(Cover picture courtesy of Tara Quan’s site.)
Apprentice witch Catalina Gato is prohibited from assuming her human form in front of her new employer without his express permission. Since he doesn’t know he’s a warlock, he can’t give it, leaving her in a familiar’s limbo. To make matters worse, she’s barred from leaving his house, and her attempts to enlighten him of his true nature results in burnt notes, charred walls, and exploding laptops.
On All Hallows’ Eve, she gets one night of freedom. Deciding some no-strings-attached sex might take the edge off the intense attraction she feels for her clueless boss, she signs up for Madame Eve’s service. When she meets her masked mystery date at the Castillo Capital, she realizes she might have gotten much more than she bargained for.
After being gifted a one-night stand from his annoying best friend, attorney Leo Difuoco reluctantly ventures to the Castillo Capital to celebrate Halloween. When he meets his oddly familiar green-eyed date in a Cat Woman costume, flames literally ignite, sparks magically fly, and life as he knows it changes forever.
[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook in conjunction with the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]
Having read Tara Quan’s Operation Owl, I expected Flirting with Fire to be a semi-serious romantic novel. That’s pretty much just what I got with this second book of hers that I’ve read but for some reason I just liked it much more than Operation Owl.
Maybe it was the fact that both characters are much better fleshed out, even though the book seems shorter. Leonardo is a kind of sloppy bachelor who can’t see things under his own nose, but you get the feeling that his heart’s in the right place. Why else would he care for the cat his crazy grandmother left him? Cat, on the other hand, is a much more vivid character in my mind. She’s stuck in the form of (you guessed it) a cat because she was a familiar to Leonardo’s grandmother and now Leonardo, who doesn’t believe in magic, is in control of her contract without knowing it. So she’s stuck as a cat when she goes out of the house on every night but one: Halloween.
Since this is kind of a romance, you can pretty much guess how the story goes from there when both Leonardo and Cat go out on the same night. Still, Tara Quan does a good job of building up a reasonable amount of suspense by ratcheting up the tension within both characters as well as creating some tension between the two when they meet. And of course, when the romance part finally seems to happen, there’s still the question of Cat’s contract and whether Leonardo is willing to open up his mind and believe her.
The best thing about this book is that it’s emotionally satisfying. There’s no Insta-Love, but rather an instant connection of some sort that in some situations obviously can lead to a one-night stand. So that’s more than believable given the circumstances both characters are in at the time. And by the end, you get the feeling that not only has the main conflict been resolved satisfactorily but that you can guess at what happens next to some degree. It makes for a much better ending than the usual drive off into the sunset with these sorts of things.
So if you’re looking for a good book that’s also fairly light reading with plenty of romance, Flirting With Fire would be a great place to start.
I give this book 4/5 stars.