Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

ARC Review: Fever (Phoenix Rising, Book 1) by Joan Swan

Title: Fever
          (Phoenix Rising, Book 1)
Author: Joan Swan
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Kensington
Category: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Type: Kindle/Paperback


Book Blurb:

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.

Book Excerpt:

“Oh…my God…” she said between breaths, her voice raspy with pain. “My side…hit that stupid…gun.”
            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 is. 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. Don’t mean to…uh, er… I’m just getting’ some ice.”
            Teague broke their 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 warm and soft. And with each press of his mouth, hers relaxed. Within seconds, she’d leaned into him, abandoning resistance.
            Teague tightened the arm at her waste and pulled her closer until they were chest to chest, hips to hips. He shifted, allowing her body to rub against his, allowing him to get a better feel of all her soft swells and lean muscle.
            And that was the moment she responded. Her hips met his pressure. Her mouth moved under his. The hand at his chest gripped the fabric of his shirt, as if to keep him close.
            The clatter of ice hitting a plastic bucket echoed in the small space. “Did you see the cops out there, man? The guy asked. “Do you know what happened?”
            Teague didn’t answer. There was nothing that could make him pull away from Alyssa short of a cop holding a gun to his head, which he fully understood could happen at any moment.
            The man’s voice seemed to nudge Alyssa from a trance. She broke their kiss and looked up at Teague. Her eyes glimmered in the dim light, heavy-lidded, filled with surprise and confusion, and heat.
            “Can’t you see I’m busy here?” Teague didn’t have to fake the irritation in his voice.
            The other man harrumphed and continued to fill the bucket. Teague ran his thumb over Alyssa’s bottom lip, slid his palm to her jaw, and his fingers into her hair. He let his other hand drop to the low curve of her spine and pulled her hips against his again. Fully erect, he indented the soft swell at the center of her pelvis. She sucked in a breath, met his pressure, closed her eyes.
            Teague’s mind hazed over. Almost slid right out from under him. His groin pulsed with heat. His hands ached to roam. He couldn’t stop himself when his mouth fell back to hers. And she didn’t resist. Her hand pressed against his face in the most endearing way as she tipped her head and opened to him.
            The leash on his restraint snapped. He kissed her back with a hunger that reflected all those dark, desperate years alone. Years he thought he’d never feel a woman’s lips again.
            Her hand slid over the back of his neck as she tilted her head a little more. Up and over his scalp as she teased her tongue into his mouth. After an instant of shock, he accepted her invitation with a groan that felt as if it rumbled all the way from his feet. Lost himself in the texture of her, the heat of her. The sexy play she elicited with her lips, teeth, tongue was like unlocking a private playroom door, giving him a glimpse into the secrets she kept for a classified few.
            And he liked the private disclosure of those secrets. Really liked it.
            Teague’s veins were filled with high octane, his body ready for a long, hot, steady burn followed by an intense, shattering explosion but the time the racket from the ice machine ceased and the man started back down the walkway.
            “Might want to head back to your room,” he muttered. “Cops’ll find any excuse to bust you.”

(Favorite) Dialogue Highlight:

            Teague was about to turn away, but his gaze passed over Alyssa, and he stopped. How could he not? Even sooty and sweating and cut and bleeding she was heart melting. And every time he looked at her, all he could think about was how she tasted, how her body fit against his, how it felt to be inside her. Heaven. Absolute heaven on earth. Now, he’d have to spend the rest of his life without her, which would be sheer hell.
            He channeled the pain into frustration. This huge, ugly mess was no place for her. These people would never leave him alone. If she continued to follow him, if he continued to allow a relationship, she’d never be safe.
            “A fire?” he mocked. “A car fire? What were you thinking, genius? If I’d wanted to start a fire, I could have done it myself.”
            Her eyes narrowed, and her mouth curved into a sneer. “You can’t even catch a paper bag on fire. For your information, I’ve done more research on your powers and what you have isn’t pyrokinesis, it’s thermokinesis. So you may be able to change your body temperature – note, I said change, not control, because God knows you’re not in control of much – but, babe, you aren’t starting any fires.”
            Smart-ass little…He leaned into her and lowered his voice. “That’s not what you said last – “
            “Woah, woah, woah.” Mitch put a hand on Teague’s chest and pushed him back.


