Within the Flames by Marjorie M. Liu
HarperCollins/AVON (Nov. 29, 2011)
Mass Market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
Favorite Lines: “You hide so much of your heart, even from yourself. Hide too long, and you will forget it’s there.” (p. 17, egalley)
Joining the Dirk & Steele Agency turned Eddie’s life around. A pyrokinetic and former car thief, he cannot refuse an assignment to cross the continent in order to rescue an extraordinary woman in peril. . . even though he fears losing control of the destructive power of flame at his fingertips.
The last of her shape-shifting kind, Lyssa hides in the abandoned tunnels beneath Manhattan, seeking refuge from those who murdered her family a decade ago and would now destroy her as well. Like Eddie, fire is her weapon, her destiny. . . and her curse. Yet she wants nothing to do with this mesmerizing stranger who seeks her trust while inflaming her passion. For beneath Lyssa’s extraordinary beauty are dangerous secrets. . . and even darker, nearly irresistible urges. But she has won the heart of a fearless protector. . . and all the demons in the world will not make him back down.
The cover totally fits the story. I especially like the depiction of the heroine’s right arm. Look carefully at it. It is not part of her dress.
Within the Flames is book 11 in Marjorie M. Liu’s Dirk and Steele series. I’ve read several of the books, but not all of them. In the past I’ve always been able to pick up and read each book as a stand alone. I was able to do the same with Within the Flames.
The heroine, Lyssa, is special. She is a permanently disfigured artist on the run. Of course, her hero doesn’t consider it to be a disfigurement. He is accepting of her and immediately feels drawn to her. Both are damaged–emotionally and physically. Both are also dangerous. With the two paired, enemies should think twice before challenging them, but that’s not how it workes out. The bad
guys girls, are vicious villains who are strong enough to have no fears.
Lyssa seems like a good girl who has learned to be careful in life. As the story progresses, the reader is shown major events that created the woman Lyssa became. I was startled to discover her heritage included a major, dark (bad–black magic) spot. However, she wouldn’t be willing or a believable match for her damaged mate had she not been slightly off.
Her hero, Eddie, is hiding his own secrets. They are damning and painful. They too shaped him into the man the reader meets. He would never accept a goody mate out of fear of his past tainting her. He needed someone and I’m pleased that he found a woman who needed him equally. He turns to flames and she will never burn in a flame. Perfect. Well, if they can survive the treachery surrounding them.
Like I said, Within the Flames is a Dirk and Steele novel, but it stands alone. There are hints to unknown stories, but all you need to know is included in the story. The book is packed with action, but has tender scenes which include the couple learning about one another. As they become closer their feelings transform from concern to love to protective to trusting. It was a pleasure reading their story and I’m sure I’ll revisit it sometime down the road.
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