Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: The Darkest Flame by Christina Lee

By 8:00 AM , , , ,

The Darkest Flame (Roadmap to Your Heart #1)
     by: Christina Lee

Publication Date: Aug. 17, 2015
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: M/M Romance
Age Group: Adult
Source: e-ARC provided via BocciPR in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 265 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

From the author of There You Stand, a new male/male romance about an errant motorcycle recruit and the captivating bartender who sends his wheels spinning down an all too tempting road.

Vaughn O’Keefe has been part owner of the Hog’s Den for years. Privy to plenty of Disciples of the Road business, he’s never been more ruffled as when a new recruit named “Smoke” walks through the door. Something about the man gets his blood pumping, but he knows to keep his preferences under wraps around the club.

“Smoke” Callahan has done a couple of rehab stints and is finally clean, thanks to help from the Disciples. He’s on the right path and isn’t about to get sidetracked, no matter how much the guy who manages the bar gets beneath his skin. Besides, his last relationship with a man left him scared, alone, and with a nightmare of an addiction.

When the Hog’s Den becomes shorthanded, and Smoke is ordered to help out the one man he can’t have, his longing for the bartender reaches blistering proportions. Vaughn figures a night together should be enough to satisfy their mutual attraction. But neither banks on just how scorching hot it might be.

As Smoke’s past unravels and the one person he hopes never to lay eyes on again messes with all he holds sacred, it’s time to involve the Disciples. Problem is, he’ll have to risk his membership, his heart, and his own hide to keep everyone he cares about safe.

I am a huge fan of Christina Lee's books, so I was excited to read this first one in her new series! I have had really great luck with motorcycle club books, so I was interested in seeing how Lee would spin a m/m romance out of it! I thought she did a great job of making this one gritty and real, and I enjoyed Smoke and Vaughn together.
I liked that we had two very masculine, tough as nails guys as our main characters and that we got both their POVs. However, my one issue was that I really struggled to remember who was narrating because their voices sounded the same. Even though this was an ARC, and they are uncorrected proofs, I found myself doubly confused at times because the wrong name would be used. For example, it would be Vaughn's chapter and we would be getting his POV, but then it would refer to Vaughn as if Smoke were narrating. That may not be an issue in the finished copy, but it did make reading a bit more challenging for me personally.
Christina does not hold back in bringing the steam, that's for sure. The tension between Smoke and Vaughn is pretty intense and it's even more so because they had to hide their true natures from the others in the MC, for fear of not being accepted. The MC is a huge part of both Smoke and Vaughn's lives. While Vaughn may not be in the actual club, he runs their bar and is considered one of their own. I loved that the gang didn't hesitate in offering their protection to Vaughn after his apartment had been broken into. Having come from a different MC, Smoke is glad to be a part of the Disciples. His last club introduced him to a heroin addiction and a lover who treated him poorly and he is grateful to the Disciples for the chance to be a part of their group.
There is a bit of suspense involved in this one, as Vaughn and Smoke are dealing with a jealous ex who isn't afraid of messing with Vaughn and what's his. Even though I expected a bigger showdown towards the end, I have to admit, that big scene was already tense enough and I was nervous reading because my mind was going to dark places and I did NOT want to see Vaughn and Smoke go through what was planned for them.
This book probably won't be for everyone. It has a grittier and more in your face tone than some of the other m/m romances I've read. While it didn't bother me personally, I did want to point that out. It's also pretty heavy on the sex scenes and does include one brief one that included a ménage a trois with a female. I did feel some of the scenes overshadowed the plot and I think I would have liked a bit more action on the MC end. Nevertheless, I love Lee's writing and storytelling, so I am excited to see who the next book in the series will follow!

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  1. It sounds like a book I would enjoy, I've been reading a lot M-M romance lately and I could read this one
    Of course I hope the confusion with the POV is only an ARC thing
    Great review

    Ruty @Reading…Dreaming

  2. I really enjoyed this one, but thats probably because I am a sucker for the dark and grittier story lines. I kinda liked that this one pushed my limits at points. But I totally get what you mean about Vaughn and Smoke having similar voices, they did blur sometimes! Great review!

  3. Oh no! You lost me at that threesome LOL. Otherwise this does sound like a pretty good read. I haven't read one of her books before, but I know they get good reviews. Glad this one worked for you for the most part. :)

  4. I love the sound of this one! I didn't know there was a threesome, though LOL


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