Circle of Fire (Damask Circle Series #1)

( 23 )

Overview

VISIONS OF TERROR
 
Sixteen teenagers taken from their homes. Eleven bodies recovered, each completely drained of blood. Some believe vampires are responsible. Jon Barnett knows that what’s happening is far worse. Sent by a group of paranormal investigators known as the Damask Circle, Jon quickly becomes enmeshed in a web of black magic and realizes he needs help. But ...
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Overview

VISIONS OF TERROR
 
Sixteen teenagers taken from their homes. Eleven bodies recovered, each completely drained of blood. Some believe vampires are responsible. Jon Barnett knows that what’s happening is far worse. Sent by a group of paranormal investigators known as the Damask Circle, Jon quickly becomes enmeshed in a web of black magic and realizes he needs help. But fate gives him only one choice.
 
Madeline Smith has retreated to an isolated farmhouse, afraid of the abilities she cannot control—abilities that have killed. But when a “ghost” brings a warning of danger and her nephew goes missing, Maddie not only has to leave her haven, she has to place her trust in a man who is neither ghost nor human. As the noose of sorcery tightens, the search for the teenagers becomes a race against time. But the greatest danger to Maddie and Jon could be the intense feelings they refuse to acknowledge but cannot ignore.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440246558
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/2014
  • Series: Damask Circle Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 123,819
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Keri Arthur, author of the New York Times bestselling Riley Jenson Guardian series, has now written more than twenty-five books. She’s received several nominations in the Best Contemporary Paranormal category of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Awards and recently won RT’s Career Achievement Award for urban fantasy. She lives with her daughter in Melbourne, Australia.
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Read an Excerpt

One

Madeline Smith didn’t believe in ghosts--not until the night Jon Barnett walked into her life, anyway. Maddie drew her legs up to her chest and held them close. Maybe walked was the wrong word to use; his method of movement seemed more like floating.

Outside her bedroom, the branches of an old elm scraped back and forth across the tin roofing. The wind howled around the old house--an eerie cry that matched her mood of anticipation and fear. Snow scurried past the windows, a stark contrast against the blackness of the night.

It felt oddly fitting to be sitting on her bed, waiting for the arrival of a ghost while an early winter storm raged outside.

Only he insisted he wasn’t a ghost at all.

She tugged the blankets over her knees and wondered if she should stoke the fire with a little more wood. Maybe the heat would keep him away. Or maybe he’d gotten tired of his game and simply forgotten about her. She believed that the desperation in his eyes was real enough; she just didn’t believe that he was real.

Perhaps he was just a figment of her imagination--a last, desperate escape from the loneliness of her life.

The clock on the mantel began to chime quietly, and she turned to look at the time. One-thirty. Maybe he had forgotten about her . . .

“Madeline.”

She closed her eyes, uncertain whether fear or the unexpected pleasure of hearing the low velvet voice one more time had caused the sudden leap of her heart.

“Madeline,” he repeated. This time a hint of urgency touched the warmth of his voice.

He stood in the shadows to the left of her window. Despite the storm that raged outside, he wore only a short-sleeved black shirt and dark jeans--the same clothes he’d worn when he had first appeared last night.

Tonight there was something different about him, though.

Tonight he looked afraid.

But he wasn’t real, damn it! How could a ghost feel fear?

“Madeline, you must help me.”

She closed her heart to the desperate plea in his voice. What he was asking her to do was impossible.

“I can’t.” She avoided his gaze and fiddled with the fraying edge of the blanket. “I don’t know you. I don’t even believe that you exist. How can you expect me to leave everything I have on the word of a ghost?”

“You must!” The sudden sharpness of his voice made her look up. “All I’m asking is for you to travel across the state, not to another country. Why are you so afraid to leave your retreat?”

Maddie stared at him. He seemed to understand altogether too much about her. No one else had seen her fear--not even her sister, who was as close to her as Maddie ever allowed anyone to get these days.

“There’s nothing wrong with being cautious,” she said after a moment.

He studied her, amusement flickering briefly in the diamond-bright depths of his blue eyes. “I never said there was. But life has to be lived. You cannot hide forever.”

She ignored the sliver of alarm in her heart, ignored the whispers that demanded she ask how he knew so much about her, and raised an eyebrow. “And what does a ghost know about such things?”

He sighed, running a hand through his overly long hair. In the light of the fire, slivers of gold seemed to flow through his fingers. “I’m no ghost, Madeline. But I will be if you don’t help me soon.”

Alarm danced through her heart. “What do you mean?”

