4.6 127
by Colleen Hoover

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Winner of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, a new novel about risking everything for love—and finding your heart somewhere between the truth and lies.

At age twenty-one, Auburn Reed has already lost everything important to her. In her fight to rebuild her shattered life


Winner of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, a new novel about risking everything for love—and finding your heart somewhere between the truth and lies.

At age twenty-one, Auburn Reed has already lost everything important to her. In her fight to rebuild her shattered life, she has her goals in sight and there is no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is keeping a major secret from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

To save their relationship, all Owen needs to do is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin.

Editorial Reviews

Online Review Booklist
"Hoover will pull heartstrings in this second-chance love story… edgy, sexy."
Vilma’s Book Blog
“Compelling, fresh, heart wrenching and entirely unforgettable. Deception and pain, love and loss, secrets and truths, hope and redemption—they all twist and tangle together creating another unforgettable novel from one of the freshest and most trusted voices in romance. This book is not to be missed.”
Rock Stars of Romance
"You will devour it. You will worship it. You will sigh with joy because you are experiencing the lyrical and spell bounding prose of CoHo again... filled with suspense, unique characters, and of course the brutal gut-wrenching moments that's expected of any CoHo novel…brilliant, fresh and new.”
Shh Mom’s Reading
“Colleen Hoover books are simply mesmerizing; transporting the reader to another world as you immerse yourself in her stories and characters. Confess was no different…I will say this about this book…I laughed, I got teary eyed, I was scared and I loved EVERY MOMENT.”
Shameless Book Club
"If you're a fan of Colleen Hoover's books, Confess is a definite must-read!... Crazy and lovely and everything I expect from Colleen Hoover.”
Random Book Muses
“Perfection. Utter perfection... I loved every gut wrenching part.”
Ana’s Attic Book Blog
"Colleen Hoover is a hands-down genius. When she writes, it’s like magic flows onto the pages. Her writing style is like no other, and her capabilities of telling a story are incredible. Confess made me laugh, cry, and swoon.... Bravo to Colleen for another amazing must-read!”
Christy’s Love of Books
“Colleen wove an absolutely beautiful story.... It had me by the heart until the very last sentence! A breathtaking book that should not be missed.”
Chicks Controlled by Books
“This story is absolutely incredible... simply amazing. It's perfection in written form. There is something for everyone in these pages. So just buy it, read it, love it!! You won't regret it! 5 +++ Stars!”
“PURE Colleen Hoover magic… It has everything we absolutely love from her.... There’s just so much meaning AND magic in life, and her characters remind me of this each and every time. Some sadness, lots of sweetness, plenty of romantic angst, and best of all? Hope.”
Schmexy Girl Book Blog
"It is real. It is raw. It is emotional. It is breathtaking. Colleen is always a six star +++++ read for me. Her talent knows no bounds and she never ceases to amaze me. A story of love, lies, truths, confessions that will leave you breathless.”
Owl Always Be Reading
“Another slam dunk from Ms. Colleen Hoover! A beautiful story about fate and second chances.”
Nicely Phrased Book Blog
"Everything she writes is gold. The ideas in Colleen’s head are masterpieces. The incorporation of art, confessions and the written word, is sublime.”
Waves of Fiction
“This book is full of tension, suspense, twists, heartbreak, but also humor and incredibly sweet and swoony moments. Another absolutely fantastic must read by Colleen Hoover!”
Angie and Jessica’s Dreamy Reads
"A beautifully written romance [turned] into a genius story line that is quintessential Colleen Hoover."
Book Boyfriend Reviews
“I don't know Colleen's recipes for her books but her mad genius shines through.”
My Book Muse
“What a beautiful and emotional story! Colleen has a wonderful way of giving feeling to her words… Confess is a work of art with a ton of heart and swoony moments.”
Nestled in a Book
"Confess is a gripping page-turner from cover to cover. It’s a beautiful, unique, one-of-a-kind, enthralling work of art that I could not and did not want to put down. Instant favorite! I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Absolutely everyone should read it. It joins the rest of her novels on my All-Time Favorites list. My eyes still water and heart still swells when I simply think of this book. Read it and love it.”
The Reading Date
"Confess is another intense story of love, sacrifice, and yes, confessions. Hoover is a go-to author for me for stories that tear me apart and put me back together again. I savored Confess.
Blushing Babes Are Up All Night
"Colleen Hoover has done it again, she has taken my heart, ripped it open and pieced it back together. Beautiful book that is a must read for me!”
Chocolate and Lipgloss Books
“One of the best books that CoHo has written. There wasn't one moment of reading this that I wanted to put it down.”
Seeking Book Boyfriends
"Prepare yourselves for the artistry that is Confess. Confess is a piece of greatness."
