Reviewed by Tori and Mandi
Blurb: Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.
Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.
Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world
Mandi: First and foremost, and I think this is important – I’ve seen this book marketed as a paranormal romance, more ‘romancy’ than their Kate Daniels series. I have to disagree. This is urban fantasy all the way. Yes, there is going to be an eventual HEA between Nevada and Mad, but just like with Kate and Curran, things were not all hunky dory after book one. I think there is a kiss in this book, but that’s all. While I think this book is pretty fab, I was expecting a HEA conclusion in this book because of the marketing I’ve seen. That is not the case.
Now onto the good stuff. Nevada and Mad. Oh how intriguing these two are. Nevada works for her family’s investigative agency, and still lives with her mom, grandmother and crazy siblings. (her mother and grandmother are pretty awesome themselves – more about them later). This world is dominated by the wealthy and magic, ranging in five different levels from minor to Prime. Nevada gets forced (by the mortgage company that owns her business) to bring in the Prime who has killed recently using his fire magic abilities.
“Adam Pierce could conjure a fire that would melt a cubic foot of stainless steel. That made Pierce a Prime, the highest rank of magic user. Everybody wanted him – the military, Home Defense, and the private sector.”
Adam is very handsome and famous, he is a charmer and a flirt – besides being extremely deadly. People are equally in love with him and terrified of him. He is brazen and a show-off and his odd villainous ways are very intriguing in this story.
But he is not our hero. That is saved by the oh so sexy, oh so interesting Mad Rogan. Tori, I’ll let you do the honors.
Tori: First off, I want to reiterate what you said in the beginning, Mandi. This is not a romance. It has romantic elements but the marketing of it as a PNR is somewhat duplicitous. This storyline falls firmly into Urban Fantasy and is dark in its make up. This is readily apparent in the first meeting between Nevada and our “hero” Mad Rogan.
Had I known you were going to pull a pretty ribbon out of your sleeve like some two-bit magician, tie me up with it, and indulge your mental torture fetish in your basement, I would’ve shot you. Many times.”
“Men like you enjoy being flattered.”
“I’ve broken Significant mages in this trap,” he said, his voice matter-of-fact[…] I’ll break you.”
“You will try.”
Conner “Mad” Rogan. The Butcher of Merida. The Scourge of Mexico. One of the most powerful primes alive and the head of one of the richest houses. A war veteran whose skills in battle are still talked about, in both awe and horror, to this day. To call him a hero is an oxymoron. Let’s just say he’s not as bad as some and call it a day. He’s antisocial, deadly, slightly insane, and possibly a sociopath. He has no moral constraints and believes the end justifies the means. He can and has killed to achieve his goals. Oh yes…and he’s very, very, very sexy.
He had a sturdy, chiseled jaw, a strong nose, and a square forehead. He looked rough around the edges, from the trace of stubble on his jaw to the short, tousled dark hair. Rough, masculine, and arrestingly sexual. His eyes, smart and clear under the thick, dark eyebrows, evaluated everything he saw with calm precision, but deep inside those blue irises, a cold fire glowed. The same kind of lethal fire you would see in the amber eyes of a tiger, predatory yet irresistible. It compelled you to stare, even though you knew that if you caught his gaze, that icy fire would swallow you whole. He pulled me like a magnet. Every female instinct I had went into overdrive.
Nevada and Mad are like oil and water. As a prime, Mad automatically assumes that he is the stronger of the two but Nevada has skills of her own. The attraction is there but Nevada is no push over; ready to fall on her back and succumb to his wicked wicked ways…no matter how much she wants to. *waggles eyebrows* She doesn’t like him. At all. He has no control over her and that both infuriates and intrigues Mad.
“If you hang up on me again, I will slice your car into small pieces and hang them on your roof like Christmas wreaths.”
“First, destroying my property is a crime, just like kidnapping me is a crime. Second, how exactly is mincing my car into small pieces supposed to convince me to come to lunch with you? Third, if you’re close enough to slice my car, I’m close enough to shoot you in the head. Can you deflect bullets if you don’t know they’re coming?”
“I’m trying to be reasonable,” he said. “Come to lunch with me and we can exchange information or . . .”
“Or what? My mother and grandmother are right here. Shall I pass the phone to them so you can threaten them with terrible things if I don’t agree to lunch?”
“Will it do any good?”
A heady mixture of action, mystery, and suspense is offset by the Andrews trademark dry sardonic wit. I laughed throughout this book. The investigative angle takes it a step above your average Urban Fantasy. Dynamic characters saturate the storyline with fabulous dialogue and intriguing subplots. I adored our protagonists but fell in love with Nevada’s family. It always seems in Urban Fantasy that the heroine has family issues. Either she is disowned by them or totally alone in the world. Not so with Nevada. Her family is alive and kicks arse. Extremely close and loving, her family would do anything for her and vice versa. Her loyalty is to them and only them. Nevada’s grandmother kept me in tears with her commentary on the sexual appeal of both Adam and Mad while Nevada’s mother, a highly skilled war veteran herself, threatens to take out anyone who hurt her baby.
“Would the Barrett be enough?” Grandma Frida asked. “Isn’t he supposed to bounce bullets off of his chest?”
“It fires .50 cal at twice the speed of sound. It will hit him before he ever hears the shot.” My mother crossed her arms. “I’d like to see him bounce that off his chest.”
Add in Nevada’s two squabbling sisters and her brother’s bro-crush on Mad and you can’t help but giggle every time they open their mouths.
What did you think, Mandi?
Mandi: I thought this book was really great. At first I was so worried I’d compare it constantly to Kate Daniels (even though I then realized this author wrote The Edge series, which I loved – so I have read other things besides just Kate from this author) – I have to say, they have created a great world. I love this magic world – and yet we still have so much left to explore. Nevada does remind me a lot of Kate – she is extremely loyal to her family and also a total bad ass. But I love those characteristics in a heroine. And I love that there is this great divide between Mad and Nevada – and yet you know that they are eventually headed to love. Oh it’s going to be such a fun ride.
The supporting characters are great too – this author makes the villain so sexy and charming and lethal. There are a lot of players in this world and the foundation is set out very nicely. I laughed at Nevada’s fierce mother and grandmother and I swooned over Mad Rogan, not going to lie. I give this a solid B+
Tori: I agree wholeheartedly. I’m not one to normally enjoy set up books because they are often geared to explaining the world and arc and you don’t always get a lot of action. The Andrews have a gift in being able to balance this aspect and give their readers fantastic starts to new series. I did see some similarities in the characterization of these characters to their Kate Daniels series (Mad’s threats of Nevada’s eventual copulation) but it’s not redundant and the Andrews are able to individualize the players, imparting personality and a sense of uniqueness. I am looking forward to watching this romance develop. I sense it will be the ultimate battle of the wills.
All in all an exhilarating ride that has me already wishing for book two-title and release date to be announced. I give this an A.