A Secret Until Now by Kim Lawrence

A Secret Until Now by Kim Lawrence
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (143 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

One scorching night, one secret never to be told…

Angel Urquart didn’t sign up for this. A photo shoot on an island paradise? Yes. Working alongside Alex Arlov? Definitely not! Six years ago he showed her passion she’d only ever dreamed of, but after his behavior the following morning, she resolved to put him out of her head forever.

Seeing Angel brings all sorts of memories flooding back to Alex—memories that stir up a forgotten hunger. Alex sees no reason why they can’t indulge in one more blazing night together, but Angel has a secret that will turn their lives upside down….

This is a cute little story that explores another version of the one night stand with consequences scenario. What makes it enjoyable is the heroine, Angel. My favorite scene early in the book was Alex’s recounting of how he first met her. It was so romantic. What follows is his trying to win Angel over and her confounding him and resisting him, sometimes not so successfully, through the rest of the story. It was fun.

The one thing that stands out about the heroine is her refusal to accept any help from Alex. She’s independent and proud to be supporting her daughter. She’s a mom first and that’s something to respect.

As for how she’s depicted in the novel, Angel is likeable and chatty with a sharp and funny wit. It’s the head-hopping from her to Alex that slowed the pace of the story. The heroine talks to herself a lot and is very conflicted. Inasmuch as I liked hearing from both her and Alex’s point of view, the delivery was enough to throw me or slow my reading pace down dramatically.

Alex was a typical HQ hero – manly, confident, competent, sensual, commanding, and one prone to assumptions, critique and an issuer of orders. Such is the alpha male that everyone kowtows to, except the heroine. She is exactly what he needs, and why he fights so hard against the truth. The truth is – that one night’s connection all those years ago left an indelible mark on his heart but Alex is too stubborn and afraid to acknowledge it or pursue it. It’s his body’s memory of her that propels him like a moth to a flame and it’s easy for him to categorize it as only a physical attraction and deny the rest. Yet, as certain situations arise, a reader sees little by little how Angel, by just being herself, works the rest of her way into his heart and helps him navigate the guilt from the past so he can emotionally move forward in his life. It’s a powerful component of the plot and it works.

One of the scenes described was about Angel’s friend Clara. I have no idea why that gave me the giggles; I think it was how the author wrote the scene. Certainly I snickered quite a bit afterwards. The most profound scene occurred when Angel and Alex finally talk, finally put all the cards on the table, and I could not have asked for a better response from a hero than what Alex told her after the big reveal. That is what romance stories are all about.

A Secret Until Now is a classic styled HQ romance that entertains and engages a reader. There are the requisite personal struggles and conflicts they have to overcome and together, the heroine and hero come out stronger and more whole through the healing power of love. It’s worth reading and I enjoyed it.

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