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KEEPER OF THE FLAME by Bianca D’ArcKeeper of the Flame by Bianca D'Arc
Series: Dragon Knights #7
Published by Samhain Publishing on 2013-02-26
Genres: Erotica, Fantasy
Reviewed by Jo

A warrior, a maiden...and a passion that could set the whole world aflame. Dragon Knights, Book 7Despite the fact he is the largest of his half-dragon brothers and better suited to fighting, Hugh has been sent on an undercover mission. Forced to stay in human form, he must discover if the land of Helios is truly the Draconian ally it pretends, or something more sinister. When he witnesses injustice in the form of a misshapen baby gryphon kicked out into the cold, he cannot remain in the shadows and watch the child suffer. All he can hope for is that his act of kindness will go unnoticed so his mission can continue. But someone does notice. When Lera cautiously approaches Hugh, she is drawn to his strange, foreign magic. She is entranced by its irresistible allure—until assassins come calling and reveal her true identity. She is Valeria, queen of Helios, Keeper of the Flame. And she has been betrayed. Together they must risk everything to uncover the traitors and reforge the alliance between their lands. Yet beneath their blazing passion, both are still keeping secrets. Secrets that the Sacred Flame will reveal—if their love survives its cleansing fire. Warning: When a dragon prince and a Flame Keeper come together, the conflagration is definitely too hot to handle!

Hugh is one of the Princes of Draconia who usually fights, but he has been sent to Helios on a undercover mission to see just what is going on in that land and if they are still an ally with Draconia or not.  Hugh really does try to keep his presence mostly not talked about, but that all changes when he discovers a baby gryphon that had been kicked out of her nest to die.  No way is Hugh going to allow that baby to die when he can save her.  Of course, that brings him to the attention of the owners where Hugh is renting his room.

Valeria (“Lera”) is the queen of Helios and she is also the Keeper of the Flame.  That second title puts all the gryphons under her protection. When she hears that a mysterious stranger has a baby gryphon his in protection, Lera risks everything to find out the truth of the situation.  Lera’s heart is filled as she watches the large man be so gentle with the little girl gryphon and when he tries to protect the baby from even her.  When danger suddenly threatens Lera, the baby gryphon and everyone in the inn, Hugh acts and his secret is out.

Hugh felt something for the mysterious lady who showed up at the inn to see about Mis (the baby girl gryphon).  As the time went on, he soon learned that the lady was only seeking information about him for the safety of his little charge.  However, when Lera is threatened Hugh decides to risk his cover and save everyone.  That act brings Hugh the information he had been seeking and it also brings him a love unlike any he thought to discover.  Hugh and Lera work together to not only defeat the danger that threatens Lera, but to also weed out the threat to the very rule of Helios.  Only after their love has bloomed do Hugh and Lera both discover the other is a royal of their lands.  The treason in Helios goes deep, but with the loyal gryphons, people of Helios and the help of dragon warriors from Draconia the threat is destroyed.  Now that the dust has cleared and everyone is safe, what will happen to the love between Hugh and Lera when it’s time to settle their futures?

Take one undercover dragon Prince and one secret Queen with connections to the Goddess, toss in treason and an adorable baby girl gryphon and you have the love story of Hugh and Lera in Keeper of the Flame.  Hugh might have been uncomfortable in the guise of an undercover mission, but he knew when to bring the protective warrior out.  Lera might have stayed safely in her castle but she is also the Keeper of the Flame and when word of a stranger keeping a baby gryphon comes to her, the protection of those under her care have her risking her life to find the answers.  I loved how fast and decisive Hugh was when it came time to act out to save Lera and Mis. Lera might not be a shifter, but her strengths were just as strong when acting for her Goddess.  I loved just how the Goddess let everyone know what she thought of Hugh and Lera’s love and also what they thought of those that would discriminate against those that are different.  The best part was when Mis proved that what goes around comes around in her innocent reactions and answers.  I loved how Hugh and Lera proved their love not only to each other, but for Mis and took away her biggest fear forever.  Keeper of the Flame has all the best parts: suspense, passion, treason, danger, protection of the young and best of all a love whose light will lead the way to a brighter future.

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