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Darkest Flame

Dark King, Book 1
Narrated by: Antony Ferguson
Series: Dark Kings, Book 1
Length: 10 hrs and 27 mins
4 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Summary

Denae Lacroix is a beautiful MI5 agent on a deadly mission. Sent to the Scottish Highlands to spy on the mysterious Dreagan Industries, she discovers too late that she's been set up - as human bait. She is an irresistible lure for a man who has not seen or touched a woman for centuries. He is a man with a destiny - and a desire - that could destroy them both. It's been 1,200 years since Kellan has walked among humans - and there's no denying the erotically charged attraction he feels for Denae. But as a Dragon King, he is sworn to protect his secrets. Yet the closer he gets to this smart, ravishing woman, the more her life is in danger. All it takes is one reckless kiss to unleash a flood of desire, the fury of dragons - and the fiercest enemy of all.

©2014 Donna Grant (P)2014 Tantor

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Skipper
  • Skipper
  • 29-12-14

When in danger, have sex?

Fabulous narration by Antony Ferguson. This dragon-shifter erotic and suspenseful romance includes several explicit m/f sex scenes, several battle scenes (not gory), no offensive language (no crude terms for females, little or no swearing or profanity). This is the first book in the series, but it contains some characters from a related series (which I haven't read).

Lovers: Kellan the immortal dragon-shifter (king of the bronze dragons) and secret agent Denae Lacroix, a Texan working for British MI-5.

Setting: Scotland and Ireland in contemporary times.

Plot: A few rogue MI-5 agents join forces with an outcast dragon-shifter (Ulric, king of the silver dragons) and the Dark Fae, attempting to overthrow the other dragon kings and all mankind. The Light Fae play a big role, too.

The story is told in 3rd person POV, shifting among varied characters. The author's writing style is okay for light entertainment, but stands improvement. The world-building is sketchy in places, but I liked the idea of dragon species varying by metallic scales (silver, gold, bronze, copper, etc). Decent dialogue. Interesting description of the dragon keep. Some vivid action scenes. Too much time is spent in thinking, but the guilt-trip trope is not a major driver here (thankfully). We get the thoughts of Denae, Kellan, Rhi, Phelin, Con. The POV bounced all over.

I grew tired of certain overused phrases: "his celadon gaze" (green eyes, big hairy whoop). "Her whiskey eyes" (whatever), "the king of kings" (a lordy phrase in more ways than one — better to just refer to the head honcho as Con, Constantine, King Con, or King of the Golds). Like so many romance authors, too much focus on what the characters are wearing. Who cares? Tell me a story about what they do.

The story started off really strong, with suspense surrounding two MI-5 agents entering the cave of a dragon-shifter. However, all too soon the main characters (Kellan and Denae) begin to act illogically and out of character, to drive the plot towards sex at unwise (unsafe) times and places. Plot contrivances bug me. Have sex where it's safe, unless you want me to think you're too stupid to live. Same goes for the scene where Denae went freely into the jail, with NO escape plan. And how exactly did they escape? — the means made little sense.

Not a cliffhanger at the end, since everyone is safe for now, but some unresolved issues and questions point towards the sequel.
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Excerpt from chapter one, when Kellan first encounters Denae. She's fighting for her life in his cave in Scotland.

"Kellan shifted his head. It had been many centuries since he’d seen a human, and quite frankly, he could go through eternity without seeing another. How he despised them.

He didn’t like his sleep being disturbed either. Yet, he knew Constantine wouldn’t be happy if he made himself known in his dragon form and ate the two intruders. As tempting as that might be.

His only other option would be to shift into human form and confront them. And that was too distasteful to even consider.

Kellan stayed in his spot and watched as the two circled each other. Nothing’s changed. Humans always fighting.

No matter how many centuries passed, no matter what country he visited, the humans were all the same. Selfish, belligerent, arrogant, greedy bastards."

26 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for deeschlaut
  • deeschlaut
  • 11-04-18

So distracting!

I enjoyed the storyline and like this author a lot. However, the voice the male narrator used for the female lead was SO distracting and ruined the flow for me.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for EllisBell
  • EllisBell
  • 31-07-18

Narrator pls STOP trying to do an American accent

Dear Narrator,

Your Irish brogue is really wonderful and sexy, but the first time you narrated Denae's Texas accented character, I thought it was a joke in the storyline or something, but then I realized disappointingly it wasn't and that you were going to be reading her that way all the way through the book. I only finished the story because that was the only book I had on my phone while on a long trip..
Not sure if it is all female voices or because you were trying to do a Texas accented female voice. I'm sorry, and not trying to be mean but Denae's narration comes across as cartoon-ish and really spoils the story....

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Tanisha
  • 30-03-18

Ugh, Narrator stinks

I have to wonder if men actually think women sound like that. His narration of women is horrible. He’s Scottish accent is laughable and a Texan does not sound like a 1930’s southern belle.

The female asks way too many questions and is shocked by the answers. Her being in MI5 is highly suspect considering she makes such obvious stupid mistakes.

I gave this book a try and then I gave up. Valid attempt but it failed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Pebbles
  • Pebbles
  • 13-02-15

I'm a pushover for Irish accents.

I listened to book 0 and enjoyed that one enough to make try book 1. Glad I did. Enjoyed Darkest Flame very much. Nice lead female in this story.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for SLY
  • SLY
  • 29-07-19

Oh for f**** sake! Too stupid to live!!!

Couldn’t make it through the last half of this book because the heroine is so freaking dumb. There could have been a good story here but the heroine, who is an MI 5 agent, is just too stupid to live. Throw in the oddball fact that she’s a bad ass British spy from Texas who is too stupid to live just to make it more ridiculous. The narrator does a good job with the male characters but compounds the heroine’s stupidity by making her sound like she wasn’t smart enough to make the cast of Hee Haw. I lasted 5 hours and then just couldn’t take any more. If I’d spent a credit on this I would return it but it was free with Audible’s Escapes package. If you want a good dragon shifter romance check out Thea Harrison’s “Dragon Bound.”

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Rowena1999
  • Rowena1999
  • 02-08-18

Not my thing

DNF

Droning on and on / talking for hours without anything happening.

Love the narrator's voice though

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for LexiMuse
  • LexiMuse
  • 20-07-18

The second of a multi book saga of dragons with other supernaturals

This is an interesting storyline and maybe worth continuing and going back to hear the first. Some of the descriptions are very repetitive and the narration is below par- most especially with the narrator’s attempt to do female voices

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Harry
  • Harry
  • 19-03-15

Feel like I missed something.

I'm not sure but it feels like this is a continuation of another book and I missed it. Gotta read up and see what's going on with the sequence of the books. All in all this was a good book and well narrated

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Trish R.
  • Trish R.
  • 31-12-14

Can't listen to anymore..

Any additional comments?

Loved Kellan and Denae. They were great together, except the times Denae thought she could protect dragons. Really? And when they in the tunnels running from Taraeth and the Dark Ones and Denae and Kellan had to stop for some passionate kisses, thought that was rather stupid. I really liked Rhi and it was nice seeing Con, Kiril, Guy, Tristan, etc., again.
An all-around good read with some really good sex.


As to the narrator: I listened to Dark Heat and only gave Mr. Ferguson 3 stars but this time I really listened and only gave him 2. His lack of performing is just amazing. Con bellowed and the narrator just used his regular reading voice. There was yelling, whispering, murmuring, muttering, but nothing from Mr. Ferguson, just his usual boring reading tone. And don't get me started on how he sucks at womens voices.
I've listened to this narrator for the last time. If a male or female narrator can't do both men and women's voices with believability they shouldn't be narrators.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful