Desire can heal the coldest heart-or burn it to ashes. Alrik Gunn knows from bitter experience that change isn't always for the better. From the woman who annihilated his Viking clan to the goddess who tricked him into centuries of slavery, betrayal has dogged his existence. The Goddess of Love is going to let him avenge his family, but for a price. As a Phoenix-a merchant of change-he must grant a human woman three chances to change her life. When former Irish dancer Calleigh McCarthy tosses a carved-bird statue that belonged to her ex into a roaring bonfire, she unwittingly summons an honest-to-god Phoenix. A sexy, irresistible Viking who offers her an unbelievable bonus-three get-out-of-her-crappy-life-free cards. She'll take it, even if it means guarding her cautious heart against the dark pain behind Alrik's eyes. Alrik has vowed never to let love sway him again, but Calleigh's innocence and kindness throw him off balance. Yet even as his need for revenge fades and his love for her grows, he is bound to let her make her choices without interfering. One wrongly chosen word, and any chance for happiness-for either of them-will go up in flames.
A former staff developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, Columbia University, and the former director of literacy in a Saint Louisarea school district, Kristen Painter now divides her time among consulting, writing, and family.