“The cards give you images and symbols to focus your vague intentions and transform them into action. Your will is the magic. In other words, you are the magic. If you can create something in your heart and then act on it to make it happen, that is magic. Very simple, very straightforward—no witches, no spells, and no broomsticks.” ― Theresa Francis-Cheung, Teen Tarot: What the Cards Reveal About You and Your Future
In 'Fireworks & Wild Cards' by Susan Laine, what should have been a simple request for help, puts not only Gus but also Niall, Owain, Gus's father, and the entire coven in mortal danger. While investigating recent events, Gus and Niall learn the motives are even more sinister than they knew; there's a war brewing between two sects, and Gus and his friends are stuck in the crossfire.
When a tragedy happens at a coven ceremony, the attempt to discover who is stealing from Julia's petty cash fund becomes much more than a masquerade party. What's worse is that they are all suspect because it could only have been planned by someone with inside knowledge. As they begin the investigation, everyone is suspicious of the other coven members, which makes matters even worse. Understandably, if not rationally, they are angry and want justice. They, especially Julia, are shaken by the idea someone whom they know and trust could do something so horrific. As a way of “flushing out” the perpetrator, Gus arranges a séance in which each person has their cards read, supposedly by a professional tarot master. As good as Van Es seems, he's not genuine. Gus knows this, but is hoping it will shake those present up enough to confess or at least give themselves away. The readings do bring out some confessions, but not the one they are looking for, so the mystery goes on. With each new clue Gus and Niall discover, just as many questions as answers present themselves. Logically, none of scenarios appear to be tied into the others in any logical order and no one seems to be entirely who they say they are. Gus and Niall spend a lot of time spinning their wheels.
As is bound to happen, especially with a couple who has no experience living with anyone, Gus and Niall have their first domestic quarrel, making both consider the importance of working on their honesty and candor. They promise to make changes for the good of their relationship, which leads to an extremely hot session in bed, typically known as “make-up sex.” With all their other differences, Gus and Niall are always on the same wavelength in bed. When Gus is injured, Niall realizes more than ever how much he loves Gus. Life without him is unimaginable. While Gus is recovering from his injuries, Niall moves in to care for him. It's along the line of what Gus wants, but he would like to have at least been asked first. This causes some turmoil in their relationship until they compromise and work it out.
As with the other books in the series, this is a fascinating fast-paced murder mystery with lots of characters and subplots to follow all at once. In addition, it is much heavier in details about coven celebrations, Wiccan beliefs, and tarot card readings. I am interested in these subjects, but at times, the lengthy explanations made me a bit impatient, wanting to get back to the ongoing investigation and have Gus and Niall solve the murder. If you like stories with covens, Wiccan celebrations, sexy men, lots of twists and turns, and a murder mystery solved, you may enjoy this book. Thanks, Susan, for giving me continuous opportunities to read about Gus and Niall.