He walked across to the fire and held out his hands, as if to capture the warmth of the flames. Hair dusted his arms, golden strands that gleamed in the firelight. His fingers were long and smooth and tanned. Lord, he seemed real--and yet, if she looked closely enough, she could see the glow of the fire through his body.

“I mean that I’m stuck down this damn well, and I can’t get out. I will die, Madeline, unless you help me.”

Maddie closed her eyes and tried to stifle the rising spiral of fear. Not for her safety, because she sensed this was one ghost who would cause her no harm. It was just fear of . . . what? She didn’t know, but there was something about this apparition that made her wary.

Perhaps she should play along with him. Surely he’d eventually tire of his game and leave her alone. Or perhaps she was just going mad, as most of her so-called friends had insisted she would.

Yet those same friends had never understood what she was, or what she was capable of doing. Nor had they ever tried to help her.

“Why can’t someone else rescue you? You must have friends. Why don’t you go haunt them?”

“Believe me, I would if I could.”

His tone was dry and left no doubt that he would rather be anywhere else than with her. Bad news when even a damn ghost doesn’t want your company. “So why can’t you?”

He frowned. “I don’t know. Some force keeps driving me toward you. I have no choice in the matter, Madeline. You’re all I have.”

And you refuse to help me. The unspoken rebuke was in his eyes when he glanced at her. Maddie bit her lip and looked away, watching the snow continue its dance past her window. Maybe she was going mad. She was beginning to feel sorry for a ghost.

“Why would you be able to reach a complete stranger and not anyone of real use to you?”

“I don’t know.”

He hesitated, so she quickly said, “If you want my help, you at least owe me the truth.”

“Fair enough.” He turned his back to the fire but kept his hands behind him, as if still trying to warm them. “Whatever this force is, it brings with it a sense of danger. And it’s connected with you somehow.”

He seemed to say an awful lot without actually saying anything, Maddie noted. Maybe her ghost had been a politician in a former life.

“That made everything so much clearer,” she said dryly.

He shot her a look that was half amusement, half frustration. “Someone close to you is in danger and, somehow, they’re drawing me to you.”

Besides her sister Jayne, the only other person who qualified was Jayne’s son, Evan. And if he did have that sort of power, it would be a recent development, meaning it was highly unlikely he’d have the sort of control Jon was suggesting. No, she thought grimly, there was only one uncontrolled misfit left in their small family unit.

“So how did you end up in the well?”

“Someone shot me when I was out exploring.” He shrugged. “I must have fallen in.”

Maddie raised an eyebrow. From what she could see of him, there was remarkably little evidence of a bullet wound. “Then you are dead.”

He sighed and closed his eyes. “I was hit in the arm. The fall could have killed me, but I was . . . lucky.”

The arm closer to her was a suntanned brown, well muscled and remarkably free of wounds. His hands were still firmly clasped together, which surely wouldn’t be possible if the other arm had a bullet wound. Maybe it was her ghost who was mad, not she.

“Why can’t I see any sort of wound, then?”

“Because I’m here astrally.”

“That doesn’t really explain why you’re standing there with no wound.” Or why she could see him. From the little she knew of astral travel, she shouldn’t have been able to do that, let alone interact with him.

“You’re not seeing the wound because I don’t want you to.”

Which was probably a good thing, given that she did want to get some sleep tonight. “Why don’t you just shout for help?”

“As I explained before, I can’t take the risk. Someone is out to get me. If they think I’m still alive, they’ll just find me and finish the job.”

A chill ran through her. “It could have been an accident.”

“No.”

She closed her eyes at the soft certainty in his voice. “Then if I come to help you, my life could be in danger.”

“How would they know you’re there to help me? You’d just be another tourist passing by.”

The sudden weariness in his voice made her look at him. His form had faded slightly, merging with the night. Something was wrong, something more than the fact that he’d been shot. And she sensed that he wouldn’t tell her what. “Who do you mean by they?”

“I’m not exactly sure. But someone in this town knew why I was here, and they moved pretty swiftly to get rid of me.”

“Then tell me again what town you’re in, and why you’re there.” If he was going to continue haunting her, she should at least try to understand a little more about him. And last night she’d been too busy trying to convince herself that he was nothing more than a vivid dream to really listen to anything he said.

He stared at her, then shook his head. “How many times do I have to repeat myself before you believe me?”

His voice held an edge of desperation that made her wince. “You mentioned some town--Sherbrook, wasn’t it?”

He closed his eyes for a moment, as if battling to remain calm. “Sherbrook is the name of the inn. The place is Taurin Bay.”

