Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Fire, #1
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Hero: James Alexander Bishop
Heroine: Evangeline Morrissey
Date of Publication: May 26, 2015
Started On: May 10, 2015
Finished On: May 11, 2015
Ever since I received an ARC of this number on Netgalley, I have been biding my time, savoring the delicious fuzzies that has been coursing through me at the thought of delving into an Anne Stuart novel, and that too a romantic suspense of the variety of the ICE series that first got me hooked onto her writing. If you have never read the wonderful books in the ICE series, worry not. The debut book of the Fire series works wonderfully well as a standalone though I would recommend reading the ICE series because ALL of them were FIVE STAR reads for me!
Consumed by Fire stars a member of the infamous Committee, a group of elite mercenaries of sorts funded by the richest of the rich, the aim to keep democracies functioning across the globe. Leaving the technicalities of all that aside, Bishop is a hero that perfectly fits the mold of heroes that Anne Stuart is famous for delivering, especially in her ICE series. Cold, aloof, and beautiful for the lack of a better word. Yes, the heroes Anne Stuart creates are nothing short of a work of art.
When Evangeline Morrissey encounters Bishop and his partner during one of their missions, Evangeline has no idea what she is getting herself into when she agrees to have dinner with a man as enigmatic as they come. Every brain cell that has made Evangeline the academic she is flees South, leaving her in the throes of passion of the kind she has never experienced before. But the next thing she knows, the man who takes her as his wife and gives her three days and nights of soul searing passion leaves her, taking her diamond earrings along with him.
Fast forward to five years later and Bishop once again enters her life, in the name of keeping her safe from his enemies that has found out that when it comes to him, his only vulnerability lies in the woman with whom he got married to all those years ago. Thus begins the ride of a lifetime, a story that sweeps you away on the sort of journey that only Anne Stuart and her mastery is capable of delivering. There is not a moment of dullness to be had, not a thing I would change in this absolute perfection of a novel that Anne Stuart has penned. Yet again, I bow down to the absolute wizardry behind every word she writes, the darkness in her novels exactly what this wretched soul of mine craves. There is none like Anne Stuart and I fear that there would never ever be!
I’ve missed the ICE novels. Knowing this was coming out within this year was a godsend. And getting my hands on it before it’s release was one of the best ‘gifts’ I could’ve ever received this year. Anne Stuart stormed her way into my reading life through her ICE series. I’ve neither forgotten nor left behind the memories of how each and every single book in the series made me feel. So to have a book that brought back with it the exact same feeling of exhilaration was more than enough reward for having waited patiently for a novel like this to come out. And thus once again dear Anne Stuart, you have proven to your fans that when it comes to writing books of the kind, none compares to you!
James Alexander Bishop; the man has a way with tangling your insides up with need, the need to see him fall hard and fall bad, the need to claim him as your own. You don’t get heroes who are demanding in bed and mushy and sweet out of it when it comes to Anne Stuart and especially the ICE series. What you get are men who tests the very limits of your acceptance & patience & yet somehow you can’t help but fall irrevocably in lust and love with every single one of them. James Bishop steals your heart from the minute his devastating brand of charm seduces the heart of Evangeline’s and nothing that he did thereafter could change the fact, which is saying a lot.
I loved the subtle differences in the heroine this story had to offer. In ICE novels, it’s almost always the case for the hero to be the one in icy control, forever able to deny his feelings for the woman who changes the very core of existence. The women though strong, tend to not be dangerous in their own right. With Evangeline I felt that she was more than equally matched for Bishop in more subtle ways. Like the way she could hold her own when it comes to him even with the sheer rage that courses through her veins coming across him five years after he’d abandoned her. The fact that she could stimulate his mind, push HIS comfort zone and make him face the reality of his messed up feelings when it comes to her was telling in itself. Pairing an academic and a professional assassin who strikes off sparks against each other that rivals even the most fiery of lightening storms; therein lies the sheer ingenuity that is Anne Stuart.
The perfect balance of romance, action & scorching hot sex, heated enough to melt a few of your brain cells and then some is what Consumed by Fire delivers. An apt title if you ask me, considering the fact that when Bishop and Evangeline come together, there’s nothing short of a major avalanche of feelings, angst and sexual tension happening that seems crazy enough to pull and claw at you until they give in to the visceral need deep inside of them. Loved Bishop and Evangeline & practically everything about the novel. And dear Anne Stuart, thank you for an ending that gave me the sort of closure I needed after the sort of wild roller coaster ride that was this novel. This one lands straight up in my favorites shelf. Can’t wait for Ryder’s story to come out!
Final Verdict: Consumes your very being & puts your senses afire. Anne Stuart’s mastery remains unrivaled!
