(Playing with Fire series, book 1)
He saw her first, but his friend made the move.
She settled for the safer choice, but her heart knew the truth.
They love, they crave, they lie.
Garrett McCarthy, Annabelle Parker, and Milo Roberts were as close as friends could get. They shared in each other’s joy during graduations, promotions, and engagements. They consoled one another through heartache and loss.
When one of the friend’s life is cut short, it’s up to the two left behind to pick up the pieces and find out the truth – no matter the cost. As they slowly start to uncover the nature of his deception, and the very powerful people behind it, they begin to question everyone and everything, including themselves.
Everyone has secrets – some do it for love while others do it for power. Those secrets can change perceptions, alter reality, and sometimes destroy lives.
What do you do when you find out your whole life has been a lie?
Tara Sivec never ceases to amaze me. I fell in love with her writing after reading the Chocolate Lovers series, and was as giddy as a kid in a candy store when I found out she was writing another novel. That being said, I was a little nervous when I found out it wasn’t going to be anything like her previous books – I mean, the woman is freaking hilarious, how could I read something of hers and not want it to be funny?! Well, let me tell y’all something; this book doesn’t need funny and not once did I think to myself, “Man, I really wish this had some of her inappropriately hysterical humor in it.” You know why? Because it’s absolutely fucking perfect.
The story of Garrett, Parker, and Milo is one fueled by secrets, deceit, and guilt, then lit on fire with passion, what if’s, and so much sexual tension I wanted to jump into the story, smack both of them and yell, “JUST DO IT ALREADY, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, JUST PUT YOUR P IN HER V!!”Now, as much as I clearly wanted both of them to give into their desires and push their consciences aside, I feel like the sexual build up was absolutely necessary in this novel. They are both wrestling with a huge cloud of guilt; how could he betray his deceased best friend by sleeping with his former fiancée? How could she be disloyal to him and sleep with his best friend since childhood? It’s this constant tug of war between their heads and their hearts that kind of rips you apart a little.
Oh, and when they do finally give in to each other…holy mother of God; it’s everything I wanted it to be and so much more! If every author gave me a scene like that after a lot of sexual tension and word foreplay, I would never, ever complain about having to wait for shit to go down. It was that good!
The characters were easy to love, and the storyline and writing were both flawless; just when you think you have it all figured out, Tara unveils a new layer of deception that you probably never even saw coming. I know I didn’t. My heart broke for not only Parker, but Garrett as well; as more and more of the pieces started to fall into place, you could feel him questioning just how much of his friendship with Milo was real. How could he not have seen past his façade to see the monster that he really was? It’s the mother load of deceptions that will leave you slack jawed…or wanting to punch him in his stupid face. Yeah; definitely wanting to punch him in the face.
A Beautiful Lie just reiterates why Tara Sivec is absolutely one of my favorite authors. Her writing sucks you in and doesn’t let go until the very last word of the very last page. Well, actually longer than that considering I thought about this book for days after I finished it. She effortlessly transitioned from the humorous brilliance we were all used to, to something…well…beautiful. While I don’t normally love stories written in third person, I understand why Tara did it. We needed to see exactly how both of them reacted not only to certain situations, but to each other. We needed to feel the chemistry and the want between these two, and I think it worked impeccably. This torrid love story coupled with the air of mystery, and a healthy dose of angst left me absolutely, 100 percent satisfied.
And in case you're interested, here are my casting picks for Garrett and Parker: