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Douglas Corleone
Timothy Miller

Within the Flames (Dirk & Steele Series #11)

Within the Flames - Marjorie M. Liu This is the 11th book in the Dirk & Steele series and the first one that I have read. It won't be the last. I thought the book was filled with interesting characters and had a nice combination of danger and romance. The main characters are Eddie and Lyssa. Eddie is an employee of Dirk & Steele. He is a prone to bursting into flame when stressed. So being in control is very important to him. He ran away from home at age 13 after he killed a man who had killed his sister. The man was the brother of his stepfather - the same stepfather who was abusing both Eddie and his sister. Actually, Eddie was aiming for his stepfather but his rage was so out of control that the fire hit the brother instead. This led to him spending years on the street and honing his skills as a car thief and learning to control his fire. Now, he works at Dirk & Steele to protect people who need him.Lyssa has also been on the streets since she was 12. She is on the run from the evil witch who killed her parents and wants to either kill or convert her. She has been hiding in New York City. She has been afraid to make friends or really get to know anyone because they would become a target for the witch who is searching for her. She has become an artist and author but does all her communication through email.She is also in hiding because the trauma of seeing her parents killed has caused one of her arms to shift to her dragon form and it is stuck there. See, Lyssa is part dragon (on her father's side) and part witch (on her mother's side). The witch who is after her is Cruor Venator - that is a witch who is part demon and completely evil. They find joy in torturing people slowly to death and drinking their blood and eating their flesh. They are also able to spread a sense of absolute terror wherever they go. It was thought that the last Cruor Venator had been killed but now she is active again and has started a killing spree. And, it takes another Cruor Venator to kill her.Lyssa and Eddie have to battle through his determination to protect her and her determination to drive him away so that she can protect him. They also have to deal with the trauma they both experienced as children. And, by the way, they have to find a way to defeat the Cruor Venator.I found the writing style engaging and the plot fast moving. I liked the exploration of Eddie and Lyssa's emotions as they fall in love. This was a very engaging story.