Blaze by Joan Swan
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ORDER A COPY: Blaze (Phoenix Rising)
Publishing Date: September 25, 2012
Paperback: 378 pages
Rating: 5 red-hot stars
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.
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 this 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 danger is from our own very powerful government, there really is no one you can trust and no where that is truly safe. They were being monitored and no matter where they ran, there was already someone waiting to grab them. The way our government is portrayed as heartless and bloodthirsty in their pursuit of these firefighters gave me chills.
My only complaint comes from Keira’s flip-floppiness. Granted, she does have some childhood trust issues, but you can’t have an epiphany of how much someone means to you, how you have been existing, not actually living without them, and how you almost lost them forever, and then be like, “what I said before about how much I love you and I can’t live without you and you can trust me not to break your heart again…meh, I think I’m going to go back to being too scared of losing you to stay with you.” WHAT!!!???!!! I wanted to smack her upside her stupid head!
Received an ARC from the author. Thank you, Joan.
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Her breath leaked out of her lungs. “I’m sorry. I was trying not to wake you.”
She didn’t move. “W—why?”
“You know why.”
“Keira?” He closed his eyes, visualized his body cooling. He couldn’t be wound this tight when she finally caved. And she would.
“Come to me.”
She hesitated. Took her first step. Crossed the room and stood beside his bed. He scooted back, making room for her. Still, she waited. When he lifted one arm in invitation, she finally dropped onto the bed and curled into him, much the way Mateo curled into her.
She pulled her knees up against his thighs, pressed her face to his shoulder, her hands to his chest, and broke. Her sobs raked through the knots in his chest, pulling and ripping. He held her tight, smoothed his hand over her hair.
“Shh, baby,” he whispered. “It’s okay now. We’re all okay. Shh.”
God, she felt heavenly in his arms. Warm and soft and curvy. She smelled mouth-watering. But it was the vulnerability that cut through every argument for pushing her away. The same weakness she never showed anyone else that had made him fall in love with her the first time around. And this was no different. Only, when his heart surrendered and opened, he realized he’d never stopped loving her in the first place.
If he’d thought his life was rough since their breakup, it was now headed for severe turbulence if he had to continue living without her.
Ten minutes of crying was all it took for her to detox. As she calmed, her breaths slowed form chaotic spurts to shaky wisps of warm air with an occasional hiccup.
“I…I…I killed them.”
“Because they would have killed you. Or me. Or Mateo.”
She sniffed and nodded. “Have you ever…killed anyone?”
“Does wanting to count? ‘Cause I was about to take Tony’s head off at the hospital.”
She laughed softly. Her legs uncurled, and that warm skin brushed his as they stretched the length of the bed. Excitement spike through his body. Want rushed his system. All he could do was shift his hips away from hers. But not before his erection brushed her thigh. He sucked air against the flash of white hot lust. Knew by the way her bright eyes darted to his face that she’d noticed. Goddamn, it had been a long time. His body felt as if it were twisting inside out with need, and everything he wanted was lying in his arms, yet he couldn’t risk the reach.
He purposely averted his mind from searching hers. Any negative though would hurt like hell. Any positive thought would push him over the edge. He wasn’t stable enough in the moment to control either emotion.