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Author: Karina Halle
Publication Date: 15 February, 2016
Publisher: Metal Blonde Books
Series: Standalone....mostly (see comments in review)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Recommendation: 18 and up
Age Recommendation: 18 and up
Rating: 4 Stars
~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~
The Lie is a second-chance romance with a dark, forbidden twist.
Their truth led to the end.
Scottish enigma Brigs McGregor is crawling out from the ashes. After losing his wife and son in a car accident - and, subsequently, his job - he's finally moving forward with his life, securing a prestigious teaching position at the University of London and starting a new chapter in the city. Slowly, but surely, he's pushing past the guilt and putting his tragic past behind him.
Until he sees her.
Natasha Trudeau once loved a man so much she thought she'd die without him. But their love was wrong, doomed from the start, and when their world crashed around them, Natasha was nearly buried in the rubble. It took years of moving on to forget him, and now that she's in London, she's ready to start over again.
Until she sees him.
Because some loves are too dangerous to ever rekindle.
And some loves are too powerful to ignore.
Can you ever have a second chance at a love that ruined you?
I am so happy that we got Brigs book. I know from Facebook posts, Tweets, etc that Karina struggled with this book, that she wasn't sure if this Brigs story could be told without her fans rebelling against the story and the characters. I gathered from her posts and tweets that she repeatedly almost walked away from this story and all I can tell you is that I am so glad her fans pushed her to keep going and that she never gave up on Brigs and Natasha.
That all said this is an emotional ride of a book. It is a book were your feelings may get a little muddled, where you may find that you don't really know how to feel about a lot of the characters. Your heart is going to break, if you don't shed a tear or two I just don't know about you (haha),
This is a story about how life (REAL LIFE) doesn't always go the way we think it will. It is the story of how everything can change in an instant, how a persons decisions affect more than just themselves, and how love can be sweet, painful, messy, healing, heartbreaking, and redeeming. This is a story that reminds us that love isn't always finite. That love is an ever evolving and fluid feeling. That no matter how much we hate to admit it, feelings of love can and do fall away. This isn't the story of a perfect happily ever after, this isn't the normal 'fairy tale' romance, this isn't a book that will leave you completely swooning and happy. When you close the pages of this book you will know happiness for this couple, you will know it is a happiness that they fought for, that they earned, that they deserve. With that said, this is a book that will have you questioning your feelings about love, guilt, and second-chances. I have seen/heard this book being called controversial and while I don't know that I agree with that I do know that your feelings are going to get all jumbled up in this story.
We know from Lachlan's (The Play) story that Brigs lost his wife and his toddler son in a horrific car accident. We know that he lives with tremendous guilt and a deep and heartbreaking sadness. What we don't know is the how and the why and I won't get into it here because that would be me telling you the story and I think I should leave that to Karina. I will tell you I loved Brigs and Natasha despite how they come about. I love that they are not perfect people. I love the honesty in their relationship and the rawness of their feelings, both in love and in grief. I will tell you that I wish to have seen more of Brigs and Lachlan together, to see them heal with each other, because while their relationship in the past has been strained but we really see them begin to connect in this book and I would have really liked more of that. I will tell you that I am a bit fearful that we haven't seen the end of Melissa (Natasha's 'best' friend)...to me her story just didn't seem complete and I kind of would like to know what happens to her but at the same time, I loathe her so much I am not sure that I could handle a story about her.
This is a sad SAD story and it can be hard to not feel like you have to walk away for a minute to gather your feelings so I wouldn't call it a quick read necessarily, it is a book that takes a lot of time to process as you go through it, but it is a book that will keep you coming back for more until you turn that last page.
This is a standalone and you will be perfectly fine if this is the first Karina Halle book you have ever picked up but I would recommend at least reading The Play (and Winter Wishes, a novella) first if you can. It will just give you a little background information and set you up to understand the relationship between the McGregor brothers. Also, while these books are not considered a 'series' as such there are two other books that fall into the same 'world' as The Play and The Lie. Those are The Pact and The Offer and they revolve around cousins of Lachlan and Brigs. You definitely do not have to have read either of those to go into The Lie. They are both really great reads though so if you have a chance I totally recommend them.
This is a fantastic read for any Contemporary Romance fans, just grab yourself your favorite beverage, a box of tissue and settle in for a meaningful and emotional journey. This is an HEA but getting there is not an easy ride.
