In her ten year career with the CDC, noted hematologist Jasmine Kane has been in many of the world’s hotspots. Fiercely dedicated to her job and filled with a wanderlust that can’t be denied, she’s spent most of her life with her bags packed and one foot out the door. So when an injury puts her on extended medical leave, keeping her out of the field and locked in her Atlanta apartment, she nearly goes stir-crazy—until a call comes in from an old friend, asking her to visit a lab in New Mexico and help isolate hemorrhagic properties in a strange, engineered disease. Before Phoebe can so much as say dragon, Jasmine’s out the door and on her way to Las Cruces.Publisher: NAL Trade, April 2011
Quinn Maguire is an ancient dragon shapeshifter—and healer for his clan. For hundreds of years he’s worked to keep his people safe, sacrificing any kind of personal life in his quest to keep the Dragonstar clan from dying out. And for centuries it’s worked. He’s lost friends and lovers because of his obsession, but at least the Dragonstars have not perished as so many of the dragon clans have in the last three hundred years. But now he’s faced with something he can’t solve, a disease engineered by his clan’s mortal enemies and one that may do what war, difficulty in childbirth and an encroaching human population hasn’t—wipe out his people for good. Desperate to stop the disease, he’s willing to try anything—even working with a human hematologist, one whose very presence sets him on fire…
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance
Single Title/Series: HIDDEN EMBERS is Book Two in the Dragon's Heat series and can be read as a stand alone novel.
Cover Thoughts: I really like this cover. It feels like the hero Quinn and the cover model shares a striking resemblance to my mind's picture of the dragon shifter. And as with DARK EMBERS, I'm lovin' that attention was paid once again to the beautiful desert landscape.
Origin: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Quinn Maguire, dragon shifter and healer of the Dragonstar clan, is almost to the point of no return. He's lost everything and nearly everyone he's ever loved and is facing the very real possibility that one day soon, his entire clan will be striked completely from Earth. It will all have been his fault too. It will all have been his failure for Quinn's a healer who's aged powers are useless against the disease that's ravaging his people like a raging wild fire eats through dried and brittle grass. No matter how hard he attacks the disease, no matter how fast he tries to unravel its secrets, the disease always wins in its ever evolving, ever mutating abilities to kill and kill and kill. But one little ball-busting human female is about crash through not only Quinn's necessary emotional barriers, but the elusive barriers of the disease that continually morphs its shields.
Dr. Jasmine Kane, a hematologist for the Center for Disease Control, is going stir crazy after a bomb in Sierra Leone knocked her out of commission, placing her on virtual house arrest from the CDC until her injuries have healed. Seeing as that could take several more weeks, Jasmine jumps at the call from her best friend Phoebe in New Mexico and the possibility to get back into a lab doing what she does best. However, along the way a flat tire forces Jasmine to take refuge at a bar in Texas, putting her face to face with the most compelling and sexually attractive man she's ever come into contact with. His burning gaze, strikingly tall physique and rough growl has her burning from within and falling into bed for the most mind altering one night stand of her life. But if the past has taught her anything, is that it's never a good idea to let a man be in control and Quinn poses the very real possibility of enslaving her heart forever. What's left for girl to do but run. Jokes on Jazz though because she runs not simply to the safety of her best friend but to Quinn and his lab which will serve as her home for the next several weeks.
Caught off guard by the intense night and subsequent frustrating morning searching for Jazz who absconded with the rise of the sun, Quinn finds himself facing the fact that he's miraculously mated with a woman that he can't find. The evidence is in the new purple hued tribal band encircling his arm. Lucky for fate, Jazz is the doctor from CDC that Quinn's future queen, Phoebe, recommended to help fight the disease. Quinn doesn't know who's more surprised, him or Jazz when she walks into his lab. Relief fights with anger at Jazz's sudden appearance but Quinn's still in for the biggest surprise yet. With Jasmine, he finds more than he bargained for with his mate. For one, she's human, but beyond that minor speed bump, Quinn always imagined that he'd settle down with a woman that needed him and his protection. Never once did he think that his destined mate would be a risk-taker, a fighter who subjected herself to the most dire and stressful areas of the world. But Quinn can't deny that for the first time in forever someone has looked to him not simply for answers, but to actually look and see and understand the real him and recognize his pain and defeat and strive to help him.
