Old Flame: Dante’s Story by Sam Mariano

July 19, 2019 Book Review 0 ★★★½

Old Flame: Dante’s Story by Sam Marianothree-half-stars
Old Flame: Dante's Story by Sam Mariano
Series: Morelli Family #8
Also in this series: Accidental Witness, Surviving Mateo, Once Burned
Published by Self-published on July 11, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 300
Buy on Amazon
Available on KU at posting: Yes

You've met the Morelli family, now delve into the love story of Mateo's callous brother, Dante Morelli...

Loving Dante was my original sin. They warned me of the slippery slope, the moral corruption, the outright debasement of the Morelli family. They warned me not to get involved. Not to love him.
I didn’t listen. I thought I would be his saving grace. I was a fool.
Once upon a time, Dante Morelli was the source of my happiness, the powerful embrace which would always keep me safe and loved.Now, Dante Morelli is the source of every moment of pain, every moment of grief, every heart-breaking moment of my young life.
Once, his love was my lifeblood.Now, his love is my prison.
Once, I thought it might kill me to leave him.Now, I know he will never let me go.
Warnings: Dark romance. Bad guy hero. This is a comprehensive series, so you'll have a MUCH better time with Dante's story if you have read the entire Morelli family series first. The author does NOT recommend trying to read this book as a standalone if you have not read the previous Morelli family series books. The Morelli story begins in ACCIDENTAL WITNESS, not Dante's book.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.


By LilyLoved that epilogue!

What a page turner – I devoured Old Flame in almost one sitting. Fans of the Morelli Family series will not want to miss this latest spin off featuring Mateo’s brother, Dante. If you haven’t read Accidental Witness, don’t read on as there are spoilers ahead for that book. 

Ok, assuming now that you have read at least up to Surviving Mateo, I will continue with my thoughts on Old Flame.

“I didn’t fall in love again because I never fell out of love with you, and you can’t be in love with two people at once. Well, I can’t. I guess you managed it.”

Dante Morelli is a man on a mission. He has blinkers on when it comes to his love life, refusing to live without Colette, he brings her back in true Morelli style. Colette’s return to him was a dramatic and gut wrenching exercise for anyone with an ounce of compassion. (Insert line from Stairway to Heaven – you are welcome to stay but you can never leave) OMG – I started to stumble at this point wondering how on earth I could connect with Dante.

I dared to run away from the devil and start a life without him, and now he’s going to burn me for that unforgivable sin.

Colette began with a strong and admirable conviction, and then she quickly mellowed under Dante’s touch. With my eyebrows raised and steam coming out of my ears – I wanted to reach into my iPad and drag Colette out of Dante’s presence to have a serious girl talk with her. I reeled with her notion she accepted responsibility for Dante’s actions. My shackles were shaken and I wondered how she could earn her way back into my good books before the epilogue.

She had her life together, despite being constantly aware of the invisible threat she could sense. It was a tragedy that her support network didn’t take her concerns seriously as they should have. That said, it would have been good to have had a chapter or two devoted to the time Colette spent away from Dante. 

“Only you would consider a conscience a flaw.”

As with the other Morelli books, the story line is relationship based. This time however, we get a little more insight into the unthinkable way they make their money. Again I needed closure on what happened to the unfortunate souls who had the misfortune of being in the vicinity of Dante’s friend and business associate, Luco. It worried me that Dante tolerated being in the same room with Colette. While she was physically safe, it would be hard to erase what she saw from her thoughts.

I had no idea he would be so much like an infection with no cure.

The speed at which Colette was able to overlook Dante’s actions impacted on my ability to connect with them as a couple. Their chemistry made for many a hot scene but he didn’t give me goosebumps like Mateo could. And unlike Mia, Collete didn’t have any influence over Dante. Dante and Collete’s inner thoughts became a tad repetitive and frustrating with the majority of scenes only including the two of them. When they combined with the Morelli family though, the story shone through brilliantly.

I adored the Sunday gatherings at Mateo’s but they were few and far between. Dante had a battle on his hands right from the start and Mateo has set the bar too high for other Morelli men to compete with his appeal. When it came to the epilogue though, all comparisons went out the door. It blew me away with how effortlessly the characters blended together without Dante’s relationship drama in the mix. 

My stumbling block was processing Dante and Collete’s thoughts and reactions. The majority of my questions were addressed but not before I had had time to stew over them. With the limited interactions between other characters, there was more telling than showing in scenes which took away the buzz I would normally get from reading a Morelli book. 

Old Flame is a dark romance spin off that fans of the Morelli Family series will enjoy. The pace was not as fast as previous books with the suspense based on Dante winning Colette over. What I enjoyed was the time spent outside the relationship and the insight into the overarching plot in the series.

3.5 Stars

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