~ HAPPY READING ~
Without even thinking, I end up in Natasha’s neighborhood, on her street. I pull the car over and stare at her building. I can drive off. I can go blow off some steam with Lachlan. I can drive and scream and wish to god that things were different.
But I don’t want to do it alone.
I get out of the car and head to her flat.
I knock on her door, wondering if she’s even in, if she might still be sleeping. It’s still early on a Saturday and we don’t see each other on the weekends without it being work related, such as seeing a classic film at the cinema. I hadn’t planned to talk to her until Monday, her last week of work as my research assistant before going back to London.
My heart pinches at that thought.
She’s leaving me.
What the hell am I doing?
But then the door opens slowly and she’s staring at me with wide eyes, her hair piled on top of her head in a messy bun, a fluffy robe around her body.
“Sorry,” I say quickly, immediately feeling bad. “Did I wake you up?”
She yawns. “Kind of, but I should be getting up anyway. What’s, um, up?”
I rub my lips together. “I…I wanted to know if you wanted to go for a drive?”
I shrug. “I don’t know. Far away. But not too far. I have to be back by twelve-thirty for Hamish.”
“What time is it now?”
She rolls her eyes. “And you were wondering if you woke me up. I should still be sleeping for at least another two hours.”
I nod, embarrassed at my enthusiasm. I’m being inappropriate. “I should go.”
I turn around, but she reaches out and grabs my arm, holding tight. “No, don’t,” she says. “I want to go with you. Just give me five minutes, okay?”
I turn to look at her and she’s flashing me a persuasive smile.
“I’ll be in the car,” I tell her.
Somehow she’s true to her word. In five minutes she’s jogging down the steps of her building, dressed in jeans and a tank top that shows off the tawny warmth of her summer tan. She hasn’t touched her hair at all; it’s still up in that bedhead bun, and there isn’t a bit of makeup on her. She doesn’t need it. She looks joyful. She looks absolutely beautiful.
“You’re fast,” I tell her as she slips into the passenger seat.
She giddily drums her hands across the dash and beams at me. “I’m fast when I want to be. I love this car. Where are we going again? Oh right, somewhere far away. Can we get coffee first? I’m dying.”
I can’t help but grin at her as I turn the key. The car starts on the first turn. She’s my good luck charm. “You don’t seem like you need coffee.”
“I always need coffee,” she says emphatically. “You know this. So where to?”
“I honestly don’t know. You pick.”
“Do you have a map?”
I nod at the glove compartment. “In there.”
She opens it and it falls open with a clunk. She takes out an old faded road map and starts looking it over.
“Anything strike your eye?”
“I’m looking for Loch Ness.”
“That’s too far.”
“Okay, is there like another lake with a swamp monster?”
“Nearly all the lochs are in the Highlands.”
“Arrrrrrrrrr in the Highlands,” she says playfully, imitating my accent.
“Okay, maybe no coffee for you.”
“Don’t be cruel, Professor Blue Eyes.” She goes back to studying the map but the mention of my nickname makes a small fire build inside me. And not one of anger.
She points on the map. “Here. Balmoral.”
“That’s where the Queen lives.”
“I know. I want to say hello.”
“It’s a two-hour drive,” I point out.
“Well, then we better get cracking,” she says. “The Queen is expecting us.”
She’s definitely full of spirit today. It seems to latch onto me and I ingest it like a tonic. She’s erasing all the humiliation and pain from the morning.
We head out of the city, taking the A-90 to the M-90 and speed north. After we get her some coffee and we share a couple of sausage rolls for breakfast, I warn her that we literally will see the estate and have to head back. But she doesn’t mind.
And honestly, neither do I. I crank the old radio on the car to pick up an oldies station playing a special on Otis Redding. The day is warm and gorgeous, and even though we’re going fast, our windows are down, enjoying the wind and the sun on our skin.
About an hour into our drive, Natasha turns to me and says, “Tell me the truth. Why did you come to get me this morning?”
“Was it that unusual?” I ask without looking at her.
“Yes,” she says. “The last time you came to my house without me knowing…”
“Back then I was following up on an email. I wanted to know if you were all right,” I tell her before she can tell me anything else about that night.
“And now I want to know if you’re all right,” she says gently.
I glance at her. There’s a softness in her eyes that undoes me. I grip the wheel hard, conscious of my every movement and how they might appear to her. A good man, after the night she kissed me, the night I kissed her right back, would have never been alone with her again.
But I’m not a good man.
I’m a man who is slowly but surely falling in the wrong direction.
Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.
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