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WesternSFA
Seduce Me in Flames
by Jacquelyn Frank
Ballantine Books, $7.99, 361pp
Release Date: July 26, 2011

This is the second book in Frank’s Three World series. It is another princess-in-distress tale, but this time the person with the special powers is the hero, not the heroine.

The distressed princess is Ambrea Vas Allay, in line to be empress of Allay on the planet Ulrike. She has been kept alive in the barest and meanest of circumstances, the product of an ill-received marriage. Her uncle plays regent for her younger brother who doesn’t last as emperor but a week or so. He lives long enough for Ambrea to be brought out of exile and told her hated father has finally died and she needs to sign a document abdicating her rights to the throne. All of this has been constructed by her uncle, Balkin Tsu Allay, to smooth his path to the crown of Allay. Since the princess resides in the dreaded “wet rooms” the damp, grungy prison cells of the Blossom Palace it is hoped she will catch something dreadful and conveniently die. Ambrea refuses to sign the abdication and returns to her imprisonment—just in time to be the center of an attack which frees her. Once the dust has settled her cell is discovered empty and all signs point to her death.

But there is no body.

Of course, her uncle is happy to assume she’s dead so he is about to declare himself Emperor.

Ambrea has been rescued by the IM (Interplanetary Militia) the organization the Three Worlds uses to make sure codes, laws and regulations are followed and peace is maintained.

Ambrea’s rescuer is the overwhelmingly buff Rush Blakely, known as “Ender” by his fellow IMers because when a situation arises—he just goes in there and ends it. Rush is a member of the Special Active team headed by Bronse Chapel (The hero of the previous novel).

The IM return to Allay in a show of force and the Princess is revealed alive. Uncle Balkin, all contrite, bows to expediency and gives the throne to Ambrea.

The Princess makes Rush the head of her personal guard.

These two—both outcasts from their families and their immediate societies fall in love. They help each other find their strengths. Rush has a special power he has been ashamed of all his life—his ability to engender fire from himself. He has never had much control of it so he keeps it under wraps and almost never uses it. His family considered him a mutant and so afraid to hurt anyone—he has remained a loner. But in rescuing the princess he let his light shine forth, as it were. And the gentle princess helps him realize it is not a curse and that he can control it.

Rush treats Ambrea with respect and supports her decisions to show her that though she has been cut off from her people she has what it takes to be Empress and that her value to Allay is worth fighting for.

So these two lost souls combine and rid Allay of the dreaded uncle and his vicious manipulative concubine.

And live happily ever after. Really, this is a sweet story, just as the previous one was.

The next in the series is going to be “Seduce Me in Shadows.” ~~ Sue Martin   

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