Release Date: Feb. 28, 2012
Phoenix Rising #1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format(s): Paperback (354 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
Dr. Alyssa Foster will admit to a bad boy fetish… But when she finds herself face to face with a convicted murderer with a ripped body, a determination for freedom and an eye on her as his get out of jail free card, Alyssa knows she’s in deep trouble…. Not just because Teague Creek is a prisoner desperate for freedom, but because his every touch makes her desperate for more.
A man with a life sentence has nothing to lose… Teague Creek has one shot at freedom, but his plan to escape with a hostage develops a fatal flaw: Alyssa. On the run from both the law and deadly undercover operatives who know of his strange abilities, he needs to avoid trouble, but every heated kiss tells him the fire between them could be just as devastating as the flames that changed him forever.
What I’m talking about:
Teague Creek (yes, that is his name!) is a wrongfully convicted felon in a high-security prison. His only wants are to escape, reunite with his young daughter, and live a long life away from those who want him behind bars, hurt or worse. His plans involve kidnapping a technician from a local hospital, who happens to be the girlfriend of the man who is guardian over his daughter. Of course, when he kidnaps Dr. Alyssa Foster – the wrong woman – things go from bad to worse. Top that off with a fellow inmate who is pure evil joining the escape plans, and you have a mix for an action-packed, suspenseful journey towards freedom. Nothing goes right for Teague, and he is being hunted by government officials that would rather see him dead than free again.
Right from the start I was engrossed in this story. The details and events unfolded before me in the perfect manner. The reader is given little nuggets that are just enough to keep you going and find out more. The tone is harsh, the mood is dark, but our heroine, Alyssa, seems to find a way to make it lighter and easier. In addition, Ms. Swan demonstrates excellent descriptive abilities, smoothly integrating rich detail about the scenery and plot into the story.
Overall I liked Alyssa and Teague. They fit together well and complimented one another… when he was rash, she made him stop and think, when she was hurt, he healed her. They have one of those back-and-forth, give-and-take relationships. And boy did they have steam! Thanks to a mysterious fire Teague was involved with several years back, he has the ability to increase his body temperature to way above normal. He uses his “power” to help heal, jump-start cars, and melt metal. And I can only imagine how hot he is in bed (and other places!)
I did feel that Alyssa was a bit too forgiving of Teague at times. She was held hostage and harassed. Teague may not have meant to physically hurt her, but he did cause emotional abuse. It is a bit unbelievable in the context of the real world… that she would take his “abuse” and keep coming back. I liked how Alyssa’s brother, Mitch, described the situation… Saying about Teague, he may have been an upstanding citizen going into jail, but jail changes everyone. It’s true, Teague is a harder man. Luckily Alyssa continues to chip away at Teague’s exterior, exposing the tarnished gem inside. And since it’s a romance, I forgive the rough start and enjoy them as a couple.
The ending of the story did wrap up a little too neatly and easily for my tastes, but it is a satisfying conclusion. The author left many open doors, and I am interested to see where this goes. There are some people very interested in the group of firefighters that were exposed to chemicals which altered their body chemistry (like Teague). I want to know what will happen to the other men in Teague’s band of brothers, and what is the ultimate goal of these dark nefarious players.
I also want to comment about the use of racial slurs in this story. There had been much discussion on GoodReads about the use of racial slurs in this book. There is a character who is pure evil and YES, he uses just about ever cliched slur available. If this is something you know will bother you, then this book is not for you. It’s okay not to be okay with the content in this book. It is also okay to still enjoy this book, even though it has some nasty parts. Neither opinion is wrong. This character is not a big part of the overall book and does make an exit a quarter of the way into the book. For me, the character’s use of the slurs fit his persona, and I was able to read past the content and focus on other aspects of the story, but it isn’t for everyone.
Fever has the perfect amount of world-building for a first book in a new series. The story was easy to follow, unfolded at a great pace, and had just the right amount of frustration without overkill. It was an enjoyable, quick read, and I want to know what will happen next.
Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)
Want to win a copy of FEVER? See author Joan Swan’s guest post HERE and enter (March 13-15, 2012)