Dark Heat (Dark Kings 0.1-0.3)
by Donna Grant
The Dark Kings are sworn to defend an ancient legacy of dragon magic. But their fiercest challenge lies in the modern world, where a woman’s love conquers all. These are their stories.
Fueled by ancient magic—and enflamed by human desire—the Dragon King known as Hal can transform himself at will into one of the legendary winged creatures he is sworn to protect. But one thing he can never do is fall in love...with a mortal woman.
The dark immortal warriors were never meant to experience human desire. But when Guy, a member of an ancient order of shape-shifting warriors, meets Elena—a mere mortal whose beauty and blind ambition shakes him to his core—all bets are off...
For centuries, the Dragon Kings have hidden their shapeshifting powers from the world. But when a mortal enemy threatens to expose them, the warrior Banan must leave his secret lair in the Highlands to risk his life for the dragons within—and resist the temptations of human love.
Banan has been waiting for centuries for someone like Jane. Guy knew it was love at first sight with Elena. Can two Dragon Kings commit to two immortal women for eternity? Or does fate have something else in store?
Themes: shifters, dragons, magick, paranormal
Rating: 4.25 stars
Hal and Cassie’s story is one that happened REALLY fast, but I could see the instant connection between them and had no problem believing the love that developed between them, even at so fast a speed. Cassie stumbles into Hal’s life, moving into the cottage down the road from the Dragon Kings’ home and finding that Murphy’s Law is in all its glory when it comes to her life. Hal stumbles on her in need of rescuing and before he even learns who she is, he is pulled to her and the desire that flares through him is unexpectedly strong. Never imagining that she could accept him, Hal is still determined be her hero, but she discovers his secret and loves him anyway there’s no turning back for them.
Hal is a sexy beast (pun intended) and sweet to the core, a true gentleman and one that maintains his spirit and sweetness despite the length of his life and the loneliness that is beginning to flow into him. Jane is just the woman to pull him back from the edge and the two of them make a perfect match. The passion between them is hot as dragon-fire and there is no denying that their HEA is destined and at no time will they ever separate. This story was a great beginning to the series and introduction to the real lives of the Dragon Kings. If you have read the Warriors series most of these characters will be familiar to you, but getting to learn more about the Dragon Kings was a serious thrill. I can say for sure though that when Con finally falls in love with a woman the world will change forever.
Elena and Guy on the other hand have quite a bit of angst and danger in their story. Elena has come to the highlands with her boss on a caving adventure, never imagining her life will soon be in the hands of a very sexy, alpha, but deadly male and his distrustful friends. When she is rescued from the dark cave by Guy she feels a connection to him, but her fears of the men keep her pushing him away, but when they give her their trust and ask for her help with uncovering a new enemy she can’t say no to them and especially not to the undeniable desire she has for Guy. Thankfully they are able to overcome the dangers surrounding Elena and find their HEA… or are they?
Elena doesn’t start off as my favorite type of character. She’s a bit meek, letting her boss lead her into dangerous situations and then when she is left to her own devices it takes her a little too long in my opinion to step up and defend herself. When she finally finds her spine I found myself liking her much more. And seeing her heal and love Guy, we see the sensual and sweet sides of her as well. Guy is the ultimate bad boy; a broody, sexy, and suspicious Dragon, Guy resists the pull to Elena because they cannot trust her motives for being in their mountain, there are just too many coincidences for her not to have been there to try to expose the Dragon Kings…right? But when she earns their trust and he is able to have his wicked way with her, his feeling are unquestionable and there is no chance he’ll ever let her leave him. Seeing the Kings in action to keep Elena safe was fabulous and I cannot wait to get another chance to read more about Elena and Guy in their part of Passion’s Claim. Con is becoming a bit of a character that I love to hate, one that I cannot wait to see get his butt kicked by love, but I have a feeling we’ll be waiting a while to see this happen.
Jane just can’t seem to catch a break. Just when she starts to find her niche at her job, she overhears her boss talking about something she just couldn’t have heard. When she contacts Elena, attempting to spill the beans, Jane finds herself pulled into a world of danger, deceit and Dragons. Never imagining that she can be of any help to them, Jane is surprised when she is recruited to help Elena and the Kings to find out more about their new enemy and his plans for them. But meeting Banan changes everything for her. Can she keep her new friends safe, guard their secret, and perhaps find love with one sexy, sweet Dragon shifter?
Jane is a woman I find myself relating to easily. Though she stumbles into a conspiracy that she should never have encountered, she immediately takes steps to do the right thing, not giving too much thought to the consequences that might develop for her. When her passion for Banan begins to develop into something much deeper there is no way for her to escape Banan and certainly nowhere for her to run from him or her own feelings. Banan is a sweet and considerate guy, one that puts his woman above any consequences, even the chance of exposing the Kings to the humans, if that’s what it takes to keep her safe. When he decides she is his, there is no turning back, he commits wholeheartedly, no matter his fears, concerns, or worries about the future. He trusts that their love will overcome anything… and he’s not wrong. And all I can say about Con is: karma is a bitch and when he falls for a woman finally, like more and more of the kings have, there is no way in hell I’m gonna miss reading about it!.
This story is more of a two-part epilogue to two of the previous stories than its own story, but it adds just that extra touch of greatness to the stories and the overall series. Part one revolves around Jane and Banan and the changes coming to their relationship and their lives. They have been together a little while now and have settled into their love, but neither of them have had the courage to broach the next big step—the binding ceremony that will mark her as his mate for life. After a set of sweet circumstances, Banan and Jane finally take that step and their love is enriched and proven beyond any doubt. Part two is about Guy and Elena and their story is a bit more complicated, heart-wrenching and sad, mostly because Guy is just too much the silent type to talk issues out and that leads to a huge misconception on bother their parts that stands the chance of tearing them apart and breaking their hearts for all time.
I loved both of these stories for different reasons. Jane and Banan’s was sweet and loving, with only a bit of nerves and angst that quickly went out the door, reminding us how great a couple they are. Jane and Banan are still both great characters and their love is obvious. Elena and Guy’s story was more challenging to read with lots of tears and sadness before Elena finally turns everything around and gets her man. I found myself liking Elena even more, knowing that she was able to get past her hang-ups to make sure that they don’t throw away their chance at true happiness. When she finally came to her senses and started fighting for them, I knew there was no way she could fail and she would get her man and keep him forever. Two great shorties that wrap up the Kings stories beautifully.
I seriously CANNOT wait for the next full length novel in the series and any future stories. I have loved all these stories and the Dragon Kings’ cameos in the Warriors books as well. If you haven’t read that series you will maybe miss some of the subtle mentions of that series (and of course the greatness of that series cannot be forgotten), but you will still enjoy this series. I am looking forward to the future plotlines and finding out where the Dragon Kings are headed and what women will earn their hearts.
*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review. No compensation was provided.