Friday, December 18, 2020

The Call of Fire by Sloane Calder Blog Tour

The Call of Fire by Sloane Calder Available Now.

The only thing more dangerous than their love?
Thinking they might actually survive it...

Elspeth Lennox arranges the Natura world’s most powerful unions every day. But her own love life? That’s way more complicated. Her bloodline (and lack of elemental powers) ensures that she won’t get a fairy tale ending. A mutually beneficial arranged marriage is probably the best she can do. And she’s mostly OK with that… until she meets her inconveniently sexy new bodyguard.

Fire elemental Aleron Foussé will have his revenge. Protecting Elspeth will give him the cover he needs to finally bring down his father’s murderer. Elspeth is just a pawn. He knows that. But knowing doesn’t stop him from wanting. Love, family… things he hasn’t dreamed of in years. Now he wants it all. He wants her. Too bad a union between them is as forbidden as it is ill-timed…

Enemies are circling. The threat of civil war looms large. Only one thing is certain—there’s a lot more at stake than Elspeth and Aleron’s happily ever after. Because when all is said and done, lives will be lost.

They can only hope it’s not theirs...


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The Call of Fire by Sloane Calder

Book 1
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~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~




Elspeth came awake slowly. A low voice pushed through the fog in her brain, something about two seconds and going in, followed by clipped replies.

Several knocks sounded, harder than usual.

She tore back the covers.

“One second,” she yelled, struggling to get her bearings.

Light streamed through the windows. She looked to the clock. Noon? Good Goddess, she’d missed two conference calls, but oddly, she didn’t care. She’d call Egan and have him reschedule, if the warlock extraordinaire hadn’t already handled the issue.

She got out of bed, her head a little spinny, her stomach a tad angry. It all came back, blaring like the sunlight through her windows. Rosewater lightning.

Blessed nectar of the universe. With a morning after sucker punch.

Heading for the door, she swiped a hand across her face, caught a whiff of hangover breath, and did her best at finger combing the mass of tangles in her hair. Nothing her guards hadn’t seen before.

Another series of knocks, less patient this time. She thought briefly of the lie she’d spun—and her guards had bought. Well, not bought, but hadn’t been able to prove otherwise. I went to get gum had somehow worked.

And she’d had a fantastic night out with the one person tied with Lach for Most Awesome Person Ever.

More pounding. Goddess, maybe she should take her entire detail to Freddy’s so they could chill the hell out.

She yanked on the handle.

Looked up.

Big. Unknown. Badass.

She flinched before calling on years of never-let-’em-see-you-sweat self-training.

“Can I help you?”

His gaze drew down her, holding at her legs, and he swallowed hard.

“I’m Aleron Foussé, your new guard from Elite One.” His attention shifted to something behind her.

She looked down at her thighs. Her thighs. Crap.

The sweatshirt barely covered her. Her thoughts spiraled, trying to recall last night when she’d undressed and gotten into bed. The previous evening seemed to end right after she’d given her guards the “I went to buy gum” line. She dared not look down again, so she concentrated on detecting what was beneath the sweatshirt. No bra, but yes! A scrap of material had crept into the wedgie zone.

“Ms. Lennox, the clause in your marriage contract calls for increased security. I need to begin my safety checks and go over your new protocol. It would be best if we begin immediately.”

She locked gazes with the rock-wall man in front of her, wondering why her skin felt like static electricity filled the room. None of the four guards in her regular safety rotation, all of whom had been dealt from the deck of badassery, straight-lined her hackles or launched her pulse into orbit.

“It’d be best, Mr. Foussé, if you waited in the hallway until I’m ready.”

Big frown, and a scowl that threatened to singe her.

“Are you not alone?” He leaned to look behind her.

Great Goddess above, she had so little privacy. He could do his job without digging into her personal life.

“That’s none of your business.”

“It’s most definitely my business. Your safety’s my responsibility, even if it includes your own reckless behavior.”

The door smacked the wall, and he barged in, moving past her with speed and stealth a man his size shouldn’t be capable of.

She followed, hell hot on his biker boot heels as he stormed into the living room, stopping at the entrance to her bedroom. “If you’re not powerful enough to sense another Natura, then I question my grandfather’s use of elite in reference to your guarding capabilities.”

He turned, and something flashed in his eyes. If she’d had element energy, she’d know for sure whether it was anger or reluctant admiration at her challenging him. The moment was too brief, and she didn’t want to dwell on her powerlessness.

“There’s not a Natura within five miles of here,” he scoffed. “I’d suspected a human male.”

Judgmental jerk. So sleeping with humans was frowned upon and viewed as a waste of time since they couldn’t recharge Naturas. She couldn’t either so—

“You’re not going to dictate who’s in my bed. If I had a human male tucked away in my room, it’s definitely not your business.”

She looked to the fireplace, swearing she’d heard a crackle, but the logs weren’t lit. Maybe his arrogance had fried the last of her patience.

“Just so we’re clear, any guests have to be approved by me.”

“I’ll let you know who’s stopping by, but they don’t require your approval.” And they never will.

He folded his arms behind him. “If you want to make this difficult, that’s your choice.”

The. Nerve. Of. This. Man.

"You just accused me of having someone in my apartment.” She closed the distance between them, standing just off his boots. “There’s no one here, big boy. Satisfied?”

