Beneath This Mask, Meghan March
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Romance, contemporary
I love a good dramatic romance and this has lots of promise. The tattooed girl angle too was a change – that’s usually the prerogative of the bad boys….
Charlotte – what a mess her life had become, and what a shock to her. Now her ordered, secure lifestyle is upside down with her father in prison and suspicion clinging to her, tainting her life. The FBI seem convinced she knows where the money is stashed, and won#t let up on her.
She can’t take a life of constant surveillance and suspicion, so she grabs a few essentials and crosses the country, dying her trademark strawberry blonde locks a deep black with red and purple streaks, and gaining some decorative skin works via her new job in a tattoo shop. She’s forged a new lifestyle along with her new ID as Charlie Stone, has a couple of cash under the table jobs working long hours, and a huge best friend in her adopted scruff mutt Huck. Her landlady and employers are her only friends, she keeps quiet about herself but unbends just enough to let them into her life. Con, the tattoo shop owner, is also a stress reliever at times – they have a mutually acceptable casual friends with occasional benefits relationship, and I liked him. He’s a typical play the field guy in many ways, but its clear her feels close to and cares for Charlie. She seems to draw people to her like that though – both the landlady and her other employer see her qualities, and help her whenever they can. Its nothing like her old life, but in many ways she’s freer, away from the constraints of society.
She’s trundling along, been there for around a year, keeps her head down, and is just living week to week as best she can, when Simon drops into her life. There’s an electric, sizzling spark there the moment they set eyes on each other, and he just won’t take no for an answer. She knows he could be a real threat to her new life, that the cameras that surround him could give her away and yet…he wears her down, and soon they are in a hot and passionate relationship. Simon is lovely, all that a lady wants in a man, kind and thoughtful, romantic, loves Huck ( very important for those of us with pets – love me love my dog/cat/horse!). He comes up with the most incredible dates, full of romance and surprises, and I loved him too. Of course there’s the edge to their relationship in that Charlie thinks its a for now only thing – she knows they can’t have a future however much she wants it, but for him she’s The One, and he’ll stop at nothing to convince her. She can’t tell him why that won’t happen though without revealing all her secrets, and she’s risking so much if she does and it goes wrong. Its a real dilemma that worries at her, and of course eventually secrets come out anyway – and at just the wrong time. This one is no exception, it comes out in a blaze of publicity with Simon learning her ID as cameras are shoved into his face, and there’s no chance to explain. It goes downhill really, really fast, and is a very emotion packed part of the book.
The pacing of this read was excellent, the build up was perfect, that slow burn start, with Charlie saying no and Simon insisting yes, then she wants one night and he wants more – it was great and I loved the way it played out, and then when the climax came ( well, the one affecting her past not those ones!!) it was a real roller coaster read. Very tear jerking at times.
Stars: Five, a great read and one I’d be happy to re read.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers