Dark Fire by Elizabeth Lowell pairs a virile, macho guide/bodyguard and a wealthy heiress traveling together through the jungles of Peru.
Book Series: The McCalls #2
Published by: Silhouette
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Format: eBook, Paperback, Hardcover
Buy on: Amazon, AbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader
MILD SPOILERS 😉
Dark Fire by Elizabeth Lowell, a 1988 Silhouette Desire, takes us on a trek through the jungles of Peru. This is book #2 in her McCalls series.
Our hero is Trace Rawlings–the ‘stache. Elizabeth Lowell really loved men with flavor savers, didn’t she? I’m not judging; we all have our kinks. 😉
Trace is pictured on the cover as the apex of hirsute handsomeness: a full head of dark locks, a thick mustache, and a chest covered with more hair than a bar of soap at a YMCA.
Cynthia McCall, our heroine, is going by the name Cindy Ryan, and she needs Trace’s help.
Cindy’s father is Big Eddy McCall, a well-connected, super-powerful multi-millionaire (it’s the 1980s, and the rise of the billionaire era was a decade away). He controls politicians and businessmen but can’t control what he desires most. Big Eddy wants plenty of grandchildren to ensure his dynasty lives on.
His daughter has no interest in marriage. Cindy isn’t willing to settle down yet, focusing more on her business. That’s okay. Big Eddy’s a modern kind of patriarch, and he’ll take any biological grandchildren he can get–on whatever side of the blanket.
Cindy is a co-owner of a boutique clothing company that purchases textiles from a Peruvian connection in Quito. But their contact was associated with a shady emerald dealer and disappeared. Then Cindy’s business partner Susan went missing looking for said textile 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 so she can search 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 to keep an eye on Cin to ensure her safety.
Trace views Cindy as pampered, spoiled “princess” and repeatedly calls her this throughout the book to mock her. He is a macho man and doesn’t cotton to dainty city gals gallivanting through dangerous territory for specious reasons. Especially a gal with a wealthy daddy paying him to babysit her.
There are many adventures along the way in Dark Fire that bring Cindy and Trace together–even if initially they get along like… well, like these critters:
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, he 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 as deep purple as the song Smoke on the Water and reached fervent religious heights.
At first, that irritated me, as Silhouette Desires are supposed to be reliably steamy. Then I realized Elizabeth Lowell goes all out. If she is going to write a romance, it might as well be a romance that transcends mere humanity, not just a humdrum story of two strangers passing in the night.
Dark Fire was over-the-top in its overwroughtness. I liked it enough to rate it a 3 to 3.5-star read, but I had to give it 4 stars. For the ‘stache, natch.
|Rating Report Card|
INTO THE WOODS
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.DARK FIRE by ELIZABETH LOWELL