Holy Wow! I was completely blown away by this debut novel. Sometimes you can be skeptical about a debut author, not having any point of reference, but Ms. Swan had a couple of things going for her before I ever cracked the cover. First, she understands the draw of a fabulous cover. I mean look at that body! The man is frickin fantastic. Makes you want to pet the pretty. *stops to pet the pretty* Okay! *coughs* and … Second, I have been following Ms. Swan on Twitter for quite some time as well as periodically stalking her blog. This all before I knew she had a book coming out. Her blog is very entertaining. She engages her guests and asks fun questions. And she clearly knows a lot about the business. I did have a nagging inkling of doubt when I started reading, wondering if I had worked myself up into a frenzy with my excitement to read it, effectively sabotaging the book and not getting quite what I wanted from it. I am delighted to report that working myself up was only a portion of the thrill I experienced from this book.

I don’t think I had realized it was a romantic suspense prior to the read. I mean I understood that it had conflict that had to be sorted out, but that doesn’t always add up to suspense. But boy did this book have suspense. I absolutely fell in love with both main characters and have an overwhelming urge to read about the fabulous supporting characters. I was engaged from the first page and the book never let me go until it ended. My only regret was that it did end. I found myself frequently looking at how much was left to read, knowing I was nearing the final pages, and wishing more pages would magically appear.

Teague – love that name, by the way – is not what he first seems. In fact, he couldn’t be anything further from his first impressions. I thoroughly enjoyed how Ms. Swan only let us in on his true background in bits and pieces. She didn’t lay it all out there and immediately flip the reader’s mind, she let the reader gradually reassess just exactly who this man was much in the same way Alyssa did. Alyssa is constantly grappling for the right thread of truth to cling to throughout her entire “ordeal” with Teague. I say ordeal for lack of a better word, but please don’t misunderstand. There are some high points within this ordeal. She makes an immediate judgment call about Teague’s character, which seems pretty accurate given the circumstances. And who could blame her? But as the hours tick by (the book takes place in the span of a few days), she begins to war within herself. Is Teague who he seems to be, or it there a real human being somewhere within; a human being she is drawn to despite trying desperately not to acknowledge such a longing. As the deception unfold – and there is a whole lot of deception, Yo! – Teague and Alyssa’s roles dramatically switch from the first couple of chapters. And their sexual chemistry? Holy hotness Batman! Ms. Swan knocked it out of the park by allowing the sexual tension to build to a blazing desire, making their surrender to each other that much better.

I will say that as much as was revealed, there is also much left undiscovered. Revelations sure to be addressed in the next book, Blaze, which will be Luke and Keira’s story. I have to say I was pretty sure these two would be the next couple explored and I am fervently looking forward to reading it. Blaze is due for release in October. But I also have a hunger for Mitch’s story as well. Mitch is … intriguing … would probably be the best word to describe him. I get the impression he exists in one realm and operates in an entirely different one. I truly hope he will be the story that will be book 3! But I digress …

My only complaint within this book is the lack of background between Jason Vasser and Jocelyn. I understand that this was not their story, but enough was hinted at that there was a story at one time. A story, I gather, that did not translate to the same ending for both parties with Vasser’s obvious remaining fantastical idea of he and Jocelyn together and Jocelyn’s apparent lack of interest. But I also wonder what occurred that made Jocelyn such a cold-hearted bitch. She clearly has an ax to grind. The question remains whether the ax is hers personally, or simply her carrying out the best interests of the Senator. I have a feeling Jocelyn will be revisited in some way in the following book(s), though I am not sure in what capacity. I do have one idea though … *zips lips* We’ll see whether I am right or not in the future.

Nominal complaint aside, Ms. Swan is an author to watch. With a debut like this, I have high hopes for her future releases. She clearly has a gift in writing. Overall, Fever is a fast-paced, super sexy, extremely suspenseful, engaging story. I was beyond satisfied with this read and look forward to many more in the future. Blaze is already on my TBR list! My recommendation? Buy! This! Book! You will not be disappointed.

(Uncorrected proof provided by Kensington for review.)

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