She reached up and tried to unfasten the buttons to his shirt, but the fabric was wet and stubborn, and she needed to feel his skin against her. She yanked at in frustration, and he laughed softly against her neck. “Patience, Angel,” he whispered, covering her frantic hands with his. “I’ll take care of it.”
He released her, only for a moment, as he simply ripped the shirt open and yanked it off. She knew what kind of strength was needed to tear that wet linen, and she shivered.
His head moved down, his mouth latching onto her nipple, sucking, and she felt a spasm of reaction between her legs. She liked this. Men had always been so gentle with her breasts, so tender, and she’d felt nothing.
James Bishop was rough, demanding, and she could no more resist those demands than she could fly. He moved to her other breast, leaving the first distended and needy, and when she felt his teeth on her a spasm rocked her body, shocking her.
“Shhhh,” he quieted her. “There’s nothing to be sorry about. No rules, just what feels good. And what I want now is you. I’m going to fuck you, fuck you fast and hard, and you’re going to take it, aren’t you?” His voice was low, intense, and he was doing something with his hand. It took her a moment to realize he was sheathing himself with a condom; she had no idea where it had come from and she didn’t care. “You’re going to let me fuck you blind, and when you come you’re going to put your mouth on me and scream into my skin until you can’t scream any more. And then I’m going to take you into the tiny bed in your room and we’ll do it all over again.”
“Not yet,” he growled in her ear. “Don’t come yet.” “I don’t … know if I … can help it,” she gasped. “You can.” He punctuated his words with a hard thrust that pushed her up against the wet, slippery wall. “You can do exactly what I tell you to do. You’re going to let me fuck you, and you’re going to fuck me back, and when I tell you to come then you will.”
“Put your mouth on my shoulder,” he whispered in a tight voice. She obeyed immediately, licking the water off his skin. “Bite,” he said, slamming her back against the tile, going rigid in her arms, and her pent up release erupted, a scream started in the back of her throat, and mindless, blind, she sank her teeth into his shoulder, harder as each wave hit her, an endless trail of climaxes, each one stronger than the last, until she was sobbing, she could taste blood, and he was still thrusting inside her, slowing almost imperceptibly.
He’d pushed himself up on his elbows, and was looking down at her in the inky darkness; and for a moment they were suspended in time, staring at each other. “Fuck it,” he said finally, sliding one hand behind her neck to pull her mouth up to his.
His kiss was air to a drowning man, oxygen to an asthmatic. His open mouth closed over hers and his breath filled her lungs and her veins, and she was alive again, blood pumping through her body as he kissed her, his tongue sliding against hers with such perfect intimacy that she wanted to weep.
He’d been a carefully banked fire, but with her hands on his skin he seemed to explode, and his patience vanished. He reached down and tore her cutoffs open, the strength in his hands shocking her as the zipper and denim gave way, yanked them down her legs, complete with her underwear, and threw them into the darkness. Her uneasiness returned—this was Bishop, this was a stranger. This was her husband, this was a thief and a liar. This was the man she loved, this was the man she despised. This man was a lover.
This man was a killer.
She heard the rip of his zipper, the quick shove of clothes, and for one brief moment the head of his cock against her, large and heavy, and it had been so long…
He thrust into her, hard, and she cried out. not in pain, though it hurt, but with a pleasure so powerful it shook her. He was so big, filling her, and it seemed as if she’d been empty forever, needing him, only him, and no one could take his place.
He pulled out of her, and she screamed in protest, hitting him. He was panting in the darkness, and his hands were rough as he flipped her over, yanking her hips up. “This way,” he growled, and pushed in again, deeper than ever, and she wanted more. The pain wasn’t important, the feel of him deep, deep inside her was what mattered, and she let go, taking his fierce thrusts with such raw satisfaction that she might die from it. This was life, this was what she needed, only this, forever, in the darkness.
“Let go, Angel.” His voice was a rasp in her ear, and she heard the name with a twisted kind of joy. “Let go of it all.”
She shook her head, beyond words, fighting it, fighting him, fighting to survive. He was stripping everything from her, she would die…
“Let go, Angel,” he whispered again, and it sounded like love. “I’ll catch you.”
“Please…” she gasped, as he rubbed her clitoris, her entire body vibrating with frustrated need. “It’s too much.” He let go of her breast with a sucking pop, and unbelievably the sensation brought another sharp stab of desire. “nothing’s too much,” he growled, pulling back. Before she realized what he was doing he’d flipped her over, pulled her onto her knees at the edge of the bed, and he pushed into her from the back, past her wet, swollen tissues to the very heart of her, so deep, so deep, and she buried her face in the sheets that smelled of their sex, clinging to them, panting.