I couldn't see the "romance" in this short story, and to a certain extent couldn't identify with any of the characters. 

The entire story is very short, and a good portion of that seemed to just be Pheobe and Brant having a lot of sex -- which would be ok except I really didn't get much of an impression of their personalities, what brought them together, and what's keeping them together except for the sex. 

Pheobe doesn't seem entirely too bright, completely asides from the lack of control over her powers. Who blows up their stove just because they have a temper tantrum? That put me off her entirely. It would have been one thing if her stove just randomly blew up whilst she was cooking on it -- but not when it only spat fire at her and then she chooses to throw a fireball at it. None of her powers were explained, none of Brant's powers were explained, and that last bit with the darkin just came almost entirely out of the blue. How did they manage to find her when even her own kind, the firekin, couldn't tell what she was? 

I thought the gratuitous sex between the parents could have just been dropped as it didn’t advance the plot, nor did it shed any light on pre-existing characters. The last few lines regarding the darkin seemed like a hook to get the readers to read more books by the authors.

Overall, I just couldn’t really identify with this story and feel it needs a lot more character and plot depth.

Book Blurb for Scorcher

Phoebe's a salamander with a problem. Fire is her element, her very best friend, and the core of her nature. But she can't control it worth a darn. One decent temper tantrum and poof! Fire galore. Good thing she lives in the desert with nary a tree in sight. Well, there are a few bushes and such. And her house. And a few cacti...sorta. At least until she'd gotten mad over getting stuck by one of the darned things...

Brant lives by fire and dies by fire. Literally. As Fire Chief, it's his job to stamp out fires in Winthrop, making sure residents of the small town in the back woods of Arizona don't have to worry about fire taking their businesses and homes. As a phoenix, he has the ability to sense fires the moment they start. It's a handy talent that keeps the residents safe. Except for his girlfriend, who seems to be able to blow up just about everything, including the stove.

Night Owl Reviews Oct, 2009 2.75