Just the Way You Are

A Knight To Remember

Lost in Your Arms

My Fair Temptress

My Favorite Bride

My Scandalous Bride

Once A Knight

Once Upon a Pillow

One Kiss From You
The Prince Kidnaps a Bride

Rules of Attraction

Rules of Engagement

Rules of Surrender

The Runaway Princess

Scandalous Again

Scent of Darkness

That Scandalous Evening

Scottish Brides

Someday My Prince

Trouble in High Heels

A Well Favored Gentleman

A Well Pleasured Lady

Chains of Fire
by Christina Dodd
(Signet Select, $7.99, R) ISBN 978-0-451-41292-8
Christina Dodd's latest installment of the Chosen Ones series is the first time two ‘Chosen’ hook up instead of a regular every day non-magical person. The couple in question are both sarcastic, prideful and passionate. So naturally shenanigans ensue.

Chains of Fire follows the budding (or should I say re-budding) romance between Chosen Ones Samuel Faa and Isabelle Mason. Samuel and Isabelle have been on-again off-again lovers since they were teenagers. They've both hurt each other in the past and, while they work together, they have decided to keep their distance from one another. This is primarily due to Samuel being a colossal jerk (which is pointed out frequently) and Isabelle being quite prideful. Both have 'Chosen One' powers, which prove to be useful throughout the story. Samuel can bend the will of others to his wishes and Isabelle can heal other people by taking their injuries into herself. Together, Samuel and Isabelle are explosive and not always in a good way.

While at a charity event in Switzerland, they discover that a child with powers much like theirs is being abused nearby by the Others (the bad guys with magical powers). They go to save the child, succeed and on the way home, are attacked by unseen assailants, or as I like to call them, hired goons. Taking advantage of the Swiss Alps location, the goons set off a series of bombs, thus starting an avalanche. Isabelle and Samuel have just enough time to make it to a nearby ski lodge and once the snow hits, they become trapped in the basement locker room.

Now the ex-lovers are trapped underground beneath a mountain of snow. They have to figure out how to get out before they run out of air and how to survive in the meantime. To top it all off, they have to fight their own raging hormones and unresolved feelings for each other.

It's the perfect setup. Samuel and Isabelle want each other. They're both so stubborn that they don't want to give into their needs, thus ramping up the sexual tension and they could die, thus lowering their inhibitions. But even given all of that ideal scene making, I didn't really feel the attraction between the two of them until late into their time under ground. Even then I wasn't particularly wowed by their attraction to each other. Only after they get out of the ski lodge (Surprise! They don’t suffocate or succumb to pneumonia.) does the romance between them really start to heat up. While I appreciate that things between them did eventually become sexually charged, I was hoping for that spark of passion a lot sooner. However, the witty banter that peppers the book, mostly compliments of the sarcastic natures of Isabelle and Samuel were hilarious and kept the ball rolling in the slower moments of the story.

As far as the characters go, each one has his or her own story and magical power. Both Isabelle and Samuel belong to the Chosen Ones, a group of orphans who were gifted with powers at birth because they were abandoned by their parents. Samuel and Isabelle, along with the other magical and non-magical characters are all very well written and intriguing people in their own right. One in particular is very well done; Charisma, the goth girl is both funny and endearing. Charisma has yet to have her own novel, but when she does, I hope Christina Dodd knocks it out of the park, because Charisma is just that awesome. I became attached to her as a character very quickly.

Due to the destruction of their head quarters prior to Chains of Fire, the surviving Chosen Ones move in with Irving, the only senior member left alive. Together, they must discover how to defend themselves and the 'Abandoned Ones' (children abandoned by their parents) from the Others. The Others have a deal with the devil, so beating them naturally proves to be troublesome.

Dodd knows how to weave an incredibly complicated story line, complete with enough characters with back stories that she (thankfully) includes a character key at the beginning of the novel. I will give her credit for being able to keep the story lines of all of the main characters moving simultaneously.

As for the steamy sections of Chains of Fire, Dodd's attention to detail and rough and tumble writing style makes for one heck of a love scene. I was impressed. I give Chains of Fire four hearts for four reasons. One, Dodd has woven a very complicated and very solid story line which is both engaging and easy to follow. Two, while the romance between Isabelle and Samuel didn't do much for me, the other characters were great and fun to watch. Thirdly, though the story line has been used in the past, it still makes for a good story that I think, if Dodd pushed her characters a little bit more, her novels could pack a heck of a wallop. Lastly, her sex scenes were very well done and deserve a heart.

So if you're a Christina Dodd fan, or simply enjoy a good paranormal romance, I would advise adding Chains of Fire to your 'To Read' list.

--Lindsey Seddon

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