• Dark Warrior

  • Gay Romance
  • By: Lily Harlem
  • Narrated by: Tom North
  • Length: 6 hrs and 35 mins
  • 2.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

While some passions live on the surface, others - wilder, darker passions - have to be kept buried deep.

Dr. Leo Rotherham is following his calling by working in rural Kenya for the charity Medics On Hand. While he expected a primitive way of life and limited medical supplies, what he doesn't bargain on is falling for handsome village warrior, Malik.

Malik is well respected, knowledgeable, and loyal to his tribe. He's also beautiful, brave, modern and, much to Leo's dismay, married - isn't he?

No, it turns out Malik is as free as the animals that roam the African plains at night.

Soon, the tension is building between the two men, and Leo isn't sure if he's coming or going. Whenever he's around Malik, he can't help but notice the reflected look of lust in his eyes and feel the longing sizzling between them.

Malik stands too close, not close enough. Forbidden attraction simmers between them, and the need grows to dizzying heights. But dare they admit to each other what it is they want? And are they brave enough to act on their desires and be honest about their lust? One thing is for sure, a passion this big, this powerful, can't be contained, and it's all going to explode in the most spectacular of ways.

©2019 Lily Harlem (P)2021 Lily Harlem
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Romance

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Surprisingly well written

I went into Dark Warrior with just the reviews from Amazon and Goodreads to recommend it; I'm unfamiliar with this author. I was, for the most part, very happy with it. The novel tells the story of Leo, a British doctor, who travels to Kenya for a month to practice in a small, remote village, and develops a romantic interest in one of the villagers there: the beautiful male nurse, Malik.

The setup had me very hyped up to listen to the rest of the novel. Exceedingly well written, with compelling characters and a plot I was eager to hear more of, and with a fantastic narrator, it didn't seem like anything could go wrong. And it didn't, not really. For me, however, the book lost a bit of steam when Leo and Malik got together, which is ironic because that's when the book became very "steamy" in the other sense.

Way, way too steamy for me, I enjoy a good sex scene now and then, but once the dam breaks and the two protagonists hook up, they barely have time to do anything else. I don't generally buy books that are classified as erotica, and I thought perhaps this one had just slipped by, but no, Audible categorizes this one as "romance: contemporary." But the two characters do almost nothing else for the second half of the book (really the second 2/3 of the book), and I think that's really unfortunate because the good writing and the characters I loved made me want more than that. There were subplots, such as Malik's sister's crush on Leo, and his family's desire for him to marry a woman, that are set up but don't really go anywhere, or are barely mentioned, because the two characters are too busy having sex to really worry about them.

The book is about two men from vastly different cultures but remains refreshingly free of politics. There's no demonization of either culture, and although one of the partners is generally more dominant in the bedroom, there isn't really a power struggle between them, and they see each other as equals, which I like. Kenya is correctly described as homophobic--one glance at the wikipedia article on "LGBT rights in Kenya" will confirm this, holy cow--and this is a big part of the plot, but I feel as though the villagers are treated with respect by the author. The book is a little too sharply focused on skin color (actual pigment, not race). I don't need to be reminded of the color of the protagonists' body parts every time they're mentioned.

Anyway I loved both main characters, I loved the setting, the narrator was perfect and I think the writing was top notch. If you're looking for a book heavy on (well-written) sex scenes and the plot sounds interesting to you I'd recommend this easily. It was just a little too much sex for my own personal taste, but I'm still giving it four overall stars.

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