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Tempting the Fire – ARC Review

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Tempting the Fire
Author: Sydney Croft 
Release Date: July 27, 2010
Publisher: Bantam Books
ACRO Series Book #5
ISBN: #978-0-385-34228-5
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Erotic Romance
NOTE: An Advance Review Copy of this book was provided to me by the author for the purposes of review.

From the author’s website:

EXTREME HEAT. EXTREME HUNGER. A JUNGLE EDEN ABLAZE WITH TEMPTATION..
     Shockwaves shoot through the Agency for Covert Rare Operatives (ACRO) when horrific video surfaces from the Brazilian rain forest. A team of Navy SEALs has been nearly wiped out by something sinister and superhuman. Now ACRO agents Sela Kahne and Marlena West head to the world’s most unforgiving jungle in pursuit of a mythical monstrosity with a taste for human blood. And the only path that will take them to the creature runs through two men, each hiding his own dark secret.
     Sela is an expert on cryptozoology with a sideline skill that could prove invaluable: when she makes love to a man, she engulfs his innermost thoughts. Teamed with Marlena, Sela makes contact with the lone SEAL survivor, Chance McCormack. Meanwhile Logan Mills, the man who rescued Chance, leads his private company on a hunt that has nothing to do with saving lives. Soon, Sela will put her supernatural charms to work on Logan, determined to extract information about the creature they are seeking. But in this sweat-drenched realm of danger and deception, Logan is more than just a passive target. He has the power to lead a highly-trained seducer into a jungle without any rules, without any limits—and no end to the heat.

What I’m talking about:

     This book sizzles from the first page until the end! ACRO veteran agent, Sela, and first time field operative, Marlena, head to the Brazilian rain forest to find out more about the mysterious creature that was filmed attacking a SEAL team, and more importantly stop the para-military group, GWC, that is camped near the attack site, from selling weapons to ITOR (the bad guys). Even though Marlena is sent to seduce GWC head, Logan, she is unexplainably drawn to the loan SEAL survivor, Chance. Meanwhile, as Sela tries to push Logan towards Marlena, she can’t help but fall for his wicked charm and sex appeal.
     The story that takes place down in the rain forest is SMOKIN’ HOT and exciting. Each individual struggles with a strong (never felt before) attraction, keeping a personal secret, and trying to discover who to trust. This is a lot to deal with, but added to their issues is the murderous creature that they need to capture or ITOR will kill an innocent hostage. This time pressure adds to the intensity of the moments and makes for a very thrilling storyline. I seriously could not put this book down because every time I thought “I’ll end after this chapter,” something else would happen.
     The development of the dual love-interest story lines is captivating. And although they are two individual love stories, everything is woven into an amazing tale. I enjoyed seeing the parallels in each coupling (as mentioned above), but also watching each couple find its unique voice.  Marlena and Chance’s story is especially appealing due to her background (which was told in the first 4 books, but summarized sufficiently in this story). Marlena is cursed to never to know a man’s love, and longs to know joy in her broken heart. The authors did a marvelous job developing her character and letting her story play out to its full potential.
     One of the many things I love about the ACRO series is that the individual books do not focus solely on one “main” couple throughout the book. In this 5th installment of the series, we have 2 primary couples, plus the on-going relationships between my favorites: Creed and Annika as well as ACRO boss, Dev and newbie Gabe. The story lines for each coupling is perfectly proportioned for the book. Although, I have to admit, the authors tossed in a HUGE bomb for the Annika/Creed story line on page 14 (of the ARC) and did not pick it back up for 160 pages… this was torture for me (but in a delightfully wicked way)!  And for those that have followed my reviews on the ACRO books (links to each at the end of this post), you know how much I adore ACRO leader, Dev. I was glad to see more interaction between Gabe and Dev in Tempting the Fire, but I still feel that their emotional connection is lacking somewhat.
     In the end, each storyline collides in an amazing battle of good vs. evil. We meet a new ITOR agent that embodies both and are left with a glimpse of what is to come. I, for one, do not know how I am going to wait to find out what will become of ACRO. Sydney Croft is a master of sensual story-telling, and the ACRO series is in a league of its own.

My Rating:

Review of Riding the Storm
Review of Unleashing the Storm
Review of Seduced by the Storm
Review of Taming the Fire
  • I love this series and the ACRO characters!!! You make my hands itch to catch up in this series 🙂 Great review!

  • I have got to try this series! I love Larrisa Ione and have been meaning to give their dual books a try forever. Great review!

  • Leontine: Thanks – you really should catch up – how many of the books have you read?

    Colette: I think my reviews say it all, but the series is a great blend of action, story, romance, sex and drama. I highly recommend!

  • A series ive been wanting to get but eeks i didnt know there was five books already!!

    your review is awesome, i soooo want to get these books. i must put them on my August buy list!

  • Omgosh…new page…i like it!! very swish 😉

  • Fantastic REVIEW! I love the cover and never heard of the author before 🙂 Going to have to look it up!

  • Yayayayay! What a wonderful review — so thrilled that you loved the book! Thank you so much for taking the time to read it and write such a great review.

    Hope you like Taken By Fire as much (we should have a cover for it soon! *g*)

  • Bearsy: Yes… You do need to add this to your purchase list! And thanks on the blog design. I like it, but I realized that no where in the design do I have books or hot males. Oh well.

    Felicia: Thanks so much for stopping by! The author is actually two: Larissa Ione and Stephanie Tyler. Both are fabulous!

    Larissa: *blushes* The pleasure was all mine!

  • Sparkling review, Jen! I have the first books of this series – thanks to you I think – but still have to get started… Maybe my vacation will give me some time to do just that! 🙂

  • Thank you SO much for recommending this series!! I’m still on book 1, but am sold all the way. After the opening scenes of Riding the Storm, I will so so so read through book 5 and beyond. Cheers! -Westie

  • I ventured into this series with Seduced by the Storm — and god, the love that blossomed for it. Wicked, passionate with the right degree of complexity, suspense and danger; I had to have more. Alas the only other book I have is Taming the Fire. I guess I must have gotten sidetracked or something… your review has me upping them in my to-buy list!

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