Tempted by Fate
by Kate Perry
(Grand Central, $7.99, R) ISBN 978-0-446-56462-5
Willow is the Guardian of Wood. She is one of five Guardians, each holding a sacred scroll that imbibes the Guardians with powers that work with that element. She has two goals in life. 1. Protect the scroll and keep the sacred powers of the Wood element safe from harm. 2. Kill the man who killed her mother. Every time she comes close to finding him, he gets away, often trying to have her killed in the process.

She finally gets a lead on her mother’s illusive killer, which brings her to San Francisco. Following a tip from a man who claims to have information on The Bad Man, (which is what he’s called. No, I’m not kidding.) Willow goes to meet her tipster, only to find him and another man dead...and the police are already on the way. Willow knows she has been framed and she takes off.

No nonsense Inspector Rick Ramirez has been working several cases now where things just aren’t adding up. Things are happening that defy logic. When he finds himself at the scene of a recent double homicide, and sees a woman with long white-blonde hair slip away from the scene of the crime, he does what any decent Inspector would do. He tries to track her down to see if she could be the possible murderer.

Both Rick and Willow need to solve these murders. Willow, to find her mother’s killer, and Rick because it’s his job. Rick suspects Willow, Willow needs Rick to stay out of her way. Naturally, Willow can’t get away from Rick. There wouldn’t be much of a story if she had.

Now the two of them must put their beliefs aside and place trust in the other one. No easy feat for the two of them. Now Rick must that things are not always black and white, and Willow must learn to trust someone and let them in to her heart. But can she tell him about her Guardianship? Now if only they can learn to work together without giving into their every growing passion. Fat Chance!

Tempted by Fate is a mix of spicy passion and action adventure story with supernatural elements. The notion of their being five individuals who have been charged with protecting an Element is intriguing and works well in the series (this is book 3). I enjoyed the way Willow’s powers were well incorporated into the story line without them becoming too dominant and muddying up the story.

Rick is charming and his inability to believe in what is (clearly) going on around him, is a combination of cute (like, aww...look, he’s in denial! Cute.) and frustrating (because, come on! Trees move by themselves and take out minor villains!) His sexual interest in Willow is obvious. She’s tall, blonde and gorgeous. Plus, she can kick some serious butt!

Willow is a sexy bad ass.I found that from time to time, she fell too far into the bad ass, jaded past, burden to bare, doesn’t trust anyone, stereotype, but she was witty and interesting which redeemed her.

Rick and Willow together are electric. The sexual tension is not masked even remotely. How they jumped from “I want to sleep with you” to “I love you” in such a short amount of time is beyond me. I didn’t find much that convinced me that love was blooming until BAM! They were in love. It was startling and didn’t sit well with me. It seemed rather forced from time to time.

As for supporting characters, Perry knocks it out of the park. Rick’s grandmother Lita is awesome. She’s a healer who knows and understands that magic is all around us. She’s wise, knows how to get through to both Willow and Rick and does fall a little too nicely into the “Old Wise Woman” stereotype, but she’s wonderful enough that I just don’t care.

Morgan, Willow’s “Office Manager” (which is used as more police friendly title then Hacker Extraordinaire, which is what she is) is great. She’s nerdy, sarcastic, tells it like it is and has a great time doing it. She’s geek-adorable and I hope she gets her own book, as she is really fun to read about.

The story line did throw a few curve balls, some that worked, some that didn’t. I won’t go into details (as curve ball plot twists are not meant to be revealed prematurely), but there were a few that I found to be over the top and unnecessary.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and found myself getting more and more into it the farther I went. My pet peeves with the book might no longer be in the book, I’m not sure (the copy I was given to review was an uncorrected proof), but even with the bits and pieces that came off as over the top or unnecessary, I would still recommend the story. Tempted by Fate is entertaining and has its moments of greatness, despite a few dips into stereotypical territory.

--Lindsey Seddon

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