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    Review of TOUCHED BY FIRE by Catherine Spangler (see her website)


    Berkley, October 2007

    A Belian is setting off bombs in Texas killing dozens, and promising more death to serve his master/god's pleasure. Sentinels are sworn to track down the Belians and send them to Saturn where pain burns away their sins, but this Belian is moving fast and is careful to leave no clues behind him. When sexy sentinel Luke runs into a pretty conductor, Marla, he thinks he's found the answer to the Belian's challenge. It isn't often that a sentinel and a conductor are perfectly matched, but Marla is right for him. So right he doesn't mind violating all the rules, breaking into her house, kidnapping her when she goes crazy over his intrusion, and taking her to his own home. The one thing that finally stops him is when he realizes she's a thirty-year-old virgin.

    Marla has lived in fear ever since she was attacked and forced to watch the brutal rape of her sister. That rape and assault, eleven years earlier, put an end to any sexual interest on her part--at least it had until Luke walked into the picture. Luke raises all sorts of forbidden desires, but he also raises all kinds of fear. Because a man who will stop at nothing to get what he want, a man who will violate a woman's home and ignore her protests, is exactly the kind of man she fears most in the world. Or rather he's the kind of man she feared most. When she learns about the Belian, feels his evil presence, she knows there is a danger far more deadly than even the most arrogant male.

    The two create an uneasy alliance. Unable to achieve the highest level of conduction, which would require sexual contact, they must use their limited powers to track down and eliminate the Belian. When the Belian creates a psychic link to Marla, their danger is redoubled. Even a massing of the available sentinels may not be enough to prevent widespread suffering, death, and blood for Belian.

    Author Catherine Spangler (see more reviews of novels by Spangler) continues her Sentinel series with a super-sexy and exciting paranormal thriller. Spangler's alpha heroes can be annoying, but they're so damned sexy the women they deal with are forced to come to terms with it. Fortunately, Spangler's heroines are strong and capable women in their own right--the only women who could tame such men. Luke and Marla are both damaged--Marla by her sister's rape and Luke by his mother's death and having to be responsible for his family. Early on, their relationship magnifies this damage. But somehow they've got to get past this to have a chance at stopping the evil and at finding the growth that their damage has stunted.

    Spangler starts off fast and keeps up a hard-charging blend of action and sensuality. Fans of the series will definitely want to grab TOUCHED BY FIRE. If you're new to the series, don't worry. Each of these novels can easily stand alone.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 8/04/07

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