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{August 22, 2014}   {Release Day Launch: ARC Review} Secrets and Lies by Rachael Brownell

Secrets and LiesFrom Goodreads: Magdelyn Becker lost her entire family when she was seventeen. Ever since, she’s avoided relationships at all costs: personal, physical, emotional. She doesn’t trust anyone and won’t allow herself to get close enough to create a connection. It’s the way she is. Take it or leave it. Her new job as an FBI agent has her letting her guard down, and letting the wrong person into her life, her mind and her heart.

Taylor Donovan is tall, sexy and powerful. He doesn’t show emotion and he can spot an agent a mile away. Being an FBI agent is the farthest thing from his mind when he lays eyes on Maggie Becker. She’s beautiful, sweet and honest and honesty is not something that Taylor is used to in his business. It’s her beauty that blinds him, though, and it might be what costs him everything, including his heart.

No one can be honest 100% of the time, not even Maggie. It’s her job to lie to Taylor. It’s her job to break him down then bring him down. The only problem is she has to do it without Taylor realizing it’s happening. After all, Taylor Donovan is supposed to be dead. The FBI shouldn’t be looking for him.

Secrets & Lies is a companion novella to A Secret Life. It is recommended to read A Secret Life first.

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This companion novel to A Secret Life takes place a few years after the conclusion of its predecessor, focusing on a whole new cast of characters as the plot unfolds, drawing readers once again into the world of the FBI as they track a killer hell bent on finding the only girl he ever lost, Courtney (also known as Kat in A Secret Life). This is a well written story, and I liked the change of pace, seeing everything from the opposite side as Brownell focuses on the “bad guy” as opposed to the good, as she did in her previous novel.

I will admit that I feel as if a piece of the story is missing—the gap between how Taylor survived and has since outwitted the FBI alludes me a little, mainly as Taylor was portrayed as being less than smart when a teen. Years have passed, and he certainly has turned hard, but I really want to know the backstory here—how, why, and while there is a sentence of two that define this a little for readers, I’m dying for the whole story and am hoping that Brownell will fill readers in with another novel in this series.

Brownell does a great job making Taylor a likeable character. We don’t see the bad in him as much as maybe we ought to, which is the same issue Maggie has as she attempts to infiltrate his business, and watching the two dance around one another was a ton of fun. The instant-love connection showed up again in this novel, though, and I’m not really one for a whirlwind romance. However, I completely get the characters feelings, and I do love how hard they fall for one another, even if it is instant.

This is definitely a book that needs to be read after the first in the series, A Secret Life, so that readers understand Agent Cam’s obsession with Taylor, and who Taylor really is, in the first place. Though seemingly far-fetched at times, this is a fun read and I did thoroughly enjoy it. I am certainly hoping for a follow-up, or perhaps a novel that bridges the gap behind the lost years. Three and a half stars.

3.5 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon | Kindle (99 cents) | Barnes and Noble

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