Monday, July 03, 2017

BOOK REVIEW and GIVEAWAY: FUEL FOR FIRE by JULIE ANN WALKER
















Title: Fuel for Fire
Author: Julie Ann Walker
Series: Black Knights Inc #10
Genres: Romantic Suspense 
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca 
Published: 4 July 2017
Pages: 384
Format: eARC 
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Reading Challenges: 2017 New ReleaseNetgalley and EdelweissCOYER


Buy :  Amazon |BN | iBooks| BAM

New York Times and USA Today bestseller Julie Ann Walker delivers red-hot romantic suspense in Fuel for Fire!

Dagan Zoelner has always had his eye on spunky CIA agent Chelsea Duvall. When a mission throws them together, this could be his only chance to win her heart for good.

Dagan Zoelner has made three huge mistakes. The first two left blood on his hands. The third left him wonderingwhat if?

What if he had told the woman of his dreams how he felt before his world fell apart?

Spitfire CIA agent Chelsea Duvall has always had a thing for bossy, brooding Dagan. It’s just as well that he’s never given her a second look, since she carries a combustible secret about his past that threatens to torch their lives...



Fuel for Fire by Julie Ann Walker is the tenth book (10th) book in the Black Knights Inc series and my first book by the author. I was worried at first that this being the tenth (10th) book in the series I would be lost, but my worries were for nought. It can be read as a stand-alone.

What the story is about.

The story follows Dagan Zoelner, a former CIA agent and a covert operative for Black Knights Inc.  He is broody and with good reason. Dagan had experienced immeasurable loss in both his personal and professional life. However, through all these changes the one thing that remained constant was his feelings for the spunky CIA agent, Chelsea Sullivan.

Chelsea has been carrying a torch for Dagan for as long as she can remember. However, she never revealed her feelings for fear they were not reciprocated. Their current assignment has placed them in a situation where they are forced to confront their feelings for each other. However, Chelsea carries a secret from both their pasts, which if revealed destroy both their lives.

 My Perspective

The Story
The story was all I had hoped for and more. It was action packed, suspenseful, humorous and explosive. I was pulled into the story from the outset and had a hard time putting it down.  The fast-paced plot, slow burning romance, nail-biting moments, the sexy banter and the verbal sparring held me captive from start to finish. 

The story was told in alternate third person POVs, which I had no problem with, as I could connect with the characters and the story. This is one of those times that this POV worked for me as the story was written in a way that made me feel as if I were on the inside looking out. The author’s descriptive style of writing helped to enrich my experience with the story. 

I thought the suspense was well done. It was done in such a way it had me on the edge of my seat. I loved that it did not overshadow the romantic elements, which I find to be a major problem in most of the book I have read within this genre. It was perfectly balanced. 

The Main Characters
I enjoyed the interaction between the main characters. Their connection was heartfelt and explosive. Their banter was funny and filled with lots of sexual tension. I loved the pace at which their relationship developed. Their feelings for each other had been kept under wraps for a long time so this was definitely not a case of instant attraction.  Their constant bickering and antagonism towards each other were a cover for their true feelings, but their friends saw what they failed to see.

Dagan is haunted by the mistakes of his past and believes he is not good enough for Chelsea. I felt his pain of having to work so closely with the woman he loves, but not being able to act on his feelings. 

He is protective of Chelsea and wants to keep her safe, but she believes his actions are as a result of him not having confidence in her abilities as an agent. His protective nature grew a notch when their current assignment placed her in harm’s way. 

She is spunky and as no qualms about going toe to toe with him when she feels he is behaving like an ass. However, her acts of bravado covered up a deep-seated fear that a secret she has been keeping will one day blow up in her face.

Supporting Characters.

