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’m the moth to your flame, Lou. I’d rather be burned a thousand times than be free of you.’”
This quote epitomizes Wren and Lou’s relationship from the first night they meet in B.B. Reid’s latest release, The Moth and the Flame, because regardless of all the reasons these two should go their separate ways: Wren’s ties to Exiled, their differing ages, the lack of control they seem to have around each other, and the immature antics that are perpetuated due to their respective jealousy, these ‘besties’ share an ‘invisible, unbreakable, and incurable’ bond that draws them together and refuses to release them despite the fact that when Lou finally ‘sees’ all that Wren is, she’ll finally know why he strove to protect her, even from himself.
It’s understandable why not many people around Wren and Lou understand the dynamics of their relationship. It’s quite a bit confusing given how adamant Wren is that they are nothing more than friends even if he acts like a jealous boyfriend anytime another guy shows interest in Lou, running them off before any of them can take her innocence away. Some would likely suggest that it’s completely unhealthy and dysfunctional given how possessive they are over one another and the steps that they both take to get each other’s attention, even in the most childish of ways.
It’s easy to forget just how young and naive Lou is when she and Wren meet, and even through the years the story takes place. Despite her smart mouth and independent nature as well as the struggles she’s had to endure, there is still an innocence about her that Wren refuses to take. The scenes where Lou exhibits her immaturity by acting like a spoiled brat and throwing tantrums when she doesn’t get her way, especially when it comes to what she wants from Wren, I actually found myself saying aloud ‘grow up,’ but then I took a moment to look at the bigger picture and realized that she’s actually acting like any normal teenager would, which is exactly who she is even though she’s had to grow up quickly and learn how to survive on her own because that’s the only person she ever really trusts.
I swear Wren has the patience of a saint, and while I will admit that at some points I wanted him to just give in to his feelings for Lou, give in to her constant pursuit, give in to how desperate he was to claim her as his, Reid hints at and illustrates concretely exactly why he can’t and won’t take something from her that she’ll never get back, and to me, that says more about him than any other thing he says or does for Lou.
I adore friends-to-lovers’ story lines, especially ones like Wren and Lou’s – a slow burn relationship for a number of reasons, which amps up the angst and also keeps readers wondering when they’ll finally go all in and become more complete than they’ve ever been. Lou’s age wis definitely a point of contention for Wren, but it’s so much more than that, and it’s those complications that B.B. Reid slowly reveals, clearly proving why, even though it just about killed both Lou and Wren as well as readers, the path that Reid puts her hero and heroine on is the one that is most beneficial for them, that allows them both to fully understand every step they take towards one another, and that’s what I held onto as I was going out of my mind for these two to finally figure out their crap and be together!
What I appreciate the most about B.B. Reid’s storytelling is that she crafts a unique plot line, going beyond stereotypical elements as well as quintessential character qualities. She creates such multifaceted characters – ones who are far from perfect and have both strengths and weaknesses as their story continues. I’m enjoying the heck out of Reid’s When Rivals Play series, and I am absolutely intrigued by the next couple in line for their story to be told!
4.5 Poison Apples
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?”
About B.B. Reid:
B.B. Reid is a bestselling author of new adult romance. She grew up the only daughter and middle child in a small town in North Carolina. After graduating with a Bachelors in Finance, she started her career at an investment research firm while continuing to serve in the National Guard. She currently resides in Charlotte with her moody cat and enjoys collecting Chuck Taylors and binge-eating chocolate.
Please visit her website for more information: http://www.bbreid.com
Connect with B.B. Reid:
Book + Main http://bit.ly/BMB-BBREID