Early Book Review: Rush (Phoenix Rising #3) by Joan Swan
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Rush starts off with a… well, rush… of energy and emotion as we step right into the passionate relationship between Quaid and Jessica and get glimpses into their vibrant pre-accident personalities. The good-natured training scene charges straight into the now-infamous warehouse explosion we’ve been waiting so long to learn more about.
Oh Quaid, how you break my heart! Getting to see him “before”and “after” just makes his imprisonment and torture that much more gut-wrenching and his depth of love for Jessica that much more powerful. This sweet, kind, gregarious, and outgoing man has been molded into nearly the perfect soldier who thinks, acts, and reacts like a war machine, yet has no memory of who he was or even what he can do now. His storyline is by far the jewel of this book and I didn’t think I could like another hero more than Luke from Blaze!
Jessica was a little tougher for me to relate to. She’s a recovering drug addict and, like many addicts, fearful of change and always walking that line between truth and lies. Jess may have been a firefighter, but she’s not a badass heroine like we saw in Kiera. She doubts herself so deeply that is almost painful to experience. Some of her dialogue came across as whiny or naive to me, although I imagine that’s just part of her character development.
The sex between Q & Jess is off-the-charts hot. Joan Swan writes scorching chemistry and soul-deep emotional connections, and Rush follows in the proud tradition of excellence set by its predecessors in the Phoenix Rising series.
Rush has a great mix of lethal special ops action and more intimate getting-to-know-you downtime. Between Quaid and Jess, their abilities are nearly unstoppable and they totally live up to their last names: Quaid Legend and Jessica Fury.
I like that Ms. Swan didn’t try to tie everything up neatly at the close of the story. It all comes together naturally and feels right rather than a rushed, fake happily-ever-after. Don’t worry though – Q and Jessie still get their happy ending, there are some new characters to speculate about (predictions about Trent, anyone?), and we get a healthy dose of Mitch time to lead into his story, Shatter, which is up next.
Can’t… get… enough… Mitch!
“Why is Mitch here?”
“Because he has abandonment issues,” Kiera said, “and can’t be left out of anything.”
Teague laughed. “Save the good ones for when he’s around.” Then to Jessica, he said, “Mitch is here because he’s in this up to his eyeballs, and he’s a worrywart about Alyssa’s pregnancy, and he”- Teague shrugged and grinned- “can’t be left out of anything.”
“Thank you,” Kiera said.
“This is a once in a zillion opportunity, Quaid. How often do people get a second chance to find love with their once-in-a-lifetime? I believe in you as a person. I believe in your essence. No one, nothing can change that.”
This new Quaid was… unpredictable. In good ways as well as not so good. The man in her bed last night… Jessica blew out a breath. She still felt a little… overwhelmed. Q was… deep. He was raw and open like a wound. His anger and fear and regret were buried deep beneath his skin as if they were part of his genetic makeup. And all that emotion came out in his sexual expression and… holy hell… had he expressed himself. In amazing ways.
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If you enjoyed Rush but haven’t yet read the first two books in the series, check out Fever and Blaze. Fever is Teague and Allysa’s story and is the first in the series. It was named as the GraveTells Book of the Month and Reviewer Top Pick for March 2012. Blaze is the second in the series and is Luke and Kiera’s story. Blaze won two August 2012 awards as well as the GraveTells 2012 Book of the Year, and Joan Swan was named as our 2012 Debut Author of the Year as well as the Readers Choice Most Promising New Author of 2012.
If you’ve read and enjoyed the Phoenix Rising series for its blazing action and high-octane character chemistry, you may also enjoy Elisabeth Naughton’s Eternal Guardians series, starting with Marked. You might also like Rebecca Zanetti’s Dark Protectors series, starting with Fated. Check out our reviews for Hunted, Consumed, Provoked, and Twisted (#3 – #5.5 in the series). The Dark Protectors series was chosen as the 2012 GraveTells series of the Year and Provoked‘s hero Kane was named the Readers Choice Sexiest Geek of 2012.