An odd sense of foreboding ran through her. Evan had attended a school camp in Taurin Bay only a month ago. Jayne had gone along as cook and chief pot-washer. “That force you said was driving you to me--was it male or female?”

“Male.” He paused, eyes narrowing. “Why?”

Evan--something told her it was Evan. Maddie licked her lips and wondered if she should call her sister--or was she just worrying over nothing again?

“Maddie, what’s wrong?”

She stared at him blankly for a moment. “My sister has a thirteen-year-old son named Evan. Both of them were in Taurin Bay last month.”

“Damn!” Jon ran a hand through his hair, then abruptly walked forward, stopping only when his knees touched the side of her bed.

He was close, so close. She could see the rise and fall of his chest, feel the whisper of his breath wash across her skin. Could smell him--a faint scent of cologne mixed with hints of earth and sweat. But he wasn’t real, damn it!

“Over the last two years, sixteen teenagers have been taken from their homes and haven’t been seen alive again. In each case, no locks or windows were disturbed. And each time, the teenager was taken on the next full moon after their families returned from Taurin Bay.”

Her heart leaped. She raised a hand to her throat and tried to remain calm. “Evan is safe at home. This is ridiculous.”

“Someone is drawing me here, Madeline. Someone who knows he’s in danger. You’re the connection between us. Tonight is a full moon. Go call your sister.”

She scrambled off the bed and ran to the bedroom door. Then she hesitated, looking back at Jon. He hadn’t moved, but his body had faded, losing its shape to the darkness. Only his blue eyes were still bright.

“Go call her,” he said. “Then come to me. Save me.”

Maddie turned away from his plea, though she knew he wouldn’t be there when she returned. She ran down the hall to the phone in the kitchen, turning on lights as she went. Somehow, the darkness seemed too intense to face alone.

Fingers trembling, she picked up the phone and dialed Jayne’s number. It seemed to ring forever. Maddie bit her lip, hoping nothing had happened, hoping that Evan was in bed and safe.

“Hello?” a croaky, half-asleep voice said eventually.

“Jayne, it’s me,” she said without preamble. “Is Evan there? Is he all right?”

There was a slight pause, and Maddie could hear the rustle of blankets as her sister shifted around in her bed. “Of course he is. Why?”

Because I’m a fool; because a ghost told me he may be in danger. “Humor your little sister and just go check, will you?”

Jayne sighed. “Maddie, have you been drinking again?”

Maddie closed her eyes. Whenever Jayne thought she had a problem, she asked the same question--even though it had been six years and ten days since Maddie had last had a drink. She hadn’t touched alcohol since the fire that had taken her husband’s life. The experts had never found an explanation for that fire, though they had theories aplenty. Maddie knew the truth, but she wasn’t about to tell anyone--not even her sister.

She cleared her throat. “No. I had a dream, and I want to reassure myself he’s all right.”

“For God’s sake, it’s almost two.” Annoyance ran through Jayne’s voice, but at least she was still listening. She hadn’t yet slammed the phone down.

“I’m well aware of the time. It will only take a minute to check on Evan. Please.”

“I guess I’d better,” her sister muttered, “or you’ll be calling all night again.”

Maddie heard Steve, Jayne’s husband, murmur something disparaging, then the squeak of springs as Jayne got out of bed. Maddie grimaced, hoping she was overreacting. Hoping Jon wasn’t right. She stared out the kitchen window as she waited, watching the snow flurries dance across her yard. Then she heard the sound of returning footsteps and felt her stomach knot. Please let Evan be safe.

“Evan’s sound asleep in bed, Maddie.” Jayne’s voice was a mix of exasperation and annoyance. “And so should you be.”

This time Jayne did hang up on her, but Maddie didn’t mind. Jon had been wrong. Evan was okay. She replaced the receiver, then thrust a shaking hand through her hair as she sagged back against the wall in relief. Maybe Jayne was right. Maybe all she needed was a good night’s sleep--something that had eluded her ever since her world had disappeared into flames.

She closed her eyes, fighting the memories, fighting the sudden need to wash the pain into oblivion with a drink. That chapter of her life was over. She would not return to it, even through memories. And if Jon did come back, she’d tell him to go find someone else to haunt. She wasn’t interested--not if the cost was to make her sister think she was stranger than ever.

His only chance of survival was a woman afraid of life. Jon shook his head at the irony of it and leaned wearily against the cold stone wall of the well. He’d seen the fear in the amber flame of her eyes, in the tremor in her hands as she ran her fingers through her chestnut-colored hair. She was afraid to move from the safety of her home.