I enjoyed the dynamics of the supporting cast, which helped to make the story entertaining and riveting. They were well portrayed, making it easy for me to like them and eager to know more about them. I especially loved Christian and Emily who were member of the team. It is evident that there is chemistry between these two, which I am eager to see the author explore. I enjoyed the camaraderie shared between the members of the team, which was fun and entertaining.  The ease with which they had fun at each other’s expense demonstrated the strength of their friendship

 Conclusion
The ending as it relates to Chelsea and Dagan’s relationship was neatly wrapped up, and it left me with a smile on my face. However, as it relates to their assignment, which involved taking a notorious criminal syndicate. The leader of the syndicate who went by the moniker Spider has proven to be elusive and difficult to capture. He always seems to be one-step ahead. It is clear; they have been in pursuit of Spider prior to this instalment. 

Recommendation:
Fans of romantic suspense will enjoy Fuel for Fire and I am looking forward to the next book in the series. I also plan to read the previous books in the series, as it appears I have been missing a lot


EXCERPT

Tell us!” Surry demanded again, giving her head a hard shake. Her brain banged around inside her skull, making her see stars. Since she was tied with a length of electrical cord to one of the chairs in front of Morrison’s desk, her hands duct-taped behind her back, there was little she could do to defend herself.

Then again, she still had her smart mouth. “Screw you, buddy,” she snarled. Those three words were all she allowed herself before she clenched her teeth and sealed her lips shut.

The violence that clouded Surry’s face and glinted in his hell-black eyes made her want to curl into a protective ball. He leaned down so that his nose was an inch from hers. His hot breath smelled of coffee and buttered croissants, and the thought of him actually eating struck her as weird. She had assumed he sustained himself by devouring the souls of Morrison’s enemies.

“You will bloody well tell us what we want to know, Miss Duvall.” When he spoke all low and menacing in that thick English accent, she got the unsettling feeling that something dark moved in the shadows just out of sight. “Or I will jab this letter opener into your carotid.” He pulled back to wield the weapon he had taken from Morrison’s desktop. The sterling-silver letter opener glinted in the golden glow cast by the overhead chandelier.

Releasing her face, Surry cocked his head. “So, what shall it be? The truth? Or the knife? The choice is yours.” There was an emptiness in his voice when he asked the questions. Like he didn’t really care what the answers would be. Like he was tired or bored or mayberesigned?

Oh, that doesn’t bode well.
Of course, the truth was out of the question. She would never rat on the Black Knights. No telling what Morrison, a.k.a Spider, with all his power and connections, could do with that information. So that leftthe knife.

But there’s still so much I want to do!
She had never learned to make her mother’s she-crab soup. She had never tried her hand at writing fiction like that of Tolkien or Rowling or Martin. She had never married the love of her life and given him two bouncing, chubby-cheeked babies.

A cold finger of terror dragged up her spine, and for a second she considered spilling her guts and saving her hide. But then, from somewhere deep inside, a well of strength erupted, filling her with determination and the will to do what must be done.

Her mind briefly touched on her mother, and a great sadness weighed down her heart. Grace Duvall would be devastated by the death of her only child. But Chelsea took comfort—cold comfort, but comfort all the same—in knowing that her life insurance policy would be enough to pay her mother’s debts. That was something. Something to hold on to.

“Well?” Surry demanded. “What will it be?”
Chelsea licked her lips. Fear was a living thing inside her, crawling through her chest like a centipede on prickly legs. She squashed it and sealed her own fate. “Do your worst, you sorry, low-life sonofagun!”

Surry’s beard-stubbled chin jerked back as if he couldn’t believe the choice she’d made. Then his eyes narrowed, and grim determination transformed his face.

Closing her eyes, Chelsea waited on the inevitable. That centipede was going crazy inside her, making her chest ache and raising the hair on her head. She braced herself for the deathblow as a million regrets, a million joys, a million memories flittered through her brain. Funny how many of those regrets and joys and memories feature Dagan. She held her breath, savoring it, knowing it was her last and—and—

“Drop. The. Knife.”
With a cry, she blinked open her eyes and craned her head around to see three figures dressed from head to toe in black. Each of them wielded a weapon as if it were an extension of himself.

The Black Knights…


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