The Moth and the Flame by B.B. Reid
Release Date: May 20, 2019
The Moth and the Flame, the second romantic standalone in the When Rivals Play series by B.B. Reid.
Here lies Louchana Valentine. She was a homeless, orphaned virgin.
I never cared what my gravestone would say until I landed in deep with a powerful gangster. Lucky for me, my best friend happens to be ruthless too. I should feel guilty that he’s forced to turn on the man who’s been a father to him. Except I’ve always known that Wren’s soul wasn’t as black as he claimed.
He was good.
He was beautiful.
He was mine.
He just didn’t know it yet.
And with Wren keeping me safe, I’ve got time left to rewrite the end of my story. But if he has his way, virgin is already carved in stone.
I’ve never known anyone as alluring as Lou. Or as frustrating. Since the night she saved my life and stole my wallet for her troubles, I couldn’t stay away.
She became my onus.
With nowhere to run, I’m forced to trust someone I never expected. At least with Lou safe in Blackwood Keep—far away from me—I’ll die with my conscience intact. Because she no longer looks at me with friendship in her eyes. Those iridescent blues shine with a different need entirely, and I’ve never been able to deny her.
It is strongly advised that you read The Peer and the Puppet before diving into The Moth and the Flame. Content suitable for ages 18+.
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I gave this book 4.25 stars. While I adored this book, I definitely have enjoyed a lot of B. B. Reid’s other books more. This was a book that I adored, but not one that I loved so much that I had to go back and reread it ten times in a row. Nevertheless, it is a B. B. Reid book which much like pizza, even when it’s bad it’s still pretty fricken good.
This book was surprisingly uneventful. At least the first half was. I felt like the first half of the book was more establishing the characters and their backstories but not much plot action really happened until part two.
This book was the friends to lovers trope done right. I have read some atrocious books with that trope and I’m here to say that you can do it wrong. As it is one of my favorite tropes I have to applaud when it is done right. The romance was slow burning and sexy, this entire book was just building up the anticipation of these two characters finally getting it together without ruining their relationship.
We got a brief glimpse into the dynamic between Wren and Lou in the first book in this series, just enough to get us hooked. Lou is a street kid. She picks pockets and knows her way around back alleyways. she also has one helluva sharp tongue that she can use to destroy her enemies. And her friends. Or both. Just for fun. As a main character, I have to give her all of the stars. I love main characters that have a lot of personality who are loud and sneaky and know what they want. If you enjoy that type of protagonist this would probably be a good book choice for you.
Now Wren. Wren is very complicated. You don’t really know too much about him until pretty much the end of the book when his secrets start to reveal themselves. He doesn’t even know some of the secrets in his own life and honestly, that’s funny to me in an ironic way. He is conflicted about his relationship with Lou throughout the book and it can get so incredibly sexy at times. I’m legit glad it isn’t too hot out while I was reading this because I would have melted.
Overall, .75 taken off of the star rating system because I found that the beginning of the novel was a bit slow. The rest of the book earned the other 4.25 with a masterful twisting and turning plot and romance.
Lou didn’t awaken when I climbed through her window, weary and angry, late the following night. My prediction had come true. I’d gone back to Blackwood Keep, and against my better judgment, I confronted Danny Boy.
Or rather Ever McNamara.
Heir to a multibillion-dollar hotel empire.
And the only son of Thomas McNamara.
Surprisingly, what bothered me most wasn’t Danny Boy or his double life. Something about his father had seemed familiar to me. As if I’d known him in another lifetime.
I shook my head as I toed off the black and white striped Adidas Lou had picked out, swearing the sneakers almost made me look normal. I snorted, and with a moan, she shifted in her sleep causing the sheet covering her lower half to slip dangerously low. Before I could rethink it, I ran my fingers over the curve of her naked hip now bare to me. Thoughts of Ever McNamara fled to the recesses of my mind as I marveled at the smoothness of her skin.
It was a surprising contrast to her hardened demeanor, but I always knew it was a front. She was a pillar, no doubt standing tall and appearing strong, but one day, her cracked foundation would crumble, and I’d make damn sure I was around to pick up the pieces.
Even if she didn’t want me to be.
There were times when she didn’t appreciate just how seriously I took my role as her best friend. She claimed I acted like her father rather than her friend. If that was what she called making sure no one ever hurt her again, then sure—I’d daddy the fuck out of her.
Another moan slipped from her lips when my fingers reach the edge of her frilly blue panties, but this time, it was the sound of my name on her lips. For a second, I panicked, thinking she’d caught me perving on her, but when her even breaths continued, I realized she was still very much out of it, and a smile slowly formed as my fingers dipped lower.
“What are you dreaming right now, Lou?”
Her breath seemed to catch as I continued to toy with the seam of her panties.
“Are you dreaming of me?”
She sighed in response.
“You are, aren’t you?”
A low whine escaped her.
“I know what you’re after, little Valentine. I’ve known all along.” We both seemed to stop breathing when my fingers dipped beneath her panties and I felt her smooth skin. “How can you be sure you can handle me when I haven’t even kissed you yet?” I swallowed, cursing myself but then decided to allow myself honesty. At least this once.
She was writhing now, attempting to relieve the ache I knew was building, but we both knew it was useless. Nothing short of getting me inside her would ever do.
“You want to come.” It wasn’t a question but a statement of fact. “But you don’t get to come. You’ve been bad, Lou. This is how I’ll punish you.” I freed my fingers from her panties and stepped back. As if I’d snapped my fingers, breaking her from my spell, she jackknifed from the bed, breathing hard and looking around in confusion. When her gaze pierced the dark and found me, I remain perfectly still, my hands already in my pockets, pretending my fingers weren’t burning with the memory of her soft skin.
My eyebrow rose. “You expecting someone else?”
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