Playing with Fire by Gena Showalter is a light and fluffy paranormal romance. I picked it up because I had read some of Gena Showalter’s other light and fluffy paranormal romance, and I think so far I like this one best. This novel follows the story of Belle Jamison, who up until very recently was the very definition of ordinary and boring. She worked several jobs she didn’t like to pay the rent at her father’s nursing home. She takes care of him since he raised her by himself from the time she was very little. Then one day, while she is working at the coffee shop (a job she really doesn’t like, since her boss is a total perv) a crazy man in a white lab coat runs into the shop begging for help. Belle takes off to call 911, and when she comes back, the man is gone, and three men who claim to be CIA-agents are in the shop, asking questions and calming everyone down. Belle answers questions, finishes her coffee, and doesn’t think anything else of the crazy man in the lab coat. She hurries off to another job interview, but while she is there she gets sick. Very sick. She drags herself home and passes out in her bed, hoping she’ll feel better in the morning.
When Belle wakes up, she is even sicker, but that is not her biggest problem. Standing over her is a man she has never seen before–a tall, dark, and extremely handsome man (of course). He tells Belle she drank a formula that has given her control over the four elements…earth, air, fire, and water. Oh, and he’s there to “neutralize” her. Of course, after meeting her and talking to her for about 17 seconds, the tall-dark-handsome Rome decides he can’t neutralize Belle, and takes her with him in hopes they can help each other. Belle eventually finds out Rome also has superpowers, though he won’t tell Belle what they are, and he works for a government agency that controls and keeps track of all paranormals throughout the world. He hopes Belle can help him keep his daughter Sunny (also paranormal) from becoming just another government agent. He also thinks he can help Belle find a cure so she can give up her powers. Along the way, they meet Tanner, a horny young teenager who turns out to be an empath, and Rome’s ex-wife Lexis who is clairvoyant. Together, the four fight bad guys, while Belle and Rome begin a very steamy romance-literally steamy. When Belle and Rome are, *ahem* intimate, Belle catches fire!
I read this short paperback in a day. It was cute and fun. I liked both Belle and Rome, and could connect with them. I especially liked the choices Belle made. She didn’t so anything exceptionally stupid, and I liked that she had no life plan until she gained superpowers, and decided to use them for good. Tanner was annoying, but he was supposed to be, so that was OK. Lexis was mysterious and heartbroken, which made your heart break for her. In the end, everyone got their…well, happy ending. I think there is at least one more book in this series, which I will definitely check out. It will be a good beach read, or a nice read for another day when I am off of work due to freak hurricanes!