Jazz can't help but notice that the dragon shifters around Quinn take him and his expert act for granted. The man is in an acute amount of pain not just from using his healing gift, but an emotional pain that it unlike anything she's ever seen. Quinn blames himself for everything. For every death. For every hour that passes and a cure has not been found to save his clan. He's walking this line of guilt alone too for while he's surrounded by others who are suffering, he is the Dragonstar healer who can't heal. But it's dangerous for Jasmine to think this way about Quinn. While she's accepted that sex can't be avoided with the man for he makes her body weep in a need that can't be ignored, he still poses a threat to her heart that Jazz will not stand for. So the war rages on not only within Jasmine's heart and soul but on the streets of the small New Mexico town the Dragonstars inhabit.
Someone is betraying the Dragonstars to the rival Wyvernmoon clan. The smaller clan with territory in Northern Middle America, has been seeking for decades to steal the rich land of the Dragonstars. Presumed to be the clan that created the disease preying upon the Dragonstars, the Wyvernmoons also seek to infiltrate Dragonstar territory to take down Dragonstar sentries themselves and someone is giving the Wyverns easy access across the Dragonstar magical safeguards. Until the betrayer is caught, no is safe. When Quinn, Phoebe and Jazz make a huge break through in understanding the disease that's ravaging their people, notice is taken and the Wyvernmoons make their big move to strike at the very heart of the Dragonstars.
Fearless, intelligent, and a woman that never backs down from a fight, Jasmine Kane is not one to be trifled with. Quick to attack but also quick to save, Jazz gives every fight her all. But what she doesn't have is patience for men trying to dominate her or the situation in an effort to be macho. She's survived enough overbearing control from her father to know that a man can't help but turn into a possessive cavemen when faced with a woman they've claimed as theirs. Jazz is her own woman and she'll keep that way. But Quinn Maguire makes all her "I'll never need or want a man" defenses crumble. He's a man that's clearly in need a woman's comfort and care but she's not that kind of woman. Right? Quinn softens the harsh points of Jazz's heart and despite all her efforts to fight his allure, she can't stop her heart or body from wanting his touch or his love.
Strong, intelligent, and in possession of a heart bigger than he knows how to handle, Quinn Maguire has been on a decade's long losing streak with a disease that has left him the sole survivor of his family. He's a broken man dedicating the last of his strength to his people. Sharing Jasmine's soul deep desire to heal, Quinn recognizes his own tenacious strength in Jazz. And while she may be the exact opposite of what he thought he wanted in a woman, Quinn soon discovers that Jasmine's perfect for him in every way and he'll not let her run without a fight. Like a boon from fate, Jazz breathes life back into Quinn's wounded soul and he'll do everything in his power to keep her.
My Final Thoughts:
HIDDEN EMBERS is a no holds barred epic romance where no emotion is left unscathed. Hope and passion war with death and heartbreak and no one is safe, not from love nor from disease. I must say, Tessa Adams took some big risks with this second installment in her Dragon's Heat series. For one, Jasmine is fearless and incredibly independent and she approaches each of her decisive actions with absolute confidence...except for when it comes to matters of the heart. The woman walks - runs rather - knowingly away from the best thing in her life, she purposefully denies her true feelings and focuses on the superficial to drive Quinn away. Lucky for her, the man is not giving her up. Anyone else and Jazz would still be alone. While I admit to experiencing frustration with Jazz, the woman does own up to her faults and for that, I liked her.
Adams herself is fearless as she rains down acute tragedy upon HIDDEN EMBERS. I've read some tragic scenes in romance but I'm thinkin' that Adams takes the cake here. Girl had me in tears! She doesn't joke around with the dire situation the Dragonstars are facing either. In addition, Adams excels beautifully at making this complex disease she's created believable and better yet, its understandable. She gets the reader involved too for I felt like a scientist right along with Quinn and Jasmine, analysing and breaking apart this killer disease. You feel these shifters and their desperation to survive. You feel the injustice and the need for revenge against those that are attacking you so ruthlessly. Gotta love that!
Finally, the romance truly was a delight as well. Quinn is pure hero and I absolutely loved everything about him. Again, Adams seamlessly meshes plot and sex with HIDDEN EMBERS. Despite the complex plot layers surrounding the war and the disease, the romance takes true center stage and nothing about Quinn's and Jazz's relationship is sacrificed. From beginning to end, I was in love with this story!
For paranormal romance fans yearning for an intensely emotional read, a sexually explosive romance, and the action that only a sinister villian can create, get your hands on HIDDEN EMBERS!! Enjoy!
FORBIDDEN EMBERS - Releasing Oct. 4th, 2011