Saturday, October 18, 2014

Christie's Review: Masquerade by Nyrae Dawn


Title: Masquerade
Series: Games #3
Author: Nyrae Dawn
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Rating:5 stars
Cliffhanger: No

A biker. A tattoo artist. A love to last a lifetime.

Maddox Cross has always had to be tough. When his father went to jail for murder, the teenager took care of his sister and mother. Now on his own and working security at a night club, Maddox wants to become a tattoo artist-a dream that comes closer to reality when he falls for the hottest, most tatted woman he's ever seen. She's wild and beautiful, and Maddox will do anything to be with her.

Bee Malone came to town to open up her new tattoo parlor, Masquerade. Since being kidnapped as a young girl, Bee has had trouble getting close to anyone. But when she meets Maddox, she sees that under his hard biker's body is the sensitive soul of an artist. What starts out as a sizzling one-night stand soon becomes so much more.

Bee wants Maddox to join her tattoo business, but letting him into her life means revealing all her most intimate secrets. And as the past begins to intertwine with her present, Bee fears their love may not be as permanent as their ink . . .

It came as a huge and extremely pleasant surprise that I ended up loving this book. Enthusiastically. Normally for me, books have a very strong start and inevitably, something happens, whether it's a plot twist I don't like, the characters acting stupid, or the ending....I end up feeling slightly deflated and frustrated. This book had the rare opposite feeling for me. It started out shaky and ended with a punch in the gut. It left me feeling satisfied in every way and I couldn't stop thinking about the emotional struggle that the two characters fought and conquered. So basically? I was all warm and squishy inside.

We've all read a lot of opposite attracts books, but this time around, the hero and the heroine were pretty much the female/male versions of each other. And when two people are so similar, that tends to cause a lot of friction. There was definitely a lot of that going on here. Some of it bad, some of it in sexual tension form.

Hell, what am I doing here with this guy? We're too much alike. I think he sees it too. There's no way this can end well.

Both the hero and the heroine were dealing with some serious life issues. Both have a past that has altered their entire lives. So they survive by not allowing themselves to feel. And love? What is love anyway? In her experience, it's only caused the ones she's loved to bring her a whole lot of hurt. Bee feels torn about love, about herself, about who she's supposed to be. Her identity was stolen from her as a child and as an adult she's never been able to discover her true self.

Bee and Maddox's first meeting was a cold, emotionless one night stand. Their only thoughts were getting a physical release-scratching an itch. They're not looking for happily ever after or cuddling or getting to know each other.

He's gorgeous and trouble, and from the scowl on his face, he's probably angry at the world just like I'm confused by it. Too bad he's an asshole.

She plays the tough girl and he plays the asshole, but in reality they're just two people unable to deal with what life handed them in an early age. They get through the pain by living in denial.

"I'm fine."
Bee looks toward the ground. "I'm always fine too...I've been fine for years. But we never really are, are we?"

Maddox starts apprenticing at her tattoo shop and as much as they try to act like they're not affected by each other, they're all stirred up, shaken, and turned upside down. They're both feeling unwanted desire and....affection? Impossible but true. The more they give into their physical urges, the more they start to realize that that they've lost all control of their safe emotionless world. Their walls are crumbled and their hearts are left bare.

I like how this book's sole focus was on the main couple's struggle with guilt, finding themselves, accepting their pasts, and learning to accept love in their lives. There was no outside drama or ridiculous, overdramatized plot lines. The message was strong and the transformation between both the main characters was a beautiful thing to see. Their gradual feelings were much more meaningful because of their struggle. Every kiss, every touch, and every emotion was earned and savored.

I really loved this couple-how they felt connected through their pain and their similar passions in life. They could speak to each other and understand without any words. They grounded each other when all they've ever felt was as if they were flying apart. They come to need each other and instead of feeling scared, they face that fear and become better. Healed.

I highly recommend this book. It is a standalone, but if you haven't read the rest of the series, you might want to read them in order. There are spoilers in this book for the other couples so unless you plan on skipping them, I wouldn't recommend starting with this third book. As I have read the first two as well, I can say that the entire series is worth a read. But this last one left me teary eyed. In the best way possible.


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