Rise of the Firestarter (The Phoenix Institute Book 1) by Corrina Lawson

rise of the firestarter

Superheroes and sex, two of my favorite topics. Thankfully these topics are combined in this latest Urban Fantasy novel from Corrina Lawson. This book has a little bit of all the things I like in fiction: government conspiracies, military action, superhuman fighting, and did I mention the sex?

This is the story of Alec Farley, a 23 year old orphan who was somehow born with telekinetic and pyrokinetic abilities and, as far back as he can remember, has been in the custody of a covert US Government agency known only as The Resource. They have trained him since the age of 4 to control his powers and now he uses them as a member of an elite military unit called The F-Team, fighting terrorists and other villains, all in the name of the U.S.A. However, he’s also been tightly controlled his entire life. He’s lived in a single room in The Resource HQ since he was 12, and is rarely let out into the real world, and then it’s only with his F-Team comrades to watch him. After losing control of his powers during one mission, he’s sent (against his will) by his superiors to speak with a 25 year old psychologist named Beth Nakamura, who is ostensibly supposed to counsel him on how to learn to control his emotions (& his powers) more effectively.

Except Beth has a secret, too. She is also an orphan who was born with latent telepathic powers, which haven’t worked in years. More importantly, she’s been hired by the CIA to determine the best way to extract or eliminate Alec, for fear of the advantage his powers give to the leader of The Resource, a manipulative power-hunger man named Richard Langsing, who wants to use Alec for his own agenda, and who doesn’t trust Beth from the start. What no one anticipated was the immediate physical attraction that Alec & Beth feel for each other, which eventually leads to Beth sneaking Alec away from The Resource HQ, taking him out into the real world, and trying to teach him about life and to see how he’s been used. Along the way, Beth’s powers start to come back, while Alec’s inexplicably fade. Meanwhile, The Resource isn’t just going to let them get away, plus the CIA wants them too.

It’s pretty exciting stuff. Lawson’s descriptions of the feelings of Alec and Beth as their attraction grows, with Alec more eager to give into his feelings as Beth remains reluctant, all feel natural. Beth’s initial anxiety around Alec when he uses his powers in front of her also rang true.

And then there’s the sex.

Their first time in on a beach, where Alec uses his telekinetic abilities to pleasure Beth. And, to their surprise, they discover that their lovemaking seems to increase the potency of their powers. Which definitely comes in handy when The Resource catches up to them…but you’ll have to read the book to find out what happens next. ^_^

The cons I’d list would be that some of the dialog in the earlier chapters, when Beth has taken Alec out into the local town to show him the real world, feels a bit forced. Beth talks about the local economy, and how large retail chains like Walmart have squeezed out the smaller stores, and how the city has become a tourist attraction to make money, but that the locals often can’t afford to shop in the tourist spots. It feels more like the author making a political statement, than the characters just talking naturally. There’s also a bit where Alec spends the night surfing the internet for the first time, and then Beth has to explain to him about slash-fiction, and sexual fetishes like furries. That also feels more like something the author just wanted to talk about, and not really essential to the story.

Despite those minor complaints, I very much enjoyed this book. It’s exciting and erotic. I highly recommend it.

Rise of the Firestarter (The Phoenix Institute Book 1)

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