HIDE AND SECRET by Denysé Bridger
Available now at Ellora's Cave
Alone with her journal, Bella examines her feelings and passion for Quinn Lockharte, a man who charged into her life in a storming fury and changed it forever. Quinn’s duty to his family has him engaged to his childhood sweetheart, and though the promise is an old one, Quinn feels bound to honor it.
A surprise knock at her door brings Bella face-to-face with her destiny…but can she trust what her heart so desperately wants—especially when Quinn is determined to keep her naked and screaming his name? Mind-blowing sex has been their relationship’s strongest bond, but Bella’s tired of being his secret—and Quinn’s not willing to let her go.
Bella knew the day would come when she'd see a wedding announcement in the paper for her lover and the woman he's obligated to marry. She's been the secret he's kept for years, but when Quinn comes to her, unable to live a lie anymore, they feel their way through this poignant and tragic situation with love and passion.
I absolutely adored Denysé Bridger's intimate look at star-crossed love from a mistresses point of view. I know for some readers stories about cheating and adultery can be difficult to enjoy--perhaps hitting too close to home for some and sympathy for the jilted lover can make it hard to lose yourself in the romance. But as an author and avid reader, I prefer stories grounded in reality and in reality lovers cheat and it's not uncommon for people to fall head over heels with the wrong person. Sometimes the heart rushes in where angels fear to tread. This is exactly the portrait of an affair Ms. Bridger has painted. She doesn't glamorize it or whitewash over the pain, guilt or loneliness of the situation for the mistress nor does she vilify Quinn. He is truly torn up about the fact that he has to break his fiancee's heart, but in the end he knows he must be cruel to be kind.
Aside from the powerful central conflict, the story is beautifully written in Ms. Bridger's signature lyrical style. The imagery, language and emotion are realistic and tugged at my heartstrings. The love scenes are explosive and hot, hot, hot which helped me understand why Bella and Quinn can't get enough of each other nor can they walk away. A relationship with so much chemistry is a once in a lifetime kind of love. All-in-all, HIDE AND SECRET is a heartfelt exploration of a sensitive topic, but I'd expect no less from the talented Ms. Bridger. My only complaint--it's a short story and I wanted more of the sexy Quinn for myself ;)
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