And he would die if she didn’t.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    will appeal to paranormal, romance and mystery fans

    Kirby Brown and Helen Smith are as close as sisters are so when Kirby comes home to see Helen and her lover¿s body savaged, she¿s bereft and horrified. Helen was a witch and Kirby has powers of her own so she knows that the two policemen that are guarding her are something evil. She escapes from them only to see them come after her in their true form, reptilian like monsters. <P>She would have died if shapechanger Doyle Fitzgerald hadn¿t appeared on the scene. He dispatches the two monsters and the vampire that comes after them. Doyle is part of the Damask Circle; an organization consisting of people with paranormal powers that fight the evil forces that are loose on the world. His current assignment is to track down a witch who is targeting other practitioners of magic and the only one who can stop her is Kirby. Doyle, who loves Kirby, tries to protect her but he can¿t guard her from her own fears for only she can do that if she dares. <P>Keri Arthur is one of the better writers of supernatural romances and her Damask Circle series is a perfect example of how she makes the extraordinary seem believable. CIRCLE OF DEATH will appeal equally to paranormal, romance and mystery fans. The characters make the paranormal seem normal; the romance between the shapeshifter and the witch is utterly believable; and the mystery will key the readers into turning the pages, eager to find out who is doing the killings and why. <P>Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 22, 2014

    This is one of my favorite authors and this book did not disappo

    This is one of my favorite authors and this book did not disappoint. Maddie has such a sad tragic past and is hiding away to keep others safe from her uncontrolled psychic powers. Jon is trapped and dying and the only person who can help him is the one person afraid to live for fear of hurting others accidentally. After two days of astrally projecting himself to Maddie begging for her help she is finally shaken enough to go and look for the man she doesn't believe is real.

    I loved watching the characters interact. This was a very enjoyable romance and in a series it can be read alone. I highly recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Read from February 22 to 24, 2014 Book Info  Paperback, 336

    Read from February 22 to 24, 2014




    Book Info 
    Paperback, 336 pages
    Expected publication: January 28th 2014 by Dell (first published August 20th 2001)
    ISBN 0440246555 (ISBN13: 9780440246558)
    edition language English
    series Damask Circle #1 
    other editions (7)
    Source:Netgalley EARC




    Book Buy Links 
    AMAZON 
    B&amp;N 




    BOOK SYNOPSIS








    VISIONS OF TERROR




    Sixteen teenagers taken from their homes. Eleven bodies recovered, each completely drained of blood. Some believe vampires are responsible. Jon Barnett knows that what’s happening is far worse. Sent by a group of paranormal investigators known as the Damask Circle, Jon quickly becomes enmeshed in a web of black magic and realizes he needs help. But fate gives him only one choice.




    Madeline Smith has retreated to an isolated farmhouse, afraid of the abilities she cannot control—abilities that have killed. But when a “ghost” brings a warning of danger and her nephew goes missing, Maddie not only has to leave her haven, she has to place her trust in a man who is neither ghost nor human. As the noose of sorcery tightens, the search for the teenagers becomes a race against time. But the greatest danger to Maddie and Jon could be the intense feelings they refuse to acknowledge but cannot ignore.




    My Thoughts








    This is the first book in a trilogy that was first published almost 13 years ago, for me just the name of the author was a good enough reason to want to read the books as loved prior works that she has written.




    Having first been introduced to the organization called The Damask Circle in the Nikki and Michael series am eager to learn more about the organization and it’s members who protect and serve humanity so looking forward to each book in the rereleased series. 




    Madeline has been “gifted” since childhood but she has never been comfortable with her abilities nor has she ever found anyone who accepted them as just being a natural part of her, which Jon does.




    Jon being “gifted” himself and also being part of an organization that is filled with all kinds of “paranormal talents” finds himself protective of Maddie, which for him is a first as a woman has no place in his life as a priority due to the dangers his job provides. The pair must learn to trust each other quickly and together defeat the villain, this sounds so simple but for these two loners proves to be anything but.




    I was intrigued to see how the story and plot would turn out, it met my expectations as it kept me interested from beginning to end and it especially worked well as the book can be read as a stand alone since it concludes without a cliffhanger ending of any kind.




    As a longtime fan of author Keri Arthur this was a another pleasant intro to some of her earlier works, looking forward to reading rest of the trilogy . 




    [EArc from Netgalley in exchange for honest review]

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2014

    Very good

    Holds up to other Keri Arthur books. She has an amazing talent for writing a good suspenceful story. I only wish we didn't always have to wait so long for the next one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I would like to thank NetGalley and Dell for granting me the cha

    I would like to thank NetGalley and Dell for granting me the chance to read this e-book in exchange for an honest review. Though I received the e-book for free that in no way influenced this review.

