by Diana DeRicci, paranormal (2008)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-59578-486-5
Diana DeRicci introduces the Kin, witches with magical abilities, and the town of Granier Falls, the location in which the author will set her Kin stories in. Our heroine, Shar Brenna, runs a lingerie store and she hangs out with her Kin friends at the ubiquitous fashionable night spot in town, this one being called Mystic.
When the story opens, Shar hits Mystic to drown her blues after learning that her now ex-boyfriend is an unfaithful jerk. The next thing she knows, Mystic has burned to the ground and she is arrested under suspicion of using her powers to cause the fire.
She was too drunk to remember much about what happened that night but her best friend informs her that she and another Kin were trying to upstage each other doing "firework shows" in the club. Now Shar realizes that she has a big problem - for using magic that might or might not have caused a popular club to burn down, she might have exposed non-humans to the existence of the Kin. The Council - you know there has to be one in such a story, I'm sure - is going to breathe down her neck, oh dear.
A fellow Kin, our hero Trajan, has always viewed Shar as his little sister but after bailing her out from jail, he realizes that she's actually a hot woman now. I'm still not sure whether her being in jail has anything to do with Trajan's realization. Maybe he has some kind of fetish about female prisoners that he is not aware of, who knows. At any rate they are already hitting second base by page 26, so these Kin folks really work fast, I tell you.
There are a few early chapters in After The Fire that sets up the events leading to the scene up where our characters hit second base and the last few chapters wrap up the mystery of the fire. Much of the story is about the two characters hitting third base and even a few home-runs several times over. The characters are standard stereotypes rather than well-developed and memorable folks and the plot is secondary to the erotic elements of the story. In other words, if you are expecting something with substantial story, this one isn't going to cut it.
Still, all things considered, After The Fire isn't a bad read. The first chapter of this story is pretty hard to read because of the author's prose can become purple and overwrought, but she reins herself in for the subsequent chapters. The characters may be familiar but they are likable enough to complement the readability of the story. They don't do anything too obnoxious or stupid, at least.
"At least it is readable" is faint praise, I know, but hey, with this book being what it is, that's the best I can do. A little more plot in the next book will be nice. The sex scenes in this book aren't steamy enough to make up for the lack of substantial story, I'm afraid.
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