Belians, Sentinels and Sanctioned....oh my. And no, I couldn't resist. Spangler's latest series induces all sorts of feelings when reading it: fear, anger, sympathy, trepidation...she's an author that's never failed to get my attention, especially with the second in this series. Original and suspenseful, the Sentinel books pack plenty of emotional punch and incentive to read on.
Marla Reynolds has no delusions about her looks. She's got her safe little world and she knows it limits. Stuck being the "wingman" during a night on the town with a good friend, she's patiently waiting to drive said friend home. When she sidles up bar side for a little libation, she's perplexed at the static charge that fills the air. The man to her left is one of the sexiest men she's ever seen, and he only has eyes for her. While Marla's not buying it, Luke Paxton's not giving up till the lady abides long enough to agree to a date. When Marla gives him the slip, he'll have to take matters into his own hands, even if it is a tad bit illegal. Marla is special, and Luke needs her unique abilities to track down a most unusual killer, one of the Sons of Belial. Being a Sentinel, It's Luke's job to send the Belian's soul out for rehabilitation...before he kills more people. As a Conductor, Marla can help Luke channel his powers long enough to do so. Earning her trust will require no small effort though and a past tragedy may never allow them the cooperation needed to see the deed done. But as the action heats up, more importantly, will they be able to keep it strictly business in an increasingly volatile game?
Touched by Fire sparks at the very beginning with a great first chapter intro. We learn a little bit more about the world Spangler has created and there's an introduction to the new Atlantean on the block...well, not so much new as never before seen by readers, Adam, one of the Sanctioned, which in the hierarchy are one step above the Sentinels. There's a great plug for the next book via Adam's character and his interactions with Marla's sister. Marla and Luke in the meantime are playing hot and cold, push and pull, till the fire heats up and this reader began to meltdown. Marla has a tragic past that made for a good conflict between her and Luke. She takes on her duties as Conductor with more bravado than grace, but she clearly completes Luke. Luke himself is the cool element in the duo, sexy as all get out yet deadly earnest in his duties. Determined to remain emotionally unattached, he soon finds it hard to resist the sheer bravery and fortitude Marla exhibits time and time again. I did begin to wonder at a certain point if the romance would pick up...and then it did, answering the craving for it that the first chapter began so well. The ending, it made me smile--pure Spangler magic. Wrapping the story up is a very interesting turn in Marla's sister's life, thanks to the pestering attentions of Adam. Stay tuned for the third Sentinel book, Touched by Light.