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Review: Blaze by Joan Swan

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Blaze
Author: Joan Swan 
Release Date: Sept. 25, 2012
Publisher: Kensington
Phoenix Rising #2
ISBN: #978-0758266408
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format(s): Paperback (400 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Author

About the book:

With a man like him, every mission becomes personal…
      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…

What Im talking about:

      Right from the opening, Blaze, brings action, adventure and heat to the reader. The book begins with FBI agent Keira O’Shay in the middle of a cult-like hostage situation. Her extrasensory instincts tell her that they are outside of something more than a religious commune. Her worst fears are confirmed when shots are fired and a man is down. Keira, an expert snipper, is called in and her new back up is her ex, Luke Ransom, whom she hasn’t seen since she left him three years ago.
      Things go from bad to worse when the place begins to explode around the pair before they can rescue they trapped children. Keira’s focus is on saving a young boy, Mateo, with whom she has shared a psychic bond for a year. With the help of Luke, Keira manages to escape with Mateo, just barely. And then, the situation really gets ugly. Keira and Mateo are kidnapped, Luke saves them, and the trio are on the run, hiding from some powerful government players.
      I was sucked into Blaze immediately. The only difficulty for me was trying to piece together the who’s and what from the first book, Fever (I’d forgotten some of the key characters and going-ons). Although I would have benefited from (and enjoyed) a reread of the first book, a new-to-the-series reader can easily jump in with Blaze.
      The hostage situation, followed by the continuing government conspiracy (from Fever) created wonderful tension and suspense from the get go. And the sexual tension was off the charts! The fact that Keira and Luke loved one another deeply and both regret their decisions that lead them apart made me cheer for the pair all that much more. I was emotionally invested in the couple from the start.
      There were several beautiful moments shared between Luke and Keira that had me sniffling more than once. After being apart for so long, neither were certain how to act and just be around the other. Although sometimes everything felt so natural, they were both afraid to let go and totally open up. But thanks to their unique abilities, they were able to tap into one another’s thoughts and emotions. This allowed for some intense and passionate moments that warmed me to my soul. And as they began to open up (wait for the moment that Luke confesses his celibacy!), the sexual tension mounted until it boiled over into the HOTTEST reunion sex scene EVER! The scene is sexy yet, honest and real. I adore that when they finally reunited, it was as themselves, knowing that there were problems and issues, but willing to work on them to be together because they loved one another. I love this couple!
      Outside of the love story, we are treated to the continuing storyline of a team of firefighters that have been altered by a chemical explosion in a warehouse. Since that moment, each has developed unique “powers,” but also plagued with emotional baggage. Keira and Luke are two members of this team. In Blaze, we learned more about what happened, and witness the group (almost all) together as a team. I love that the team is a close knit family and how they can still work as a team, even after all they’ve been through. There are some not-so-good government employees, lead by the mysterious Jocelyn, after this team, and now that they are bonding and reuniting, Jocelyn feels pressure to raise the stakes. Something big happens at the end of Blaze, that could have significant repercussions for Jocelyn, and holy hell, I cannot wait to find out what happens next!
      My only real complain is that I wanted more! Luke and Keira were on again, off again throughout the entire story – sorting out their baggage and coming to terms with each other. I wanted more of the pair at the end once they finally got past all of what was keeping them apart.
      Overall, I completely enjoyed this book and adored this couple. There was intense emotion. Real ones. Struggles most of us can related to… Perhaps not the actual situation, but the feelings of uncertainty and fear. Ms. Swan does a beautiful job communicating these heightened emotions while fitting them into the story without sacrificing the plot or action. I highly recommend Blaze to anyone who enjoys a suspenseful story, and values an emotionally-driven romance.

My Rating:

Loved it – enthusiastically recommend (A)

Purchase Info:
Blaze (Book 2)

Reviews in the Series:
Fever (Book 1)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11301876611384496359 Tina B

    Great review! I am awaiting my copy in the mail. I have read a few excerpts and really enjoyed them. I am a little nervous about not liking Luke because of how he was throughout most of Fever, but if the excerpts are any indication, I think I will fall in love with him. :)
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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