Title ~ The Darkest Flame
Author ~ Christina Lee
Published ~ 17th August 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
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.
The Darkest Flame is the first book in Christina Lee’s new series entitled Roadmap to Your Heart. This first installment is also somewhat of a spin-off from the book There You Stand where the two protagonist appeared as secondary characters. In a violent biker world where keeping your “preferences” to yourself is essential, can both men risk it all and openly take what they so desperately want?
Vaughn O’Keefe has been part owner and bartender, and essentially the heart, of The Hog’s Den for years. Partially owned by the Disciples of the Road MC, the bikers use the bar as a hang-out as well as a place where they conduct official business. Despite never really involving himself with the Disciple’s outside of the odd social occasion, Vaughn is considered an honorary member of the gang. He runs the bar and it is a mutually beneficial arrangement for both parties. Vaughn is bisexual which is something that he has kept discreet. The fact that he prefers the company of men would likely not sit well with his surly father or the Disciples. Keeping things under wraps has never been an issue for Vaughn. Until Smoke comes into the picture.
Smoke Callahan is a loyal recruit of the Disciples. After all, their president, Malachi, is responsible for pulling Smoke out from under the crushing force of addiction that he found himself in when he was a member of a rival MC called Devil’s Asylum. Having completed rehab, Smoke has finally managed to piece his life back together again and leave the dysfunctional relationship he was in as well as the numbing effect of hardcore drugs behind him. Smoke is also bisexual; however, he has never openly been with a man. His previous encounters and relationships with men have all been closeted. He has too much to lose if anyone, particularly, his MC brethren, were to discover that he prefers men. Smoke has been able to keep his sexual preferences in the dark. Until Vaughn comes into the picture.
“I had never tried coming on to him, and he returned the favor. But if looks could kill, we’d have incinerated each other across the room thousands of times over.”
“It was like living in a concrete prison of our own suffocating sexual tension.”
Both Vaughn and Smoke are insanely attracted to one another but neither of them have ever made a move. The sexual tension between the pair is enough to incinerate a small building. Good thing the Disciples have never really noticed. When The Hog’s Den becomes shorthanded and Malachi notices that Vaughn needs a hand at the bar, he orders Smoke to take on some shifts to help out. With both men now spending more time in each other’s proximity, they slowly begin to give in and head down that bumpy road of lust and attraction. Coming out and being open about what is developing between them is certainly not an option for Vaughn or Smoke. They have to keep things a secret and even though it is a dangerous game they are playing, neither one of them is willing to put a stop to the scorching inferno that is enveloping them. When Smoke’s past comes back to haunt him and threatens the new life that Smoke has worked so hard for, he has to make some tough decisions. Will both men risk everything or are they strong enough to walk away?
I absolutely adored this book. Watching two powerful alpha-males with possessive streaks open up and become utterly vulnerable with one another was beyond beautiful. The volatility of their relationship was explosive as both deal with their insecurities and inner turmoil regarding their profound connection and the secrecy. I loved watching their feelings grow for one another. Both men fell hard and needed to come to a conclusion as to whether they could withstand the hardships that would undoubtedly come with being together and out in the open. In this book we begin to see the complex layers that make up each man slowing being peeled away leaving both men exposed, vulnerable and with their hearts in their hands.
“Just one look and he utterly consumed me.”
The sex in this book was hot, raw, sweaty and erotically passionate. When Vaughn and Smoke finally give in to the escalating tension between them… HOT DAMN! Pair these two together you most definitely get fire-inducing sex that would leave anyone with a pulse panting. You get rough, dirty, and passionately scorching sex! The dirty perv in me loved every minute of it. Lol!
All in all, this author has delivered a gritty and raw yet sweet love story and also managed to keep me intrigued as I tried to figure out just how everything would pan out for our two sexy protagonists. Both men tiptoed around the intense connection they seemed to have with one another right from the start, unsure if they could risk it all and venture into deeper waters. As they begin to discover one another and explore what they could share, you could unquestionably feel the palpable and profound bond they shared. The Darkest Flame turned out to be a very enjoyable read. I am certainly looking forward to more by this author.