Addicted to Heroines
“Words cannot explain how much I absolutely adore this book!...And the idea behind this book? Pure. Genius."
Scarlet Siren
“Colleen portrays an intensity of emotion that you don’t get from just any book. A rare talent in a sea of unique voices, I feel lucky as a reader to be on the receiving end of her efforts. Whether this is your first Colleen Hoover book, or you’ve read everything she’s ever published, Confess will leave you confessing your love for all things CoHo.”
Aestas Book Blog
"Exquisitely heart-wrenching and absolutely unputdownable, Confess is another unique Colleen Hoover masterpiece and one of the must-read books of this year!! The perfect measure of heart-warming depth and heart-wrenching angst…a truly magical reading experience.”
Book Crush
"Confess is another emotionally packed, superbly written book. Colleen Hoover continues to bring readers a genuine story that is distinctive and well delivered.”
Book Drunk Blog
"I LOVED this book. I don't think it's any secret that Colleen Hoover is a master storyteller… Her pure talent and storytelling ability is second to none.”
KimberlyFaye Reads
"Beautiful and heart-breaking and hopeful. There aren't many authors who can rip me apart and put me back together quite like Colleen can. The characters are multi-dimensional and real. Confess was utterly unputdownable."
Love Between the Sheets
Confess is smartly written with twists that flatter this unpredictable love story…. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Confess is a fantastic, moving, love story with surprises you’ll never expect. I confess that I loved it. Hands down a five star read.”
Smut Book Junkie Reviews
"Hoover’s creativity makes her stories unique and special…a deeply moving story… well-deserving of 5 stars.”
The Reading Vixens
"This story is absolutely beautiful. Do yourself a favor and Fall in love with Owen and Auburn. You won't regret it.”
Itching for Books
"The characters and plot were well-constructed, and the writing (as always) was dead-on. I felt like I was actually inside the story; like I was experiencing every single moment of it. I saw things through the characters' eyes and I could even feel their pain. This book was just that gripping. I highly recommend!”
Let’s Talk Books
“If I could give it 20 stars, I would…highly recommended.”
Art Books and Coffee
"There is no twist or turn that the author misses…she brings the emotion and passion that we all love to read about. Her characters are not only multi-dimensional, but they are real.”
Chaotic Book Babes Crazy
“If you are looking for memorable, magical and beautiful, Colleen Hoover and her captivating words in Confess are just right for you.”
Four Chicks Flipping Pages
“CONFESS is one of those rare books that will honestly steal your HEART. This book was emotional, breathtaking, touching, beautiful, honest, and raw. The writing is superb and flawless. The storyline is so original and genius. CONFESS will consume and captivate you.”
Book Baristas
"This book was an actual masterpiece. For Colleen to write a story about art and have her story be the most beautiful piece of art that I’ve ever read is just something I can’t wrap my head around.”
Kindle Crack Book Reviews
"This book captivated me from the first page to the last. Owen and Auburn’s story unraveled in a unique and beautiful way. This touching story has the all the twists and turns you are used to getting from Colleen’s books. Colleen is a master storyteller, and this story came to life infused with artistic brilliance and emotion.”
Confessions of a Book Whore
“An absolute masterpiece… Colleen vividly and flawlessly captures the emotions and behaviors of all the characters…utterly heartbreaking at times, yet incredibly beautiful. I was captivated by the realistic and complex characters, the multilayered plot and emotionally charged storyline. This book is the epitome of unputdownable.”
A Book Whore’s Obsession
"Colleen Hoover has the mind of a genius. Somehow she manages to take an idea for a story and twist it into this whirlwind of surprise… She connects her characters to one another in ways that just blow my mind.”
Lost in Literature
“I was so enraptured by Confess that I did not want to put it down! Once again Colleen Hoover has worked her epic, magic, writing genius and my love her has grown even more!”
Reading Is Sexy Book Blog
“I cannot recommend this book enough. It has so much heart and soul, and the story is beautifully delivered."
A Literary Perusal
“ I confess that Colleen Hoover never ceases to amaze me with her creative genius and powerful words…Colleen provided a memorable experience with the unique pairing of the poignant confessions and the exquisite artwork…Colleen Hoover continues to remind me why I refer to her as my favorite author.”
My Guilty Obsession
“It is very rare that I fall in love with a book after reading the prologue, even more rare that only a few pages into that prologue and I already have tears running down my face.”
Natasha is a Book Junkie
“Colleen Hoover has created another unforgettable story exploring the human condition and, in this case, how much of themselves a person is willing to sacrifice for the ones they love. Her trademark sense of humour, her familiar literary techniques, the very recognisable tone of her characters, are all there to pull us in and leave us incapable of putting this story down.”
Sarah Pekkanen
"I was drawn into it immediately!"

