Fever by Joan Swan (The Phoenix Rising #1)

Available: February 28, 2012 Amazon/B&N

Type: Paranormal Romantic Suspense

Publisher: Brava

My Copy: Sent

When Dr. Alyssa Foster is taken hostage by a prison inmate, she knows she’s in deep trouble. Not just because Teague Creek is desperate for freedom. But because the moment his fingers brush against her skin, Alyssa feels a razor-sharp pang of need…A man with a life sentence has nothing to lose. At least Teague doesn’t, until his escape plan develops a fatal flaw: Alyssa. On the run from both the law and deadly undercover operatives, he can only give her lies, but every heated kiss tells him the fire between them could be just as devastating as the flames that changed him forever.

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Teague Creek has been in jail for a crime he didn’t commit and now it’s time to get some justice. Kidnapping the girlfriend of someone he thinks holds all the cards seems like a easy way to get what he wants. Leverage. He never expected to kidnap the wrong woman. Especially one that looks as tempting as Alyssa and who can get his blood boiling every time the feisty woman opens her mouth. Getting his blood boiling though is another secret Teague harbors. His unique ability may be just what he needs to keep this woman safe and get what he’s sought all along. Justice.

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Fever is the first novel by Joan Swan. Each year I try to promote a few debut authors and I think with Joan I have struck a gold mine! How this is her first book is beyond me because she writes like a seasoned professional. Fever is a romantic suspense peppered with paranormal-ish abilities that blend together to form a solid, eye-catching book that is sure to entertain fans of both subgenres.

From the first page I really liked Teague. I felt horribly for him for everything he had been through. A wife who committed suicide, a girlfriend murdered, a fire that split his fellow fire fighters apart, a jail sentence for a crime he didn’t commit and finally a custody battle. That is enough angst to cripple even the strongest of men. Yet Teague remains steadfast in his need for justice. To achieve it he forms a plan for a daring jailbreak that hinges on grabbing a doctor, the girlfriend of the man who has Teague’s daughter, to use as leverage.

Except the woman he grabs isn’t the woman he thought she was. Instead he grabs Alyssa, the workaholic just trying to secure a prominent position at the hospital. She is strong, loud and incredibly mouthy which instantly grates on Teague’s jailbreak accomplice. I instantly warmed even more toward Teague when he was protecting Alyssa (though he didn’t know he had the wrong woman at that point) from various guys because of her mouth. I couldn’t get over how much she said. It was a BIT unbelievable that someone would say as much as she did to guys that she was sure were going to kill her. Having said that I appreciated her strong will and thought she paired well with Teague who had an even stronger will.

Alyssa and Teague had a steady warming relationship. Teague spends a good portion of the book lying to her about nearly everything not sure he could trust her. Even after she makes the decision to stay with him,  he finds that he can’t seem to tell her everything for fear that she will betray him like he perceives everyone else has. Playing devils advocate to his strong will is his emotional fragility. I thought his showing emotion several times in the form of tears was a breath of fresh air to the normal “I will not cry mentality”. Normally I shun crying men. I hate it in fact. Swan did it in a way where I still felt how strong this man was and so the tears were just another layer to the puzzle that was Teague.

Since this is the beginning of a series, there are many more questions than answers. How did Teague get his ability of being able to raise his body heat and soothe pain at will? Who are the shadowed group that did their best to frame him and put him away and out of mind forever? Why? Joan Swans next book, Blaze, comes out this fall and I hope readers will get more information at that time. I think all my questions brought the book down a bit for me. I wanted at least a few more answers than what I was given. Coupled with the fact that the book dragged a bit for me at several spots. There were parts where as a suspense book, I wanted a bit more action. A bit more threat. Some readers will take issue with the paranormal aspect in a suspense, as this seems to be a rising trend in the genre.

I give Fever by Joan Swan 4 stars!

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