Beth Hale has recently become one of my favorite romance authors. Her book, Magnolia Flames, once again provides a great read. Hale has created memorable and relatable characters. Hale is adept at addressing the contemporary issues women and men face when dating.
In Magnolia Flames we are introduced to Eve Sutton immediately. Eve is a strong, young woman who has gone through a lot in her life to achieve success in her chosen field of law enforcement. She is exhausted after assisting the local fire department battling a church fire. In the small Mississippi town, it is unusual for fires to occur, although the church that burned was an older wooden building.
Eve lives with her younger brother, Jamie, having taken custody of him after their parents died in a car accident when she was only nineteen and he was eleven. Despite taking on the responsibility of raising him, she managed to keep the family home. Starting out as a police dispatcher, with the help of the Chief of Police, she is able to complete training and is hired as a police officer.
When a special agent from the ATF arrives in town to investigate the fire she is immediately attracted to the hunk. Agent Carter Boone sees connections between previous fires that occurred in Louisiana and Texas. He’s determined to capture the arsonist who is terrorizing the area. Electricity sparks between Boone and Eve and soon they are involved in a passionate relationship.
However, everything is not paradise when clues seem to indicate Eve’s brother Jamie may be the firebug. While she defends Jamie against the accusations, evidence mounts incriminating the young man. Despite her anger at Boone, she is irresistibly drawn to him. They begin to work together to solve the case.
Hale does a great job of maintaining reality in what could have been an unbelievable situation. It’s apparent Boone is as eager to solve the case for personal reasons as he is for justice to be served. Eve can respect that, although she believes with every fiber of her being that her brother is innocent.
While the lesser characters play important roles in the story, Hale wisely focuses on the tension between the primary protagonists. This is a quick read; I finished it in one night. Although the plot was predictable, I was intrigued with the sexy relationship between Carter Boone and the fiery Eve Sutton and couldn’t wait to learn how the story would conclude. I’m pleased to recommend this well-written book as a great weekend read or to take on vacation.
This review is also available at Readers Review Room