Product Details

Atria Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt


  • I squirm in my chair as soon as he tells me his hourly rate. There’s no way I can afford this with my income.

    “Do you work on a sliding-scale basis?” I ask him.

    The wrinkles around his mouth become more prominent as he attempts to keep from frowning. He folds his arms over the mahogany desk and clasps his hands together, pressing the pads of his thumbs against one other.

    “Auburn, what you’re asking me to do is going to cost money.”

    No shit.

    He leans back in his chair, pulling his hands to his chest and resting them on his stomach. “Lawyers are like weddings. You get what you pay for.”

    I fail to tell him what a horrible analogy that is. Instead, I glance down at the business card in my hand. He came highly recommended and I knew it was going to be expensive, but I had no idea it would be this expensive. I’ll need a second job. Maybe even a third one. Actually, I’m going to have to rob a damn bank.

    “And there’s no guarantee the judge will rule in my favor?”

    “The only promise I can make is that I’ll do everything I can to ensure the judge does rule in your favor. According to the paperwork that was filed back in Portland, you’ve put yourself in a tough spot. This will take time.”

    “All I have is time,” I mumble. “I’ll be back as soon as I get my first paycheck.”

    He has me set up an appointment through his secretary and then sends me on my way, back out into the Texas heat.

    I’ve been living here all of three weeks and so far it’s everything I thought it would be: hot, humid, and lonely.

    I grew up in Portland, Oregon, and assumed I would spend the rest of my life there. I visited Texas once when I was fifteen and although that trip wasn’t a pleasant one, I wouldn’t take back a single second of it. Unlike now, when I’d do anything to get back to Portland.

    I pull my sunglasses down over my eyes and begin heading in the direction of my apartment. Living in downtown Dallas is nothing like living in downtown Portland. At least in Portland, I had access to almost everything the city had to offer, all within a decent walk. Dallas is spread out and expansive, and did I mention the heat? It’s so hot. And I had to sell my car in order to afford the move, so I have the choice between public transportation and my feet, considering I’m now penny-pinching in order to be able to afford the lawyer I just met with.

    I can’t believe it’s come to this. I haven’t even built up a clientele at the salon I’m working at, so I’m definitely going to have to look for a second job. I just have no idea when I’ll find time to fit it in, thanks to Lydia’s erratic scheduling.

    Speaking of Lydia.

    I dial her number and hit send and wait for her to pick up on the other end. After it goes to voice mail, I debate whether to leave a message or just call back later tonight. I’m sure she just deletes her messages, anyway, so I end the call and drop the phone into my purse. I can feel the flush rising up my neck and cheeks and the familiar sting in my eyes. It’s the thirteenth time I’ve walked home in my new state, in a city inhabited by nothing but strangers, but I’m determined to make it the first time I’m not crying when I reach my front door. My neighbors probably think I’m psychotic.

