Witch Fire by Anya Bast
2007; first in Elemental Witches series
Until now, Mira’s had a rather dull life. She was raised by a maiden aunt after her parents were killed in an accident when she was a baby. She’s recovering from a recent divorce from her cheating lawyer husband, living in a cheap apartment and working as a waitress to earn money to go back to college. Then sexy Jack sits down at a table in the diner and orders coffee – and Mira’s world changes. Turns out she’s an incredibly powerful and rare air witch, as were both her parents. Jack is a fire witch, sent by the Witch Coven to protect her. Seems that the head of the Evil Warlocks, who killed Mira’s parents, now wants her. To cure his own fatal illness, he needs to summon a demon by draining the power of (and killing) four elemental witches.
When Mira’s attacked by warlocks, Jack takes her to the Coven headquarters to protect her and to provide her with training in her powers. The two of them also, of course (after all, this is a romance), fall in lust and love, but they both resist the attraction. Mira wants time to recover from her divorce, plus is trying to cope with all these wild alterations in her world view. Jack’s reasons are darker – he’s overcome by guilt. He hasn’t told Mira that (1) his father is head of the evil warlocks, and (2) when he was ten years old he witnessed his father killing her mother, and was unable to save her.
This was an intriguing story that kept me reading. Not perfect, but very good. Mira and Jack are great characters. There’s lots of intense sex. Well, actually, I got so interested in the plot moving forward that I began to skim the sex scenes – at times, it did feel like some were unnecessary to the story and had been inserted just to feed the trend for erotic romances. I appreciated that although Mira initially resisted believing in witches and magic—wouldn’t most of us?—once she saw it “in action” she was smart enough to accept. She is a determined, intelligent and level-headed heroine. There’s one TSTL moment near the end when she insists that Jack not be included in a dangerous rescue mission; even though he’s the most capable person, she wants to protect him. Of course he finds out and shows up to save the day.
My only complaint is the very sparse world-building. I wanted to know a lot more about these elemental witches: where they come from, how their power works and what its limits are, how they fit into the regular world, how their own witch society functions and governs itself, and so forth. Almost nothing is explained. At one point, Mira asks these questions and no one answers her, either. I hope Ms. Bast expands on this in the future books of the Elemental Witches series. I’m eager to read them!