Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Danny’s a fourth-generation Big Islander from the wealthy Lucerno ranching family. He’s gorgeous–a mix of Portuguese male and Argentine passion, all dark-haired, smoldering sensuality. His family disowned him for being gay, and now he’s part of the Masterson-Mahikoa “lost boys” family.
When he meets the wealthy, sophisticated, sensuous Brazilian, Paolo Bastini, he’s swept off his feet into a glitzy Las Vegas lifestyle of money and luxury–the world he grew up in. But it takes Danny away from Hawai’i where his soul roams free and his family lives. He struggles as Paolo plays loosely with their partnership and thinks Danny is being “a baby” for wanting a monogamous relationship. And who is this past lover firmly wedged in Paolo’s heart?
Zane is severely deaf–finding new dance partners is hard. When he loses another one, Danny steps in to dance the tango competitions with him. Jealousy flares and things reach dangerous levels between Paolo and Danny. His adopted and birth family must bond together in a daring rescue of Danny from the depths of Brazil.
But he’s not completely out of danger. Now he’s fighting an attraction to the feminine Zane, who’s always annoyed him. Which man has his heart?
Well, here we are on book 3 of The Hawaiians and if you’ve been following my reviews, you know that I’m completely and utterly gone on these stories. Totally besotted! Hawaiian Fragrance just adds another layer of love. Its Danny’s story. Danny Lucerno is one of the “lost boys” of the Masterson-Mahikoa household, a group of older throwaway teens that one by one were found and gathered under one roof by Kulani Mahikoa (the Orchid). It’s now a two dad household with Rob Masterson added (Hawaiian Lei). Of course, in Meg Amor’s universe, no one is an island, literally. So while it is Danny’s story, its also Zane’s (another throwaway) and Zane’s connection to Danny, Danny’s past tumultuous relationship (non existent at the present) with his birth parents as he calls them and the new man in his life, Paolo, who his family isn’t all that comfortable with. So we get Danny, Zane, the twins (how I love them), Kulani and Rob, Matty and Beau, everyone who’s entwined in the lives of the Masterson-Mahikoa family. The family dynamics, as complex as they are loving, have a real family feel to them. Danny is older but when Rob and Kulani are arguing about Paolo and his relationship with Danny, the love and decisions on how to handle the situation feel both “fatherly” and responsible while still treating Danny as an adult. I love the way the different situations are worked through here, the communication avenue is left open to the teens, letting them know at all times they are loved and safe, no matter their age.
Another thing I can’t get enough of? The author’s love of Hawaii and her ability to envelope her readers with her deep affection by way of her vivid descriptions of the flora, fauna and locations around the BI. It’s lush and tropical and I can almost see and smell the beautiful aromas coming through the pages…
I pull out from Banyans and drive us out to Honaunau on the South Kona coast. In the small town of Kainaliu, I stop and buy us a pink can each of Pass-O-Guava Nectar-POG-at Oshima Drug’s. Zane points at the “buying cherry” signs for the ripe red coffee berry, and we both fill our lungs and exhale loudly, laughing. We always do this when they’re roasting Kona coffee, and the rich scent fills the air. If we continue along Mamalahoa Highway, we’ll get whiffs of fresh hot oil frying local Kona Chips too but today we wind down Napo’opo’o Road.
I love this road; it always relaxes me. Lush jacarandas snow their purple blossoms everywhere, and the flaming orange flowers of the poincianas are popping. There’s thick tropical growth either side of the road, towering avocado trees, coffee farms, and ocean views around every curve, all the way down the hill.
We cut across the flat bottom road to Honaunau. It’s a good time of the day to be here. Not many people getting into the water at Two Step, mostly just locals catching a late afternoon swim or snorkel. The energy will be good for Zane too.
Ah, the combination of Danny and Zane. Its Danny’s story, but it needs Zane too. Zane’s deaf so his speech here is that of someone who is deaf. No it doesn’t take any getting use to and in the acknowledgement and dedication, Amor explains the speech pattern she uses for Zane and the friend she based Zane’s speech pattern on “… Janet from years ago who had never worn hearing aids. Sam heavily consulted on this book and the upcoming Hawaiian Ginger to give accurate portrayals of sounds, speech, and things that go wrong with hearing aids.” To me, it makes Zane that much more authentic and real. I love Zane and together with Danny, they have become two of my favorite character in this series.
Danny has a lot of things to work out here, emotionally, intellectually. Parts of this story are suspenseful, gripping and gut wrenching. I was not expecting that in this story. Plus Amor throws in the wonderful element of dance. Zane is a dancer, but so is someone else, totally unexpected. The beauty of expression and desire of a certain Latin dance is explored here and it’s so well done. There were so many surprises here.
Really, the characters are so beautifully written, the storylines incredible and the locations from BI to Las Vegas to places I can’t tell you without spoiling it are wild, real and will make you want to take flight and be there (mostly).
Hawaiian Fragrance (The Hawaiians 3) by Meg Amor is a deep joy of a book. Its has romance, family, suspense, and the possibility of a new love on the horizon. It ends like a Fred and Ginger movie, lightly, lovingly, and getting us ready for the next one in the series, Hawaiian Ginger which is Zane’s story. I have it now in my hands. Review coming soon! But if you haven’t found or started any of these great books yet, get started! I love this whole series and the author has promised more to come. I highly recommend them all.
Cover art by Syneca Featherstone is again gorgeous and as lush as Hawaii itself.
Hawaiian Ginger (The Hawaiians, #4) coming soon