    VISIONS OF TERROR
    Sixteen teenagers taken from their homes. Eleven bodies recovered, each completely drained of blood. Some believe vampires are responsible, but Jon Barnett knows it's something far worse. To stop the killers in Taurin Bay, he becomes enmeshed in a web of black magic and realizes he needs help. But fate gives him only one choice in the form of recluse Madeline Smith.

    Madeline Smith has retreated to an isolated farmhouse, afraid of the psychic abilities she can't control-abilities that have killed. But when &quot;ghost&quot; Jon Barnett brings a warning of danger and her nephew disappears, Maddie has to leave her haven. She also has to learn to control the abilities she fears and place her trust in Jon Barnett, a man who is neither human nor ghost.

    But as the search for the teenagers becomes a race against time, and the noose of sorcery threatens to kill Maddie and Jon, the greatest danger to them both could be the feelings they have for each other-feelings that they refuse to acknowledge.




    Although the story is tension-filled on multiple levels, there is also a sweetness to watching the romance unfold, not too mention watching Maddie transform into a butterfly, no longer tethered to one place by fear.

    What I Liked About the Story:
    I truly appreciated that Maddie was allowed to stretch and grow, and though she had some help from Jon, she was the master of her own recovery, reclaiming her life on her own. And having her sister finally figure out just how poorly she'd treated her all their lives was nice. The way that came about was interesting, and has potential for making an appearance in one of the subsequent books in this new series.

    Jon was a great character from the beginning, and having him so in touch with his own emotions was nice to see. That's not to say he didn't have some rough patches, but never because he was closed off from his own emotions. His history clearly demonstrated why he responded as he did to certain things, and yet he was still open enough for Maddie to see past the barriers he'd erected. The fact that they could understand each other as well as they did in so short a time falls into my pros and cons list.

    Evan and Mack are also solid secondary characters. They are both impressive in their own way, and again I could easily see one or both making an appearance or more in future books. I was truly proud of Evan for being so confident and self-assured, particularly given his role model was not exactly a pillar of strength while he was growing up.

    Finally there is the variety of characters from the paranormal realm in this book. I found it to be a bit refreshing that it wasn't all one type (such as vampires, or maybe werewolves). Instead Ms. Arthur allowed us to dabble in a few different areas, not getting to in depth anywhere, but rather providing a sample platter of a small but varied range of abilities that fall into the paranormal.

    What Bugged Me:
    As I mentioned above, the depth of the connection between Jon and Maddie falls into both columns. It is sweet, but yet rather unrealistic given the amount of time the two knew each other, as well as the baggage that Maddie was still lugging around.

    And since this book dealt in the paranormal I would have enjoyed a bit more in-depth exploration of the main antagonist. While I appreciated the variety of paranormal beings, the main antagonist had so much more to offer than we were shown. The way the story flowed amply allowed time for much, much more about the antagonist to be explained/explored.

    My Overall Impression:
    Clearly my likes section outweighs my dislikes, even more so when you notice that a couple of items had one foot in each column. Normally I would say that the ending was too easy, or contrived, but given the amount of time that passed from the adventure Jon &amp; Maddie shared to the ending of the story allowed it to feel OK to me. Enough time had passed that it wasn't a knee jerk response to the situation, and therefore felt authentic.

    All of which means I give this book a thumbs up. It was a very quick read, about an hour cover to cover, which generally indicates that the author woven the arc, pacing, and characters together in a masterful manner. This story essentially told itself, and rarely did Ms. Arthur tell us something if she could show us instead. I posit this to be a solid opening book for a new series, and I look forward to reading the next few books in the series in short order.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2014

    Excellent Read

    Great story start to finish of indivuidual agents that work for the Damask Circle. The second book is great as well, and I'm currently reading the third. I cannot put theses down, and I would recommend anything written by Keri Arthur.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2014

    Thunderstorm

    Sniffs renewed then moved to res. 45

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2014

    Okay; not a "must read"

    The book's characters possess some paranormal abilities that are different from those in most books. Not one of my favorites but it kept my attention.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2014

    A read that overwhelms, not necessarily the right way

    This book features two people thrust together by magic and mayhem, as they embark on a mission to find kidnapped youths before it is too late.

    This book is what some would call a paranormal romance story in the style of Kelly Armstrong, Patricia Briggs and others.

    However, the world-building of the novel leaves something to be desired as does the writing style of the author. Too much internal dialogue and characters trying to constantly critique every glance and spoken word from others as something significant and profound. The dynamic between the main characters seems forced as well as we are led on a veritable rollercoaster throughout the book. Finally, the magic aspect of the book seems to take second fiddle to the forming bond between the main characters.

