Release Review: The Sweetest Goodbye: Christina Lee

The Sweetest Goodbye
(Roadmap to Your Heart #3.5)
Christina Lee
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Released January 13, 2017
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Billie Montgomery was always known as the sick kid with the therapy dog. Dylan Bowden never had two nickels to rub together, let alone a true home to call his own. The two have been best friends since high school. They’re always there for each other, so when Billie opens his own bakery called Montgomery’s Sweets no one supports him better than Dylan.

The business is a success, and Billie figures he’s got everything he needs. Everything except the guy he’s been saving himself for, no matter how often Dylan tells him it’s time to move on. After a night out turns into a sexy exchange between the best friends, they pretend like nothing happened. Besides, Billie’s still holding a torch for somebody else, and Dylan has always been a considerable flirt.

When Billie’s first love unexpectedly breezes through town and life throws him a pretty rough curve ball, will Billie seek solace in the one man he’s pining for, or the only guy who’s ever protected his heart?

Previously released in the no-longer-available charity anthology, It Was Always You, the short novella The Sweetest Goodbye gives us the story of Callum Montgomery’s youngest brother, Billie, from The Deepest Blue. Those who have read my reviews in the past know that I typically struggle to enjoy novellas because their short length, in my opinion, doesn’t allow enough time for the full development of a romance. Here, however, putting the shortness aside, Christina Lee hits all the important things and gives us another enjoyable and heartfelt story from a series I have liked all the way through.

Billie is now grown up, and his epilepsy no longer seems to be a problem. After graduating from high school, his close friend, Leo, who I had guessed would be Billie’s love interest in the story because he essentially played that role for Billie’s appearances in The Deepest Blue, moves away for college. Meanwhile, Billie went on to culinary school and now runs a small bakery with the help of his family and a close friend he made in high school named Dylan Bowden. Whereas Billie is reserved, largely because of his medical past, Dylan is much more forward, a trait that comes to the forefront as Dylan gets more restless from having had to put off his dream of becoming a professional dancer thanks to a significant event that happened to him shortly before meeting Billie. The two both know the other is gay, and after a night out on the town turns into an unexpectedly sexy encounter together, neither wants to risk doing anything about it, because they are best friends, and Billie still pines for Leo. What results is a nice slow burn, even though it’s shortened by being part of a novella. It’s the sort that you can feel the agonizing want and fear they both have, which made their eventual realization that they are in love with each other tug at my heart in all the right ways.

The Sweetest Goodbye is about as good a story as I could expect out of something of this length, a comfortable two-hour-or-less read. While it could easily be read as a standalone, I do think it helped me have more feels because I had read The Deepest Blue beforehand—though characters from the other two earlier books in the series also make appearances here, those books would certainly not be required to read in order to enjoy this one. I understand there will be one more novella to finish out the series, and because this one turned out to be so enjoyable, I look forward to reading that one as well.

While I own a copy of this novella in its original published anthology, this standalone novella does have some minor changes, so the author generously provided me a complimentary copy of The Sweetest Goodbye in exchange for this fair and honest review.
The Darkest Flame (Roadmap to Your Heart #1)
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Released August 17, 2015
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Our 4.5 star reviews

From the author of There You Stand, a new male/male romance about an errant motorcycle recruit and the captivating bartender who sends his wheels spinning down an all too tempting road.

Vaughn O’Keefe has been part owner of the Hog’s Den for years. Privy to plenty of Disciples of the Road business, he’s never been more ruffled as when a new recruit named “Smoke” walks through the door. Something about the man gets his blood pumping, but he knows to keep his preferences under wraps around the club.

“Smoke” Callahan has done a couple of rehab stints and is finally clean, thanks to help from the Disciples. He’s on the right path and isn’t about to get sidetracked, no matter how much the guy who manages the bar gets beneath his skin. Besides, his last relationship with a man left him scared, alone, and with a nightmare of an addiction.

When the Hog’s Den becomes shorthanded, and Smoke is ordered to help out the one man he can’t have, his longing for the bartender reaches blistering proportions. Vaughn figures a night together should be enough to satisfy their mutual attraction. But neither banks on just how scorching hot it might be.

As Smoke’s past unravels and the one person he hopes never to lay eyes on again messes with all he holds sacred, it’s time to involve the Disciples. Problem is, he’ll have to risk his membership, his heart, and his own hide to keep everyone he cares about safe.

The Deepest Blue (Roadmap to Your Heart #2)
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Released December 4, 2015
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Our 4.5 star reviews

Lee exchanges skyline for swampland in the next book of her male/male romance series, Roadmap to Your Heart.

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.

The Hardest Fall (Roadmap to Your Heart #3)
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Released June 23, 2016
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Lee trades country ballads for show tunes in the next standalone book of her Roadmap to Your Heart series.

After licking his wounds from a painful relationship, Tate Sullivan is ready to move back home. He picks up where he left off as drag queen extraordinaire Frieda Love in a West Village bar in New York City. He doesn’t expect to be drawn to the mysterious man with the dark eyes who shows up to every single performance—flirtatiously eyeing Tate one second and disappearing on him the next. Why mess around with a guy who is clearly giving him mixed signals?

Sebastian Clark is on a mission the first night he shows up at Ruby Redd’s. He doesn’t anticipate his plan being flipped on its head by the charismatic drag queen and even more so by the mesmerizing man beneath the makeup. But the more he learns about the vibrant and brash Tate Sullivan the more intrigued he becomes. So he pushes aside his guilt about why he sought out the bar in the first place in order to get to know the guy behind the stilettos.

They’re opposites on many levels, but as Tate spends time volunteering with Sebastian at the shelter, he begins to feel good about himself in ways he hadn’t before. For Sebastian, Tate represents a sense of fun and freedom that is completely fresh and invigorating. Before they know it, their easy companionship catches fire, and Sebastian is kissing a man for the first time, while Tate is opening his heart to new possibilities. But Sebastian is still keeping a secret, and Tate will have to decide if he can trust again, or if the betrayal he feels from Sebastian’s confession is too much to overcome.
Christina Lee 
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Once upon a time, Christina Lee lived in New York City and was a wardrobe stylist. She spent her days getting in cabs, shopping for photo shoots, eating amazing food, and drinking coffee at her favorite hangouts.

Now she lives in the Midwest with her husband and son—her two favorite guys. She’s been a clinical social worker and a special education teacher. But it wasn't until she wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper that she realized she could turn the fairytales inside her head into the reality of writing fiction. 

She’s addicted to lip balm and salted caramel everything. She believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job. 


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