His gaze locked with hers, challenge ablaze in his eyes. “You need to get dressed so we can get started.”

“Was there a ‘please’ in there somewhere?” She shot him her super-saccharine smile. “I think I missed it.”

He didn’t bite, but he also didn’t budge.

For her part, she wasn’t remotely impressed. Concrete Column Foussé didn’t realize she’d spent her entire life refusing to be intimidated by arrogant Naturas. But she also hadn’t gotten to where she was by being unreasonable.

“I didn’t think anyone would be assigned this fast.” She’d give him that much. “I’ll be ready in ten minutes.”

He moved an inch closer, and she realized her mistake. He intended to take a mile.

“Just so we’re clear, I didn’t think I’d have to worry about a sneaking-out problem. You certainly don’t want the Russians getting wind of it, or you won’t be dealing with just one extra guard.”

Her stomach did an oh-shit dip.

He reached inside his leather jacket and held out a large, shrink-wrapped package of… gum. “I’ll order a case, for both here and the office. That way, you won’t need to go on any more unsanctioned scavenger hunts for vending machines.”

So. Busted.

Sure, she was down, but not out, and he wasn’t going to tarnish one of the best nights out she could remember.

“That won’t be necessary. I’ll just make sure to get your approval before I go on a candy run. Sometimes, I need a little sugar.”




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 stars

The Call of Fire is the first installment in the Natura Elementals series. However, there are two prequel novellas, The Mistake and The Birthday, that provide all the necessary background information on the magic system and the traumas of both main characters, Aleron and Elspeth.

The Natura contain water, fire, air, and earth, their sole existence to balance Mother Nature and keep the planet safe. Natura either have one or two elements within them. However, there are those who have three, which puts the Natura out of balance. Such as air stoking fire, but if water is introduced it puts the fire out.

The magic system was intriguing, the world building interesting. The Natura were meant to balance the ecosystem. While I found that an interesting premise, I didn't think that occurred on the pages. I'm also not sure if this is part of the plot for later, or if the author didn't realize it contradicted the world building.

The Natura were too busy fighting amongst themselves, blaming ignorant humans, but never once took care of a natural disaster. It was more of a chicken/egg situation. Were the Natura cleaning up the messes of humans with an increase of natural disasters due to their not taking good care of the world, or were the Natura using natural disasters as an excuse to cover their own tantrums... because all I saw was their tantrums and no balancing of the ecosystem.

The entire reason for Natura existing was to balance the ecosystem, but all they did was use it as an excuse to cover up their crimes.

Set to the angsty backdrop of Elspeth agreeing to an arranged marriage to gain information to save her brother from the torment of having three elements. Aleron is filled with grief and shame, suffering from being disowned from his family due to the death of his father at the hands of the Lennox patriarch, something he would have done himself to save them from the Lennox family. More angst, a slight love-hate feel for a chapter or so, Aleron loathes the Lennox family, yet gets forced to be the granddaughter princess's bodyguard to make sure she ends up at the altar to hold up her end of the bargain.

Aleron and Elspeth have an instant connection, neither speaking of their deepest desires and fears. I had a hard time feeling the connection the author told us was there, because Elspeth discovers Aleron's origin with joining the family, along with the burden he carries, and they never speak of it. It's a conversation that would have bound them closer together, but it never occurs. It's one of those instances where it sounded good on paper but I didn't "feel" it. There was no progression of the romance, just that it was suddenly soul mate level, without any interactions to build up to it.

The magic system was interesting, but sometimes it felt chaotic to absorb the information, where I was never sure if it was incomplete or if I had a strong grasp on it. I explained above how the world building contradicted itself over why the Natura exist in the first place. I never did understand how witches and mages truly fit into the magic system—they just showed up to create havoc. How did Mother Nature fit into it, because Aleron kept saying he had to commune, but he never did, neither did Elspeth.

There was an issue with the magic system, how it was written to be firm but altered to suit the shift in the plot, which is a huge plot hole no-no for me. At age 12, the magic presents itself but won't come into maturity until age 24. These were the rules the author put into place. Yet Aleron presents elements at different ages, and then there is Elspeth. So I felt this odd that there were firm rules put in place, rules that didn't apply to the narrators, so the rules probably didn't apply to any other Naturas either. Just as the issue with those with three elements dying young, but at least two Natura shown on the pages lived to an elder age.

I'm curious to read more in the series if it isn't centered around Aleron or Elspeth, since I never connected to either of them, even after reading their prequel novellas. I'll hold judgment on whether or not I'll continue on with the series depending on whether or not I become emotionally invested in the outcome of the main characters in the next in the series, whom I assume will be Flora. That sparked my interest at the end of the novel. Another reason I'm holding out until the next book to make my decision is whether or not the author gets a firm grasp on the world building, sticking to the rules created, versus changing it simply to fill plot holes and progress the story forward.



Author Bio

SLOANE CALDER has been an accountant for transformers (not the cool kind), paint ovens, and lingerie before becoming a marketer for baked goods, mincemeat, soft drinks, and fertilizer.

An avid reader all her life, she still thinks there’s no better escape than a good book, especially if hot heroes and superpowers are involved.

Connect with Sloane

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Facebook Group: The Natura Nexus



The only thing more dangerous than their love? Thinking they might actually survive it...


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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Call of Fire (Natura Elementals #1) by Sloane Calder to read and review for this tour.

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