When Temptation Burns - J.K. Beck Title: When Temptation Burns

Series: The Shadow Keepers bk 6

Author: J.K Beck

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Half human, half daemon, Ryan Doyle is a driving force for justice. As an agent for the Preternatural Enforcement Coalition, he’s investigating murders linked to a Los Angeles fringe group bent on exposing the shadow world to humanity. He is a master of self-control, keeping his deepest hungers hidden beneath a veneer of cool professionalism. Until he crosses paths with sinfully sweet Andy Tarrent, a gutsy reporter who makes him crave all the pleasures he’s denied himself for centuries.

Tracking a band of conspiracy theorists eager to spill blood, Andy has uncovered the story of her career. Brooding, mysterious Ryan is an enigma—but their dance of seduction is hotter than any fantasy. As they race to stop mass murder on the streets, Andy knows that Ryan is holding back, keeping secrets. But getting close to Ryan means opening the door to a world that will challenge her deepest beliefs—including what it means to truly surrender to love.

This book felt more like a Paranormal Thriller than a Paranormal Romance. Though Andy and Doyle do provide strong romantic elements, they share the narrative perspective with many of the major players in the plot. Both heroes and villains get to tell their side of the story, and Beck doesn’t flinch from weaving emotionally and morally complex themes into the plot.

It was just that depth that allowed the plot to completely steal the show in this book. The romance was enjoyable, the action scenes were often too over the top for me, but the cat and mouse game of law enforcement trying to contain angry, powerful groups intent on their own vendettas was both thrilling and nuanced. Though this was my first of The Shadow Keepers series, I had no difficulty catching up and buying into the plot. Beck does a wonderful job giving both sides of the conflict human elements, and explores how violence, revenge, fear, forgiveness, and love all impact communities, whether mortal or paranormal.

While I appreciated the minimum of unnecessary drama, I would have welcomed a few interesting flaws or details in the main characters. Though Beck’s plot was morally nuanced, the main characters themselves rarely push boundaries. Doyle and Andy are more heroic, plucky, and clear-eyed than the lesser characters around them, which meant they were rather more predictable and less interesting than the twisty, difficult plot in which they starred.

Grade B
Review by: Helen