    Be that as it may, this book does have some strong points. If you are a fan of paranormal romances, then you might find some strong plot lines to follow. While the magic/paranormal scenes are rushed, there are some interesting moments.

    In conclusion, this book offers a romance adventure in a sleepy town. It could happen to you! The scenario comes straight from real-world and thus is grounded. The magic, while glossed-over, at times shows flashes of brilliance.

    On the other hand, a lack of world-building, a strong stable of characters, and a magic that often is lost, alongside a flawed writing style, is too much of a negative to overcome.

    2 of 5 stars (readable with reservations)

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  • Posted February 28, 2014

    Circle of Fire. A Damask Circle Book: 1. Keri Arthur. Review f

    Circle of Fire. A Damask Circle Book: 1. Keri Arthur.
    Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
    I'm a great Keri Arthur fan, loved the Nikki and Michael novels, so was pleased to see this new series beginning. It carries on in the same world as Nikki and Michael, but with other characters from the group they work for, Seline and the Damask Circle. It looks like each book will feature a different character, and that's really exciting for me as I get to stay in the fantasy world I love and have begun to know, and yet meet new characters :)
    This book features Jon from the Circle, out on a mission Seline had warned would be dangerous. He's in trouble, and the only person able to help is Madeline – but she doesn't believe he's real. He's appearing to her as a “ghost” but despite her abilities she can't believe what she's seeing. She's suffered so much from her family about her abilities, with them seeking psychiatric care for her in the past, and the problems when they got the better of her, that she's isolated herself from others now, and wonders if finally she's losing her mind. Jon gives her a clue though, and when her nephew goes missing she just has to check it out.
    Poor Maddie – she was so lonely and guilty and yet none of it was her fault. I really felt for her, she was trying really hard to do her best, and yet no-one recognised how difficult it was for her. Jon did, and she quickly learned she wasn't insane, and that others including members of his family shared some of her talents. She fell for him, hard, but knew he was a loner, and only concerned about his work. She's got such low esteem she can't believe anyone would want her. Jon, he's kept himself alone for a reason, it keeps those he cares for out of the danger that is his everyday life. He didn't plan on Maddie though...
    Along with these two characters there's some great others, Maddie's sister and her bigoted husband who seems to hate Maddie, Mack the FBI agent who's met Jon many times before, and puzzles over how he always crops up in the more unusual cases, the horrific people who have abducted the teens....It's a race to save them, endangering their own lives doing it. It seems each time they get a break something else comes along.
    It's the same mix of magic and mayhem, danger and hazards, and close encounters with sorcerers and shape-shifters we've come to expect from Keri. I often wonder just what it is that makes a book five star for me, its hard to define exactly, its a kind of instinct and when I’m reading I just get the feeling that this book is it – that its one I’ll remember, enjoy greatly, be happy to re read, and won't know exactly how its all going to play out.
    ARC provided via Netgalley.
    Stars: typical Keri Arthur, riveting read, kept me glued to the end as always, so a full five.

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  • Posted February 18, 2014

    I received Circle of Fire by Keri Arthur through Netgalley for a

    I received Circle of Fire by Keri Arthur through Netgalley for an honest review.
         Where do I start? From the very first page I was intrigued by this book. It starts of with Maddie being visited by what she thinks is a ghost named Jon. Jon comes to Maddie in what she thinks is some sort of dream. He tells her he has been shot and somehow is connected to her in some way. Jon asks Maddie to rescue him and if she doesn't he will be a ghost soon enough. Maddie doesn't take Jon's  warning seriously so the next night he visits her again. He lets her know teenagers are going missing and the next will be a boy named Evan. Evan is Maddie's nephew. Maddie calls her sister and sure enough Evan has gone missing. Maddie and Jon set on a trail to find the missing boy.
         I love Maddie in this book. She is a feisty woman who has is facing demons of her own. What you don't know about Maddie is that she is psychic who can produce fire. She has hurt many people in her life and is scared because she can not control her abilities. She looks to Jon for guidance as he is no newbie to the supernatural world.
         Jon is a shapeshifter who has been hunting supernatural beings all of his life. He is brave, strong, but likes to do stuff on his own. He looks to no one for help and wants nothing to stand in his way. Jon doesn't get close to anyone and has no friends or family. He solely relies on himself and his abilities to take down evil.
         Overall this book was a good read and kept me guessing from one page to the next. Throughout the book I had no clue until the end if Jon and Maddie would end up together. They had avery competitive relationship and were both very hardheaded at times. I  would have liked to see more of Maddie's past with her ex husband. I would have also liked to know how Jon became a shapeshifter and if it was something he was born into or if he chose this life. I will definitely be purchasing the next book in this series and I cant wait to see what happens with Maddie and Jon.