    It’s just such a long walk from work to home, and long walks make me contemplate my life, and my life makes me cry.

    I pause and look into the glass window of one of the buildings to check for smeared mascara. I take in my reflection and don’t like what I see.

    A girl who hates the choices she’s made in her life.

    A girl who hates her career.

    A girl who misses Portland.

    A girl who desperately needs a second job, and now a girl who is reading the HELP WANTED sign she just noticed in the window.

    Help Wanted.

    Knock to apply.

    I take a step back and assess the building I’m standing in front of; I’ve passed by it every day on my commute and I’ve never noticed it. Probably because I spend my mornings on the phone and my afternoon walks with too many tears in my eyes to notice my surroundings.

    That’s all the sign says. The name leads me to believe it might be a church, but that thought is quickly dismissed when I take a closer look at the glass windows lining the front of the building. They are covered with small scraps of paper in various shapes and sizes, concealing views into the building, removing any hope of taking a peek inside. The scraps of paper are all marked with words and phrases, written in different handwriting. I take a step closer and read a few of them.

    Every day I’m grateful that my husband and his brother look exactly alike. It means there’s less of a chance that my husband will find out that our son isn’t his.

    I clutch my hand to my heart. What the hell is this? I read another.

    I haven’t spoken to my children in four months. They’ll call on holidays and my birthday, but never in between. I don’t blame them. I was a horrible father.

    I read another.

    I lied on my résumé. I don’t have a degree. In the five years I’ve been working for my employer, no one has ever asked to see it.

    My mouth is agape and my eyes are wide as I stand and read all the confessions my eyes can reach. I still have no idea what this building is or what I even think about all these things being plastered up for the world to see, but reading them somehow gives me a sense of normalcy. If these are all true, then maybe my life isn’t quite as bad as I think it is.

    After no less than fifteen minutes, I’ve made it to the second window, having read most of the confessions to the right of the door, when it begins to swing open. I take a step back to avoid being hit, while I simultaneously fight the intense urge to step around the door and get a peek inside the building.

    A hand reaches out and yanks down the HELP WANTED sign. I can hear a marker sliding across the vinyl sign as I remain poised behind the door. Wanting to get a better look at whoever or whatever this place is, I begin to step around the door just as the hand slaps the HELP WANTED sign back onto the window.

    Help Wanted.

    Knock to apply.



    I laugh when I read the alterations made to the sign. Maybe this is fate. I desperately need a second job and whoever this is desperately needs help.

    The door then opens further, and I’m suddenly under the scrutiny of eyes that I guarantee are more shades of green than I could find on his paint-splattered shirt. His hair is black and thick and he uses both hands to push it off his forehead, revealing even more of his face. His eyes are wide and full of anxiety at first, but after taking me in, he lets out a sigh. It’s almost as if he’s acknowledging that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and he’s relieved I’m finally here.

    He stares at me with a concentrated expression for several seconds. I shift on my feet and glance away. Not because I’m uncomfortable, but because the way he stares at me is oddly comforting. It’s probably the first time I’ve felt welcome since I’ve been back in Texas.

    “Are you here to save me?” he asks, pulling my attention back to his eyes. He’s smiling, holding the door open with his elbow. He assesses me from head to toe and I can’t help but wonder what he’s thinking.

    I glance at the HELP WANTED sign and run through a million scenarios of what could happen if I answer his question with a yes and follow him inside this building.

    The worst scenario I can come up with is one that would end with my murder. Sadly, that’s not enough of a deterrent, considering the month I’ve had.

    “Are you the one hiring?” I ask him.

    “If you’re the one applying.”

    His voice is overtly friendly. I’m not used to overt friendliness, and I don’t know what to do with it.

    “I have a few questions before I agree to help you,” I say, proud of myself for not being so willingly killable.

