WITHIN THE FLAMES - Marjorie M. Liu
Dirk & Steele , Book 11
New York City - Present Day
There's a dragon living in New York City, and it's Eddie's job to find her. A shapeshifter contacted Dirk & Steele Investigations to ask for help for his friend, Lyssa Andreanos, a dragon who is hiding from the woman who murdered her parents. A Cruor Venator—a witch who steals power through blood—killed Lyssa's parents ten years earlier and, two weeks ago, found and butchered the shifter who was trying to help Lyssa. Now the Cruor Venator knows where Lyssa is hiding, and Eddie, a pyrokinetic, is willing to do whatever it takes to keep her safe.
Lyssa has been on her own for ten years, and though she doesn't exactly like it, she knows that it's safer that way. Since the night of her parents' deaths, she has been caught mid-shift and there are times she can't control the fire burning within. She has been dreaming of a man of fire for a month now, and when she recognizes Eddie as the man from her dreams, she runs. Learning that the Cruor Venator has found her and that the small group of people that she's allowed herself to care about may be in danger, forces Lyssa to a very hard decision. She could run again, but maybe it's time to stand and fight…no matter what the cost.
Fans of the Dirk & Steele books will be thrilled that Eddie finally gets his story in WITHIN THE FLAMES. Having been around since the first book in the series, we have watched Eddie learn to control his powers, and then watched his control stripped away when he was injected with a bioweapon. In spite of the close friendships he has with the other agents of Dirk & Steele, he is still very much alone. His protective instincts are roused when he's assigned the job of finding and protecting Lyssa, but the moment he meets her, it's something much more visceral that has him vowing to be there for her. At their first meeting, Lyssa's dragon knows Eddie for her mate, but the woman with secrets is not so easy to convince. Thrown together by circumstance and danger, both Lyssa and Eddie realize that they'll have to depend on one another if they hope to get through the next few days alive.
While for the most part, the book focuses on the story of Lyssa and Eddie, it may be helpful to read the series in order. Each book in the series stands well enough on its own and is connected by the agency, which is filled with people and beings that aren't entirely human, and its ongoing battle with the Consortium, a group much like Dirk & Steele, but with the end purpose of running the world. Characters from previous tales are present in WITHIN THE FLAMES, which is an added treat for those familiar with the books, and Eddie comes to terms with things he has learned throughout the series. Either way, WITHIN THE FLAMES is a captivating paranormal tale.