     

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  • Posted February 10, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Circle of fire has been on my to-read list ever since I read Ker

    Circle of fire has been on my to-read list ever since I read Keri's Nikki &amp; Michael series. This is one of Keri's earlier releases. 




    I found that the story line was not very deep. It had some substance, but I think it had the potential to be that little bit better. The first time I picked up this book, the first chapter did not grab me. It took me a few chapters to get into the story, but once I was hooked, I really enjoyed this book.




    Characters: 3/5
    Keri creates interesting and likable characters. The romance was a bit of a slow burner but it had the sweetest ending. 




    During the book the story changes between Maddie &amp; Jon's POV.




    Maddie - I like her. She isn't your super strong confident heroine, but she does the right thing no matter what - like bracing her fears to go after and save her nephew Evan. She is uncertain about love from past experiences and this makes her question anything she feels for Jon or what he might feel for her. She is brave but also insecure about who she is and her powers, in such a naive way. 
    One of the things that really bugged me was how her sister and the husband think so little of her, and fear her. Her sister asks her to find Evan and then lets her husband pursue her through the police system - this seemed so ungrateful!




    Jon - Jon is mysterious - It is difficult to read how he truly feels about Maddie - he is drawn to her for reasons he doesn't understand. Duty always comes first with him. I really enjoyed his growth and development through the story. 




    Plot, Pace, Writing style: 3/5 
    Although not very deep, the plot was original, and the story had a great pace. Keri is a great writer. I enjoyed that I did not always know where the story was going and there were quite a few unexpected surprises.




    Cover talk: 4/5 - I really like this new cover. It is a revamp from the original publication in 2001. It really caught my eye and it is what convinced me to give this book another try. 




    Final Thoughts: I will definitely be continuing with this series. I am not rushing out to buy the next book as it is not about Jon and Maddie, but I will finish this series in due time. 

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  • Posted February 10, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Circle of fire has been on my to-read list ever since I read Ker

    Circle of fire has been on my to-read list ever since I read Keri's Nikki &amp; Michael series. This is one of Keri's earlier releases. 




    I found that the story line was not very deep. It had some substance, but I think it had the potential to be that little bit better. The first time I picked up this book, the first chapter did not grab me. It took me a few chapters to get into the story, but once I was hooked, I really enjoyed this book.




    Characters: 3/5
    Keri creates interesting and likable characters. The romance was a bit of a slow burner but it had the sweetest ending. 




    During the book the story changes between Maddie &amp; Jon's POV.




    Maddie - I like her. She isn't your super strong confident heroine, but she does the right thing no matter what - like bracing her fears to go after and save her nephew Evan. She is uncertain about love from past experiences and this makes her question anything she feels for Jon or what he might feel for her. She is brave but also insecure about who she is and her powers, in such a naive way. 
    One of the things that really bugged me was how her sister and the husband think so little of her, and fear her. Her sister asks her to find Evan and then lets her husband pursue her through the police system - this seemed so ungrateful!




    Jon - Jon is mysterious - It is difficult to read how he truly feels about Maddie - he is drawn to her for reasons he doesn't understand. Duty always comes first with him. I really enjoyed his growth and development through the story. 




    Plot, Pace, Writing style: 3/5 
    Although not very deep, the plot was original, and the story had a great pace. Keri is a great writer. I enjoyed that I did not always know where the story was going and there were quite a few unexpected surprises.




    Cover talk: 4/5 - I really like this new cover. It is a revamp from the original publication in 2001. It really caught my eye and it is what convinced me to give this book another try. 




    Final Thoughts: I will definitely be continuing with this series. I am not rushing out to buy the next book as it is not about Jon and Maddie, but I will finish this series in due time. 

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  • Posted February 3, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I have to first start off by saying that Keri Arthur is one of m

    I have to first start off by saying that Keri Arthur is one of my favorite Paranormal Author's, I have yet to read a series of hers that I do not enjoy.  This series has it all... danger, intrigue, magic, passion, and romance. The story line unfolds at a steady pace, that keeps you intrigued at all times. This book will delight all Paranormal fans. There are a few twists and turns thrown in that will surprise readers.  These twists only add to the heightened level of suspense in the novel.




