Author: Christina Lee
Pages/Word Count: 228 Pages
At a Glance: There’s just enough angst to go with the sweet to make The Deepest Blue a pleasant way to spend a few hours reading.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Rugged and conventional Callum Montgomery enjoys running Shady Pines hunting preserve, except for the secret that’s eating him alive. When his sister brings a date for a family wedding, he can’t stand the arrogant city slicker with the stick up his perfectly fine ass. He doesn’t understand his draw to Dean, who pushes his buttons at every turn, but he’d never dream of betraying his sibling over some lust fueled fantasy.
Handsome and conscientious Dean Abbott is a research assistant in his university’s biology lab. When his roommate, Cassie, begs him to be her pretend date in front of her meddling family, he begrudgingly agrees to help. He doesn’t anticipate being enchanted by the countryside, the colorful cast of characters, or her sexy and brooding straight brother.
When contempt turns to passion and leads to stolen moments in a sugar cane field, Callum can’t help longing for the kind of connection he believes he can never have. But not even the world’s most heart-melting kiss can bridge the vast philosophical differences between the men.
Dean’s return to his urban lifestyle leaves him restless, his mind continually wandering to the charming setting that spoke to something missing deep inside him. Because you can take the city boy out of the country but you can’t make him forget the intriguing man he left behind.
Review: After running across Christina Lee’s The Darkest Flame on my Amazon recs, and One-Clicking it, I knew I wasn’t really taking much of a risk in accepting The Deepest Blue for review. I liked the author’s voice in The Darkest Flame—though I must admit I’d expected it to be a bit grittier since the story is set in and around an MC—but her characters Smoke and Vaughn were easy enough to root for through the drama and on to their happy ending. Now, having finished this second book in the series, I have to say if I had to pick a favorite of the two, it’d be no contest. The Deepest Blue wins.
At its heart, this book is a City Mouse/Country Mouse story, and has everything you might look for in an angsty genre romance: one man out and proud, the other deeply in the closet; two men on the opposite ends of the spectrum, socially. This is a true opposites attract story in almost every way. Dean Abbott is the college student, environmentalist, vegetarian city boy to Callum Montgomery’s small town rural guy. Callum helps run his family’s hunting preserve; he’s the brains behind the business, so before you go and think he’s a backwater hick, he’s most definitely not. He and Dean are an intellectual match, no question, and once Callum stops being so abrasive and decides Dean isn’t a half bad guy, we see how each of these men begin to open up to each other, and how they really do complement one another. They may have diametrically opposed views on what Callum’s family does for a living, but all that does is serve to ignite the spark Christina Lee lights between them.
The primary issue when these two meet and those sparks fly, however, is that Callum believes Dean is straight. And, why wouldn’t he? Dean is attending a family wedding at Shady Pine’s as his best friend and roommate Cassie’s date/maybe boyfriend. Cassie…who just so happens to be Callum’s sister.
The complication is all neatly served, and then the fun is in getting to watch the story unfold—through the friction, the secret Dean and Cassie are keeping, and most especially through the sexual tension that’s always thisclose to the surface between Dean and Callum. The story is told in alternating points of view, so we get both sides to their story, which I thought worked well given their situation. We don’t stand by and watch Callum struggle with his attraction to his sister’s “boyfriend,” we get a firsthand account of the fear he feels of someone in his family discovering his deepest, darkest secret. And the why of it is plain as well. We also get to experience Dean’s conflict—his wanting to be truthful with Callum because the attraction between them definitely goes both ways. I ended up really liking both of these guys, individually and as a couple.
As secondary characters go, Callum’s family was pretty great. I especially loved his younger brother Billie and would gladly read a novel with a grown up version of him in it somewhere down the line. He’s sweet and innocent and struggles with some physical limitations, and he stole every scene he was in. He’s the kind of kid you just want to hug the stuffing out of. What becomes evident quickly, something we see through Dean’s point-of-view, is that Callum underestimates just how wonderful his family truly is.
Overall, as contemporary genre romance goes, The Deepest Blue ticks all the relevant boxes in the category. Its characters are engaging, and there’s just enough angst to go with the sweet to make it a pleasant way to spend a few hours reading.
You can buy The Deepest Blue here:
Once upon a time, I lived in New York City and was a wardrobe stylist. I spent my days shopping for photo shoots, getting into cabs, eating amazing food, and drinking coffee at my favorite hangouts.
Now I live in the Midwest with my husband and son—my two favorite guys. I’ve been a clinical social worker and a special education teacher. But it wasn’t until I wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper that I realized I could turn the fairytales inside my head into the reality of writing fiction.
I’m addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. I believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.
I write Adult, New Adult, and M/M romance. I also own a hand-stamped jewelry business, which requires me to stamp letters and/or words onto pieces of silver. They go hand-in-hand perfectly.
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