    He grabs the HELP WANTED sign and pulls it away from the window. He tosses it inside the building and presses his back against the door, pushing it open as far as it will reach, motioning for me to come inside. “We don’t really have time for questions, but I promise I won’t torture, rape, or kill you if that helps.”

    His voice is still pleasant, despite his phrase of choice. So is that smile that shows off two rows of almost perfect teeth and a slightly crooked front left incisor. But that little flaw in his smile is actually my favorite part of him. That and his complete disregard for my questions. I hate questions. This might not be such a bad gig.

    I sigh and slip past him, making my way inside the building. “What am I getting myself into?” I mutter.

    “Something you won’t want to get out of,” he says. The door closes behind us, blocking off all the natural lighting in the room. That wouldn’t be a bad thing if there were interior lights on, but there aren’t. Only a faint glow coming from what looks like a hallway on the other side of the room.

    As soon as the beat of my heart begins to inform me of how stupid I am for walking into a building with a complete stranger, the lights begin to buzz and flicker to life.

    “Sorry.” His voice is close, so I spin around just as the first of the fluorescent lights reach their full power. “I don’t usually work in this part of the studio, so I keep the lights off to save energy.”

    Now that the entire area is illuminated, I slowly scan the room. The walls are a stark white, adorned with various paintings. I can’t get a good look at them, because they’re all spread out, several feet away from me. “Is this an art gallery?”

    He laughs, which I find unusual, so I spin around to face him.

    He’s watching me with narrowed, curious eyes. “I wouldn’t go so far as to call it an art gallery.” He turns and locks the front door and then walks past me. “What size are you?”

    He makes his way across the expansive room, toward the hallway. I still don’t know why I’m here, but the fact that he’s asking me what size I am has me a little more concerned than I was just two minutes ago. Is he wondering what size coffin I’ll fit in? How to size the handcuffs?

    Okay, I’m a lot concerned.

    “What do you mean? Like as in my clothing size?”

    He faces me and walks backward, still heading in the direction of the hallway. “Yes, your clothing size. You can’t wear that tonight,” he says, pointing at my jeans and T-shirt. He motions for me to follow him as he turns to ascend a flight of stairs leading to a room above the one we’re in. I may be a sucker for a cute, crooked incisor, but following strangers into unknown territory is where I should probably draw the line.

    “Wait,” I say, stopping at the foot of the stairs. He pauses and turns around. “Can you at least give me a rundown of what’s happening right now? Because I’m starting to second-guess my idiotic decision to place my trust in a complete stranger.”

    He glances over his shoulder toward wherever the stairs lead and then back at me. He lets out an exasperated sigh before descending several steps. He takes a seat, coming eye to eye with me. His elbows meet his knees and he leans forward, smiling calmly. “My name is Owen Gentry. I’m an artist and this is my studio. I have a showing in less than an hour, I need someone to handle all the transactions, and my girlfriend broke up with me last week.”



    Less than an hour?

    And girlfriend? Not touching that one.

    I shift on my feet, glance behind me at the studio once more and then back to him. “Do I get any kind of training?”

    “Do you know how to use a basic calculator?”

    I roll my eyes. “Yes.”

    “Consider yourself trained. I only need you for two hours tops and then I’ll give you your two hundred bucks and you can be on your way.”

    Two hours.

    Two hundred bucks.

    Something isn’t adding up.

    “What’s the catch?”

    “There’s no catch.”

    “Why would you need help if you pay a hundred dollars an hour? There has to be a catch. You should be swarmed with potential applicants.”

    Owen runs a palm across the scruff on his jaw, moving it back and forth like he’s attempting to squeeze out the tension. “My girlfriend failed to mention she was also quitting her job the day she broke up with me. I called her when she didn’t show to help me set up two hours ago. It’s kind of a last-minute employment opportunity. Maybe you were just in the right place at the right time.” He stands and turns around. I remain in my spot at the bottom of the stairs.

    “You made your girlfriend an employee? That’s never a good idea.”

    “I made my employee a girlfriend. An even worse idea.” He pauses at the top of the stairs and turns around, looking down at me. “What’s your name?”