    Maddie starts out as a woman living in great fear of her abilities, she prefers hiding in isolation to interacting with others due to fear that she will hurt them.  Jon's appearance in her life forces her to confront her fears of her abilities so that she can become the beautiful and confident woman she is meant to be. Her growth as a person is central to the story. Her confidence comes from everything she has to face to save her nephew Evan.  Jon is also alone in his self-imposed exile from personal relationships.  Convinced nothing is more important than his work; which would be hindered by emotional ties. Watching him fall in love with Maddie, and come to the realization that he is not meant to be alone will make the readers fall in love with this series. So happy reading.

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  • Posted January 28, 2014

    Keri Arthur is to date my absolute favorite author!!! She has a

    Keri Arthur is to date my absolute favorite author!!! She has a way to draw you right into her characters worlds! In this one, we get a little closer look at the Damask Circle that we get introduced to in her Nikki and Michael series. There is still one character that is a bit of an enigma, but I am hopeful that we will learn more about her in the next 2 books. As far as the characters in this book, I loved them! I love how we get to watch Madeline grow into her powers and the change we get to see in her personality. Jon, like all Keri's heroes, is completely swoon worthy! I really can't wait to see what else is in store for this series!! A must read!!!! I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted January 28, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    The first book in the Damask Circle is a thrilling suspense feat

    The first book in the Damask Circle is a thrilling suspense featuring an evil sorceress.
    Sent by the Damask Circle to investigate the missing teens and the deaths, Jon Barnett becomes enmeshed in a web of black magic and realizes he needs help, but fate gives him only one choice.  Afraid of the abilities that she cannot control, Madeline rarely leaves her isolated farm, but when her nephew goes missing she has no choice, she has to leave her haven and put her trust in a man who is neither ghost nor human.  The search for the missing teenagers becomes a race against time, but the greatest danger to Maddie and Jon is the intense feeling they refuse to acknowledge.
    This intriguing plot is steady to fast-paced with lots of suspense, action, magic, romance and shapeshifters.  The author keeps the reader guessing as the tension builds to an action packed and magical battle. The vivid descriptions make the reader they are part of the story and the compelling characters are easily understood, easily related to and leave the reader wanting to know more.
    The attraction between Jon and Maddie radiates heat from every page and the sex scenes are hot and steamy, but the relationship has a lot of emotional turmoil and dangerous enemies to get through before this couple can ever reach their happily ever after and just to spice things up, Jon is gave his heart to his work a long time ago.
    The author has created a fascinating world with great characters that captures the imagination and keeps the reader turning the pages until the very end.  The concept is engaging and entertaining and ensures the reader will come back for more. I love all the books that I have read by Keri Arthur and this one is certainly no exception, I can’t wait to read the next book in this riveting series.

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  • Posted January 28, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Circle of Fire was a highly entertaining paranormal romance. It

    Circle of Fire was a highly entertaining paranormal romance. It also has a big dash of murder, lots of mystery with a huge dose of magic...all the makings of a fabulous story. I am an avid fan of Keri Arthur's current works, and was not disappointed with a story from her past. Although it doesn't have the polish of some of her newest creations, Circle of Fire was a compelling story with enticing characters and a thrilling mystery to figure out.




    I received this ARC copy of Circle of Fire from Random House - Dell in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication January 28, 2014.

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  • Posted January 28, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Fans of Keri Arthur¿s Nikki & Michael series will love this

    Fans of Keri Arthur’s Nikki &amp; Michael series will love this tale from the Damask Circle.  But don’t worry if you haven’t read the Nikki &amp; Michael series (and you really should) this will stand on its own.  Shapeshifter Jon Barnett is a troubleshooter for the Damask Circle.  Basically he is a cop that goes after paranormal bad guys.  Because of the nature of his job he can’t afford to get to close to anybody lest they be used against him.  Maddie needs Jon to help find her nephew she has gifts of her own.  Together they fight the bad guys and their feelings for each other.  I get such a kick out of the world and characters created by Ms. Arthur.  This is an exciting paranormal romance that will have you staying up late to finish. 

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  • Posted March 7, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Circle of fire

    The person who wrote the last review got this one mixed up with Keri's other book in the same series circle of death.

    This book, circle of fire, in my opinion had a fantastic story line. Love, romance, death, fear, mystery. It was all in there. However, I am three quarters of the way through reading circle of death and the story line and the romance of two supernatural strangers coming together is very similar. I can understand why these two books can be easily confused with one another.

    Would I read this book again? Probably not. would I recommend it to some one else? Definatly... it is worth reading once. Especally if you are like me and you like easy reads.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2015

    No text was provided for this review.

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