5 star book review for ‘Exposed’, Brighton Walsh’s newest a new adult novel, now available at bookstores and retailers. Also, enter to win your very own paperback copy from St. Martin’s Griffin.
[Some Spoilers; For Mature Audiences]
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I think it’s pretty safe to say that Brighton Walsh is one of my favorite authors. Within the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to read several of Brighton’s novels and each one leaves me with a tummy flutters and huge smile on my face. Brighton has such a knack for writing fascinating stories with compelling characters. Her leading ladies are strong, intelligent, and super relatable, and her leading men are always swoooooooony.
I’m totally here for Brighton’s brand of New Adult romance, and was very eager to get my hands on her newest novel. Exposed embodies all the elements I’ve come to enjoy in Brighton’s stories. Her characters do struggle; and even though there are elements of heart-fail, there’s so much hope and always love. Simply put, this novel is a 5-star MUSTREAD.
Exposed, the second book in the Captive series, focuses on Riley, Ghost/Gage’s younger brother. From book 1 (Captive), we learn that the brothers had a difficult childhood and those circumstances lead Gage to choose a life of crime. At the time, joining up with Max Cavett’s crew is the only means he has to provide for himself and Riley. But in all honesty, Gage doesn’t want Riley to follow the same path. However, when Riley’s girlfriend Evie is killed while running a job, Riley dives into his work with the crew, hell-bent on avenging the girl he loved. It might not be legal, but at least the jobs give Riley a chance to stick it to corrupt businessmen, like the one who murdered his Evie.
The story begins with Riley receives a frantic call from Gage one evening, telling him that Evie is alive and in serious need of his help. For the last five years, she has been living in Minnesota as Genevieve Meyer, engaged to an up-and-coming lawyer, and living the life of a socialite. Needless to say, Riley is completely bewildered. Whose grave has he been visiting all these years? Why in the world did Evie fake her death and why is Max now sending his lackeys to kill her? Riley has so many questions, but he goes for Evie. Once he’s back in her presence, despite the heartache, anger, and confusion, his feelings for her come roaring back to the fore. As they hide out from Max, Riley and Evie try to figure out the best way to get out of this situation alive. At the same time, can they come to terms with their past and maybe their future? Riley and Evie might be different, but perhaps the people they are now could still love each other.
I like Riley as Exposed’s hero so, so much. He’s fearless, especially when it comes to defending and protecting those he loves. And of course, he’s sexy as hell with his lean muscles, beautiful blue eyes, and dirty mouth 😉
But for me, my fave character is darling Evie. She has so much fortitude. I have a lot of respect for Evie, especially after learning about the things she’s survived and then seeing her work hard to live a somewhat normal life. From a young age, Evie has hidden parts of herself, even from Riley, who she has passionate feelings for. Yet, even after living life as Genevieve, when she sees Riley again for the first time in five years, it’s like nothing has changed:
I froze because though I hadn’t heard it in years, I knew that voice. I recognizedit as sure as I’d recognize my own face. Because it was a voice I’d heard in my dreams too many time to count. When my dreams were dreams and not the nightmares that so frequently plagued me, it was his face I saw. His voice I heard. His body I felt. It was him. It was always him. The one person who could make me feel better, the solace to my pain.
It’s always been like this…even when they were teenagers, Riley has always given Evie a real sense of security. At the same time he knows when to push and challenge her need to be in control. Now that they’re back in close quarters, this fact becomes even more evident, especially as it becomes more and more difficult to deny their feelings:
Whipping around, I grabbed his face and tugged him down to me, meeting his lips in a bruising kiss…Cradling my head in his hands, he pressed his thumbs under my chin so he could tilt my face the way he wanted it, and I let him play for a minute. I let him think he had control of this before I pressed forward…
…The look he shot me—one part arrogance, one part satisfaction, all parts man—nearly sent me to my knees…
…I’d forgotten how good it felt, letting someone else get me there, and I wanted him to do it again. And again. And again, again, again, again. I wanted him to make me come until I couldn’t do anything but crave more of his touch. Because that’d always been how it was with him. The want, the need, the constant craving, those brief, powerful moments when all thought fled and all I could do was feel. And I’d missed it more than anything.
After reaffirming their feelings for each other, Evie finally feels comfortable enough to open up to Riley and share her whole truth. And that truth is tragically distressing. But once again, Evie’s experiences just reiterate how much of a survivor she is:
I wasn’t broken. Not entirely. That despite the years of torment, the years of lies and secrets, the years of burying everything deep inside, I still felt. That adter the years of the mask I had to wear, the show I had to put on, the endless pretending and masquerading, I was still here. I was still standing.
*STANDING OVATION* Hell yes Evie! And Riley is standing right by her side, supporting her and offering his love.
Exposed has a wonderful (and really action-packed) HEA, that actually provides quite a bit of closure, not only for Riley and Evie, but also for Gage and Madison (who make a cameo in this book).
If you enjoy new adult, contemporary romance that has grit and/or stories with a leading man and woman who endure and SURVIVE painful circumstances, Exposed is for you!
Exposed is now available in bookstores and retailers, so add it to your Goodreads TBR list and grab your copy today!
Thanks to Brighton and St. Martin’s Griffin we have a paperback copy of Exposed to give away! Enter using the Raffelcopter instructions below (U.S. and Canada only), and good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Amazon (US): http://amzn.to/1KMocgY
Amazon (Canada): http://amzn.to/1HbQjnm
Amazon (UK): http://amzn.to/1Ciolrd
Many thanks to the author and publisher for providing an advanced review copy.