Title: Forged in Fire
Author: C. J. Bahr
Genre: Romance, Fantasy / Paranormal
Forged in Fire tells the story of Beth Leighton, a modern day woman who gets sent back in time to 1795 England. Upon arrival, she reaches a road only to stumble upon the scene of a highway robbery. After being shot at, she’s rescued by the graceful, mysterious, and dismissive Christopher “Kit” Locke—a man who saves her life but doesn’t hesitate to take her wedding rings at the same time.
Soon, Beth discovers that the archangels, Remiel and Uriel, are behind her time-travel. They’re bending the rules slightly to prevent her from dying along with her duplicitous husband in modern times. In addition to being merciful, they need her help to regain a legendary gem, the Viper’s Eye, which has the power to trap innocent souls and send them into hell under the care of a prince of demons.
The gem has long been hidden, but it’s now being brought to England to serve Lord Renward. He believes it’s his last chance to save his only daughter from death, and having failed his wife and son, he’s determined not to lose his entire family. He plans to use the gem’s occult powers to heal his daughter, feeling that no life is worth as much as hers—and if a few souls end up in hell, it’s worth it to see her smile again.
So when the gem is stolen by Kit and passed on to his partner for resale, Beth finds she must join forces with the highwayman if she’s to destroy the evil gem and gain the desire of her heart. Otherwise, she faces being stuck in an age with no indoor plumbing, cell phones, or modern conveniences (to say nothing of modern clothes). But she tells herself that it’s purely a business arrangement. After her husband, now dead, lied to her, she doesn’t trust men…no matter how attractive they are.
As the second in the series, the novel might spoil a few details of the first book, but since each covers their own romance, they can be read by themselves. The world building is effective, though it leaves some questions unanswered, and the character’s dialogue seems more or less historically believable, though the plot is somewhat predictable.
Beth isn’t a historian, and it sometimes shows, but the novel isn’t designed to be historical fiction. It’s mostly about the spicy encounters between Beth and Kit and the adventure of tracking down the gem.
However, it does feel like Beth and Kit’s relationship grows rather quickly, especially since she’s recovering from “dying” and finding out that her husband was an associate of the man who almost killed her. She’s an impulsive character, but it still felt like this shift was too quick.
Readers who like a pseudo-historical tale with paranormal dealings of angels, demons, highwaymen, and feisty females will enjoy this fast-paced adventure. Beth is a strong woman, saving Kit as much as he saves her, and the romance is sweet and spicy with plenty of interaction to vary things up.
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