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dark fire

Category Romance Review: Dark Fire by Elizabeth Lowell

dark fire category romance
Dark Fire by Elizabeth Lowell
Rating: four-stars
Published: 1988
Illustrator: Unknown
Book Series: The McCalls #2
Published by: Silhouette
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 187
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: Amazon
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Category Romance Review: Dark Fire by Elizabeth Lowell


The Book

Dark Fire by Elizabeth Lowell, a 1988 Silhouette Desire, takes us on a trek through the jungles of Peru.

The hero is Trace Rawlings, the ‘stache. He’s pictured on the cover as the apex of hirsute handsomeness: a full head of hair; a thick mustache; and a chest full of more hair than a bar of soap at a YMCA.

Cynthia McCall is going by Cindy Ryan, and she needs Trace’s help.

The Plot

In Dark Fire, Cindy’s father is Big Eddy McCall, a well-connected multi-millionaire (it’s the 1980s, and the billionaire craze was a decade away) who controls politicians and businessmen. Big Eddy wants one thing: to have plenty of grandchildren to expand his dynasty.

His daughter has no interest in marriage. Cindy isn’t willing to settle down yet and focuses more on her business. That’s okay. Big Eddy’s a modern kind of patriarch, and he’ll accept biological grandchildren on either side of the blanket.

Cindy’s involved in a boutique clothing company purchasing textiles from a Peruvian connection in Quito. The contact was associated with a shady emeralds dealer and went missing. Now Cindy’s business partner Susan has gone missing looking for said textiles contact.

Word has it that a powerful cartel boss named Raul has Cindy’s friend in his clutches. Cin hires Trace Rawlings to help guide her on her trip through the jungles as she searches for her friend.

The only catch is that Big Eddy McCall has gotten to Trace first and is paying him a whopping ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS A DAY (picture Dr. Evil with a finger curled at his lip) a day to keep an eye on Cin and make sure she’s safe.

The Conflict

Trace views Cindy as pampered, spoiled “princess” and repeatedly calls her this throughout the book. He is a macho kind of guy and doesn’t cotton to dainty city gals galivanting through the dangerous territory for specious reasons. Especially when they have their wealthy Daddies are paying him to babysit them.

Of course, there is adventure along the way in Dark Fire, bringing Cindy and Trace together against their wills. Trace doesn’t help Cindy as she struggles through the environment because he’d perversely prefer to watch her struggle for his enjoyment.

But Trace isn’t an absolute caveman, and the two start to bond over their pasts. Although Trace does have that virile body hair and facial hair, which has an allure of its own. I’ve only read a few Elizabeth Lowell romances, but she seems to have a type.

The two leads form a bond that turns from merely carnal into spiritual, and that’s when you believe that this isn’t just another love story but one that’s worth telling.

In the end, there are some twists revealed about her father, which aren’t so shocking, and don’t prevent our mains from getting together.

Final Analysis of Dark Fire

The lovemaking in Dark Fire was deep and purple and reached religious heights. At first, it irritated me, but then I realized that if Elizabeth Lowell was going to write a romance, it might be a romance that is one for the ages, not just a humdrum story of two strangers passing in the night.

This book was over the top with its overwrought mess, it should rate it a 3-star read, but I had to give it 4 stars for the ‘stache alone.


Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 3.8



Cynthia’s father had insisted she hire a survival specialist for her Ecuadorian trip, and she’d reluctantly complied, only to find Trace Rawlings was everything she disliked in a man: ruthless, domineering, egotistical. Yet traveling through the treacherous South American rain forest, she found he was all the man she needed ….

Trace was no tour guide, particularly not for some pampered rich kid. But he could name his price, and he rarely said no to an opportunity. When Cynthia Ryan appeared on his doorstep, he knew he’d made the right decision. She was the exception to all his rules–especially the one about never falling in love.