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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Divine Phoenix by Heather Rainier

Divine Phoenix by Heather Rainier
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (324 pgs)
Other: M/F, Masturbation, Spanking, M/F/M, menage, toys
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Plumeria

Every woman wants a fairy-tale ending, but Lily Valentine has given up on that. Other women may get their happily ever after, but what she lives is more like a nightmare. Admitted loner Clay Cook has heard all the stereotypes about artists and even lived some of them. He struggles with his craft, wondering if his best work is behind him.

Mortally ill, Lily flees to Divine, barreling headlong into Clay’s life from the distant past. Clay’s brother Del returns from a lengthy deployment, suffering from deep trauma of his own, at a loss for how to move on from it. In an effort to remake herself, Lily unintentionally does more harm than good.

As Lily Valentine rises from the ashes of her former life, jealousy is sparked and danger comes calling. Will Clay and Del be able to save her when her old life tries to reclaim her?

Even in the darkest of times, a person can claw her way out and rise above the ashes to start anew.

This story is about Lily Valentine, originally from Divine and childhood friends with Clay and Del Cook. Lily and her family moved away while she was still in school and she lost contact with the boys. Moving away may have seemed like the worst thing to ever happen to Lily until she met and married a man named JT, who turned out to be a sick, sick man. Lily spent the next twelve years in her abusive husband's clutches, with no hope for escaping. But after a final humiliating confrontation she decides enough is enough and Lily heads for Divine. Little does she know her entrance would be a smash.

Clay is the local jeweler and owns a shop where he designs his own creations. Even though he’s as dependable and caring as he can be, Clay still buys into the stereotypical idea of what artist should be, flaky, in touch with with emotions and unreliable. He spends most of his time alone and works on his friends' tokens of love for their women while he has no one. It wasn't until Lily came crashing back into his life that he realized what he was missing.

His older brother Del finally comes home from working in a private military company. It’s been four years since his last visit and this time he brought home some emotional baggage. Unable to deal with his issues, Del sets himself to making his run down ranch functional. Of course, that’s easy to do when you never sleep. Once he and Lily reconnect, sparks fly but Del can't help but worry about Clay's feelings.

While Lily sets a backbreaking pace to improve herself and her life, Del sets the same pace but instead of improving, he ignores his issues. Clay is the healing agent for them both. Initially the story starts off as Clay and Lily grow closer to one another and when Del shows up everything shifts to create their triad. I really loved how different all of theses characters were and how they complimented each other without even trying. And how they just easily flowed into creating their relationship between the three of them with little discussion. Once the idea was planted, it literally grew wings and flew.

What I enjoyed most about Divine Phoenix was the emotions that the author was able to pull out of me. As a reader, I admit I can be a bit jaded when it comes to conflicts and the bad guys. But this story really grabbed me from the beginning to the very end. I just wanted to hug Lily, kiss Clay and hold Del. And I really wanted to do serious damage to JT.

But what made this book 5 stars for me was Ms. Rainier’s restraint when it came time for the climax. I deeply feared what I was going to read as I sped through her words but she gave you just enough without going too deep. Once you read this book, and I think everyone should, you’ll understand what I mean. Sometimes authors walk a fine line when it comes to painting a character especially the bad guy. They can come off a one dimensional or even ridiculous, but Ms. Rainier did it just perfectly. She painted a beautiful story with all the right colors and the end was a portrait of a divine phoenix.

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