"Surrender To Fire" is a single volume offering two novellas by Lora Leigh, "Fyre Brand" and "Surrender," the second of which introduces the author's "Bound Heart" series. Leigh is author of numerous breathy and erotic series, and books with names such as "Forbidden Pleasure," "Nauti Dreams" and "Loving Lies."
The first story -- called "Fyre Brand" -- has been previously published as part of Leigh's "Elemental Desires" series. It follows the frequent ups and downs of Carmella, a lusty fire elemental who holds within her grasp dominion over combustion and, thus, all things combustible. Carmella is able to sear and to destroy, but she harbors a fear that she will repeat the teeny missteps made with this power by her ancestors, mistakes that are the reason she lives in a world struggling to rebuild itself.
As if a Woman's Passion Wasn't Symbolic Heat Enough
Carmella harbors this fear because, despite her powers, she is a fragile vessel: Both her frail -- but stunningly gorgeous and usually dripping -- body and her ability to resist temptation are a little less than resolute. Cue Torren. Torren enjoys even more frequent ups and downs than even our heroine. Torren's touch unlocks such desires inside Carmella that her resolve to resist sex, and the conflagrations that inevitably follow sex, is tested beyond its limits. But perhaps Torren is more than the well-hung and one-dimensional Chippendale cast-off he at first seems to be? Actually, no, that is all he is. An enormous amount of fighting, and sex, and fighting while having sex, ensues. There is, in fact, so much fighting and sex and sexy fighting that there is little room -- or need -- for plot.
"Surrender" is more than an erotic book: it's exotic erotic. In fact, it's paranormal exotic erotic. The novella parallels the acts it describes -- oh so vividly and frequently -- in that it builds toward an eventual surrender even Blind Pew could see coming: Tess knows what Cole wants; he's told her enough times. He wants her as more than a friend. In fact, he wants her as more than just a friend with the ordinary sexual benefits a man with large, shaved pecs and a six-pack wants from a woman with massive silicone enhancements and a waist that would fit inside a Slurpie cup. He wants her tied down on his bed, dominated, struggling and yet submitting to his peculiar -- yet peculiarly alluring -- perversions. Tess does not find this entirely unattractive.
All Manner of Things Develop
Then there's the fellow in Tess' head: He wants to know what it is like when she is taken -- and taken hard -- by another man. How long can poor Tess be expected to win out over these twin tests of her probity? Well, not long at all. The tale follows Tess as she faces, confronts and then accepts her own demons, which conveniently turn out to be a need for sexual bondage. Against this romantic backdrop, her crush matures into real love, and a lot more sex. Cole is a well-developed character, but only in the physical sense. Tess is written as immature, bitchy and annoying. Again, there is no plot, and again its absence likely will go unmissed by devotees of the genre.
Quite the Niche You Have There
Paranormal bondage sex fiction: Something of a niche market, at first glance. But no; Leigh is a "New York Times" best-selling author. The only thing about this literary labor that's tongue-in-cheek are the tongues relentlessly buried in other people's cheeks. Despite that, "Surrender to Fire" met with a withering reception; many of Leigh's regular readers felt the new story concentrated too much on sex without romance, thereby keeping the characters one-dimensional. The work is nonetheless a guilty pleasure for a wide market.