting, heart-poundingly intense, sexy, and definitely leaves me wanting more. I can’t wait for the next story.
When the scary monster in the closet is our own very powerful government, there is no one you can trust and no where that is truly safe. They were being monitor and no matter where they ran, there was already someone waiting to grab them. The way our government is portrayed as heartless in their pursuit of these firefighters gave me chills.
Posted April 10, 2013
Result one. Main camp/ joining area. Result two. Bios. Result three. Demigod hill map. Results 4-46. Cabins. Result 47. Imfirmay. Result 48. Messhall. (Eating area). Result 49-52. Human wolrd. Result 53. Training area. Result 54-70. The forest/ capture the flag area.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 2, 2013
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