Playing with Fire by Cynthia Eden
Series: Phoenix Fire #3
Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation on May 29, 2018
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OLD FLAMES NEVER DIE . . . Cassie Armstrong has plenty to atone for. The daughter of the most immoral researcher ever to pick up a scalpel, she's determined to use her own brilliance in genetics to repair the damage her family has done to the paranormals. Especially Dante, the first of the phoenixes, the one they call the Immortal. He's been haunting her dreams since she was a little girl, and she's been trying to ease his pain for almost as long. If only he remembered any of it . . .
Dante doesn't know what Cassie's story is. He almost doesn't care. The minute he sees her, all he can think is mine. But there's more to the pretty little doctor than meets the eye. And Dante isn't the only one to notice. He can't trust her, but he can't stay away--and if he wants to learn her secrets, he's going to have to fight like hell to keep them both alive . . .
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
Playing with Fire was my first Cynthia Eden book and not having read any other books in the series, I found the story easy to follow. It encompasses humans and paranormal beings brought together by Cassie’s quest to undo the damage her father had created.
There’s more to Cassie than even she is aware of. Her strong sense of social justice is spurred on because she too has experienced the trauma of being one of her father’s study subjects. The insight provided by her father’s insane obsession with creating enhanced humans was disturbing and left me with no doubt as to why Cassie was hell-bent on making up for her father’s legacy.
Dante is a phoenix shifter and his connection to Cassie goes back years but he has no recollection of Cassie nor why he can’t ignore her. His ability to disappear into a pile of ashes was a great escape but left Cassie at risk each time it happened. It meant Cassie was a survivor and her main problem was getting Dante to accept her ability to look after herself.
The paranormal focus is predominantly between vampires and shifters. My shifter reading preference leans towards wolves so to meet a phoenix shifter was an interesting twist. With each burning, Dante emerges anew but not always intact with his memories of Cassie. What he knows is that he can’t hurt her and he will destroy anyone who threatens her safety.
Although her father is no longer a threat, his legacy is. Cassie soon finds she is running out of time as she attempts to beat the clock in her fight against an unknown entity. The challenges she faces are ongoing, ever-changing and the chances of her finding a solution are fading rapidly. I struggled with the numerous convenient fixes they found themselves in. The proverbial handy vehicles on hand just when they needed them had my eyes rolling. Another scenario left me wondering if I had missed a vital sentence after a Lazarus feat from a character who shouldn’t have been able to survive what they had experienced.
While I had no trouble keeping up with the story, I am wondering if the situations I considered too convenient were aspects of a world building set up in earlier books. Cassie’s strength and focus on saving others kept me turning pages while reading Playing With Fire. All the way through, I was haunted by the knowledge that when you play with fire, there is a good chance of getting burnt.
3.5 Fireball Stars
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