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I Belong


Review: Fever by Joan Swan

Title: Fever

Author: Joan Swan

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Suspense

Series: Phoenix Rising (Book 1)

Publication Date: February 28, 2012

Format: Paperback, 354 Pages

ISBN-10: 0758266383 (Kensington)

ISBN-13: 978-0758266385 (Kensington)

Reviewed by: Sheila

Synopsis

When Dr. Alyssa Foster is taken hostage by a prison inmate, she knows she’s in deep trouble. Not just because Teague Creek is desperate for freedom, but because the moment his fingers brush against her skin, Alyssa feels a razor-sharp pang of need…

A man with a life sentence has nothing to lose. At least Teague doesn’t, until his escape plan develops a fatal flaw: Alyssa. On the run from both the law and deadly undercover operatives, he can only give her lies, but every heated kiss tells him the fire between them could be just as devastating as the flames that changed him forever…

Quick & Dirty: Suspense and romance with a little touch of the paranormal for flavoring.

Opening SentenceThe clank-clank-clank of shackles echoes off the hospital’s linoleum floors, rippling across Doctor Alyssa Foster’s shoulders.

Excerpt: Yes

Review:

I try to give new authors props when warranted.  Most debut books have problems like flow and character under-development.  And when you think about it, that makes sense.  These types of issues get resolved with time and experience.  That being said, I thought that Fever was pretty good coming right out of the chute.  Kudos goes out to you, Joan Swan!

Fever follows the story of escape convict and convicted murderer, Teague Creek, and his hostage Dr. Alyssa Foster.  Teague uses Alyssa as his bargaining chip to trade for the life of his 5-year-old daughter, Kat.  Along the way, Teague and Alyssa start to work together (both in bed and out) to clear Teague’s good name and discover who the people were that sent him to prison for the crime he was wrongfully accused and convicted of.  Okay, put like that, this book doesn’t stand out among all the other suspense/romance novels available today.  But wait, dear readers, there are a few key twists in this seemingly bland story.

When we first meet Teague Creek, he is portrayed as a convicted murdering racist.  That is the image he perpetuates for prison survival.  The real Teague is a former firefighter and devoted father; basically a good guy.  He also is in way over his head when he kidnaps the wrong woman during his escape from prison.  Alyssa starts out as a distressed woman that is in the wrong place at the wrong time.  A convict thinks that she is the girlfriend of the man that has custody of his daughter.  It doesn’t take long for her annoying, stubborn side to emerge.  She pesters Teague about every little thing, including the reasons for him being put away.  After she decides to help, she pesters him until he allows her to help clear his good name.  The initial character portrayals are completely opposite of their true nature.  I think that is my favorite part of this book; characters with more depth than the false natures that are initially presented.

There is also the series of unlikely and unlucky events that follow the two around.  Who knew that prison breaks never go the way you plan them?  Not only does Teague nab the wrong girl, but she happens to have influential family members that will stop at nothing to take him down if she gets hurt.  Alyssa is no walk in the park either.  Why couldn’t he find a woman that will do as she’s told when threatened with bodily harm?  This byplay gives the book its much needed comedy relief.

So, where is the paranormal part come into play?  Teague happens to be able to raise his core body temperature so high that it burns.  He also has a small talent in healing.  His thermokinesis is the result of accidental exposure to radioactive gas during a fire rescue gone wrong.  The government’s illegal experimentations that are behind it are a subplot.  Though this sounds pretty darn cool, it is almost like a side note to the overall fugitive manhunt that takes center stage.  The plot would have worked with or without the fire abilities additive.

Overall, Fever left me feeling happy with the ending.  The guy gets the girl and a chance at a future he didn’t think was possible and the two find love amidst the unlikeliest of circumstances.  The story is complete in its self; if you want to enjoy a book that doesn’t have to continue on to find a satisfactory conclusion, this may be the right book for you.  It’s a fine debut and I look forward to reading more from Ms. Swan.

Notable Scene:

The other motel guest grumbled something unintelligible as his attention shifted from the cops back to the ice machine.  The sound of his feet dragging on the cement brought Alyssa’s focus around her eyes wide with surprise.  And in the fraction of a second that followed, Teague realized that if he didn’t act fast, Alyssa would act faster.

Before she could speak, Teague put one hand under her chin, turned her face and covered her mouth with his.  She stiffened and squeaked, pushing at his chest.  The hand cuffed to Teague’s pulled hard.  He tightened his grip on her face and pulled back just enough to murmur, “Kiss me back, Alyssa.  Please.  Don’t push me into a corner.”

He couldn’t read her expression in the shadows, but her mouth softened under his, her hand stopped tugging, her muscles lost some of their tension.

“Oh, hey, man,” the other man stammered.  “Sorry.  Didn’t mean to… uh, er… I’m just gettin’ some ice.”

Teague broke contact only long enough to mutter, “You ain’t botherin’ us.  Is he, baby?”

Before she had a chance to answer, Teague kissed her again, and not solely for the purpose of keeping her quiet.  He kissed her because he had to.  After feeling those lips against his, he had to feel them again.  And again.  Her mouth was war, and soft.  And with each press of his mouth, hers relaxed.  Within seconds, she’d leaned into him, abandoning resistance.

The Phoenix Rising Series:

1. Fever

2. Blaze

FTC Advisory: Kensington provided me with a copy of Fever.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.

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