Author: Brooke Cumberland
Series: Spark #3
Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
FLAME is a companion novel in the Spark series, but can be read as a stand alone...
** An erotic romance--Mature audiences only 18+**
Carissa Wright doesn't do relationships.
Raised with a junkie mother and an alcoholic father, building relationships were far off her list. Rather, one night-stands were her usual.
Carissa has one constant in her life--her best friend Velaney. Completely opposite of each other, yet they balance each other out.
Although Carissa admits to only wanting sex and nothing more, will she allow the one guy who wants to break down her walls or will she run out of fear for finally letting her guard down?
She is unfamiliar with their feelings and wants nothing more than to walk away without a shattered heart. Will she be able to find the courage in order to turn her flame into a long lasting relationship?
With walls built up & emotions turned off, can she learn to put her heart on the line?
Or will each guy just be another flame?
Drew Finley is a foreign exchange student from London. Studying abroad, he remains focused on school and football. It isn't until he meets Carissa that his consistent routine is interrupted. Knowing very well he'll be heading home in just a matter of months, Drew doesn't pressure Carissa into giving him more than she can give. However, once he falls for her... he isn't giving up.
Control, passion, and desperation.
He'll take her anyway he can have her...
As I am often determined to finish a series as soon as I start it, it was not a stretch to determine my next read after Burn. I was curious about the character Carissa. She seemed like a great secondary character in Velaney's stories but I didn't get to know much about her or her past throughout the course of the first two books. I knew she had a troubled background much like Velaney's but I wasn't sure how deep that went.
Carissa is a self described whore. She sleeps around whenever the mood strikes. She has even had as many as three or four different partners on any given day. Her one-time policy has been her go-to from the moment she started having sex at eighteen. She doesn't do relationships. However, once she meets Drew she may be rethinking that stance on commitments. Drew seems to be different from all the one-nighters she has accumulated over the course of her life. She tries to keep a firm grasp on her control and push him away as soon as she gets what she wants from him but Drew doesn't seem to want to just vanish like the rest of her bedmates. Strangely, Carissa may not want him to disappear as much as she thinks she does.
Drew is determined to show Carissa that she is worth more than what she assumes she is. She deserves happiness and that happiness cannot be found from frivolously bouncing from bed to bed. Can Drew convince Carissa that he can make her happier than she believes she is worthy of or will Carissa fall back into her old ways of debauchery when things get tough?
At the beginning of Flame I questioned whether I really liked Carissa at all. She seemed like a such a stable confidant in the first two books that I never even thought that she was as messed up as she was portrayed in this book. I squirmed a little in my seat while reading about Carissa finding her way into sexual situations with incredibly unsavory characters. As I determined I was going to set the book aside for a while to clear my brain of all the depraved acts Carissa engages in, Drew enters her life. I find his determination not to play into her games intriguing and continued to read despite my reservations. Drew truly saved the story for me in the process of saving Carissa. He was very likeable and I found myself rooting for him to change her for the better. Carissa seemed so shallow and transparent in the beginning of the story but as the story continued and she opened up to Drew, I saw a different side of her. She was not the shallow whore that she seemed so proud to call herself. There were emotional issues that caused that low self-esteem. As Drew was strong into the study of Psychology, it was interesting to see some of the techniques he used to coax Carissa from behind her fake facade of strength and force her to be vulnerable. As a Psychology major myself, it only served to make the story even greater than I had thought it was going to be.
Flame takes a seemingly vapid and shallow character and gives her depth. Through a combination of love, friendship, and much needed therapy the main protagonist transforms from a guarded, wounded caterpillar into a happy and vivacious butterfly.