Army doctor Theresa Chiesa goes by the book. Always. So when she finds evidence that an elite special forces soldier might be lying about his condition to get free rides on the medevac helicopter, she investigates. What she finds is really hot, really built Wulf Wardsen, a man who makes her want to forget that officers aren’t allowed to fraternize with enlisted men.
Wulf is an immortal viking who avoids doctors who might discover his secret. Until he meets Theresa. She smells of citrus and interests him more than any woman in centuries. Enough to start seriously pursuing a viking relic that could give him back his mortality, and a chance at a normal life. But Wulf’s had hundreds of years to make enemies, and now some of them are striking. Wulf relishes the chance to face them again, he just has to keep Theresa out of the crossfire.
There were several things I really liked about this novel - beyond the excellent writing, plotting, and character development. I really love that Richland’s plot is based on the idea that the primary characters in Beowulf were cursed with immortality, and old rivalries carried down through the centuries. This is the only paranormal element to the novel, and it serves not as the focus of the plot but as a catalyst for the characters and plot development.
I also really liked Theresa’s character. She’s a truly strong heroine, insisting on participating in Wulf’s dangerous exploits and not only serving in the Army but doing so to make a difference. She can handle a gun, take down mortal enemies, and assist in strategic planning. Her character is tested and tried throughout the novel and comes out stronger. (Sorry about that teaser - I don’t want to give away a major plot point!)
If you’re a fan of military, paranormal, or contemporary, realistic romance, you’ll enjoy this unique, well-written novel. I purchased First to Burn on a whim, but will be going back for book two, Second to Lie - I have to find out what happens!
Richland, Anna. First to Burn. New York: Carina Press, 2014. Four Stars.