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Wow, so  I think it’s safe to say that I’m devouring this series (albeit after a brief detour). Currently, the Bad Boys of the Underworld series consists of five books so I figured it best to just read and review ’em consecutively. While this keeps characters, names and events fresh in my mind, thereby allowing a smooth transition from book to book, it means that I’ve become somewhat emotionally involved. Do any of you catch yourselves at work, perhaps getting annoyed because you’re dwelling on a favorite character and a particular shitty or stupid thing they did? Or hear a song on the radio and find it reminds you of a certain character or scene? Yeah? C’mon, I can’t be the only one. I can’t be alone in what I’m currently experiencing. In fact, I’m so emotionally invested in this series that my dream last night revolved around the plot of the above book…and I jolted to in the early hours, convinced – for a few seconds, at least – that I was the werewolf queen. Embarrassingly, this is not a one off incident. I was reading Felicity Heaton’s Eternal Mates series a few months back and the second book was fraught with some particularly intense battle scenes and I awoke one night to catch myself murmuring “I must prepare my men for battle.” I remember laying there for a few moments, confused as hell as I tried to figure our what battle I was fighting and what men I needed to prepare.

Anyway, I digress. Today I’m reviewing the fourth book in the Bad Boys of the Underworld series, Ruling Fire.

The chiseled torso you’re feasting your eyes upon belongs to Brock Holt, a werewolf shifter and king. His accountant is Elsie and she’s everything he’s ever wanted: attractive, intelligent and hardworking. But she’s off limits. Brock knows his family would never approve of a relationship with a human and furthermore he fears the wrath of the curse that has blighted the wolves’ would-be queens of the past. Oh, and let’s not forget Elsie has a strict no-dating policy.

A dangerous situation forces Brock to shift in front of her, though, and it soon becomes apparent that they have both been harboring secrets. Elsie is a born and bred siren, capable of ensnaring any man with her smile or sweet song. In Elsie’s eyes, it’s not a gift. It’s more akin to an affliction. She mutes her power, distancing herself from the males around her in a bid to protect them and maintain their free will and dignity. But now that she’s under Brock’s protection, can she continue to resist him? Can she resist the king who saved her life? This tender yet passionate werewolf who takes time out of his day to walk her dog? More importantly, does she want to resist him?

Brock is my favourite male in the series so far. He’s just so…perfect. For one, he’s an excellent king. He’s a great strategist, considering his actions and their implications. For example when Dani, his niece, is with her father and his cronies he doesn’t seek to retrieve her for a variety of reasons. For one, he understands that if even one of his men gets injured it will reflect badly upon him and will endanger those who support him and his rule. Secondly, he carefully considers the risks such a move would pose to Dani, knowing she could very well become a hostage. Instead of jumping into battle feet first, Brock thinks. He considers and plans, just like a good ruler does.

Furthermore, he’s respectful of Elsie and her desire to remain celibate. He’s aware of her concerns and rather than brushing them off as inconsequential or pressuring her into something she’s uncomfortable with, he maintains his distance in that department. When they do eventually have sex, just over halfway through the novel, it’s something that is instigated by her. He’s patient with her, understanding and appreciating the fact that her concerns need to be addressed. He’s a gentleman (or gentlewolf) and the least ‘bad’ of all the ‘bad boys’ in this series so far. It makes a refreshing change.

As for Elsie, I adore her. She’s fiercely independent, not allowing herself to be a mere damsel in distress. She’s the one who actually finishes the battle with the myotis in the first place, way back in chapter three. Additionally, though Brock and his brother give chase when she’s kidnapped, Elsie escapes the clutches of Dani’s father on her own accord and during her final stand off, with the dead queen of wolves and curses, she manages to survive. Her survival isn’t borne out of violence, it is borne out of intelligence and an ability to remain calm while under great stress or threat. I admire her for her ability to hold her own in the face of adversity.

Overall, this book is an excellent read. The characters are well-crafted, each with their own individual personality and it is these personalities that make it so easy to engage with them. A reader can root for them. They can laugh with them. They can cry with them. I think I said a similar thing in my review for the first book in the series. Additionally, Mallory has conjured a plot that keeps readers on their toes. There are a couple of plot twists at the end that caught me completely unawares and I thoroughly enjoy books that can maintain an edge of mystery right until the last few pages.

I’m giving this book a 4.5 out of 5 ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s available in both paperback and e-reader format on Amazon.

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