    His gaze falls to my hair, which is understandable. Everyone assumes I was named Auburn due to my hair color, but it’s strawberry blond at best. Calling it red is a stretch.

    “What’s the rest of your name, Auburn?”

    “Mason Reed.”

    Owen slowly tilts his head in the direction of the ceiling as he blows out a breath of air. I follow his gaze and look at the ceiling with him, but nothing is up there other than white ceiling tiles. He takes his right hand and touches his forehead, then his chest, and then continues the movements from shoulder to shoulder, until he’s just made the sign of the cross over himself.

    What the hell is he doing? Praying?

    He looks back down at me, smiling now. “Is Mason really your middle name?”

    I nod. As far as I know, Mason isn’t a strange middle name so I have no idea why he’s performing religious rituals.

    “We have the same middle name,” he says.

    I regard him silently, allowing myself to take in the probability of his response. “Are you serious?”

    He nods casually and reaches into his back pocket, pulling out his wallet. He descends the stairs once more and hands me his license. I look it over, and sure enough, his middle name is Mason.

    I press my lips together and hand him back his driver’s license.


    I try to contain the laughter, but it’s hard, so I cover my mouth, hoping I’m being inconspicuous about it.

    He slides his wallet back into his pocket. His eyebrow raises and he shoots me a look of suspicion. “Are you that quick?”

    My shoulders are shaking from the suppressed laughter now. I feel so bad. So, so bad for him.

    He rolls his eyes and looks slightly embarrassed in the way he attempts to hide his own smile. He heads back up the stairs much less confidently than before. “This is why I never tell anyone my middle name,” he mutters.

    I feel guilty for finding this so funny, but his humility finally gives me the courage to climb the rest of the stairs. “Your initials are really OMG?” I bite the inside of my cheek, forcing back the smile I don’t want him to see.

    I reach the top of the stairs and he ignores me, heading straight for a dresser. He opens a drawer and begins rummaging through it, so I take the opportunity to look around the massive room. There’s a large bed, probably a king, in the far corner. In the opposite corner is a full kitchen flanked by two doors, leading to other rooms.

    I’m in his apartment.

    He turns around and tosses me something black. I catch it and unfold it, revealing a skirt. “That should fit. You and the traitor look about the same size.” He walks to the closet and removes a white shirt from a hanger. “See if this works. The shoes you have on are fine.”

    I take the shirt from him and glance toward the two doors. “Bathroom?”

    He points to the door on the left.

    “What if they don’t fit?” I ask, worried he won’t be able to use my help if I’m not dressed professionally. Two hundred dollars isn’t easy to come by.

    “If they don’t fit, we’ll burn them along with everything else she left behind.”

    I laugh and make my way to the bathroom. Once I’m inside, I pay no attention to the actual bathroom itself as I begin to change into the clothes he gave me. Luckily, they fit perfectly. I look at myself in the full-length mirror and cringe at the disaster that is my hair. I should be embarrassed to call myself a cosmetologist. I haven’t touched it since I left the apartment this morning, so I do a quick fix and use one of Owen’s combs to pull it up into a bun. I fold the clothes I just removed and set them on the countertop.

    When I exit the bathroom, Owen is in the kitchen, pouring two glasses of wine. I contemplate whether or not I should tell him I’m a few weeks shy of being old enough to drink, but my nerves are screaming for a glass of wine right now.

    “Fits,” I say, walking toward him.

    He lifts his eyes and stares at my shirt for much longer than it takes to acknowledge whether or not a shirt fits. He clears his throat and looks back down at the wine he’s pouring. “Looks better on you,” he says.

    I slide onto the stool, fighting to hide my smile. It’s been a while since I’ve been complimented and I’ve forgotten how good it feels. “You don’t mean that. You’re just bitter over your breakup.”

    He pushes a glass of wine across the bar. “I’m not bitter, I’m relieved. And I absolutely mean it.” He raises his glass of wine, so I raise mine. “To ex-girlfriends and new employees.”

    I laugh as our glasses clink together. “Better than ex-employees and new girlfriends.”

    He pauses with his glass at his lips and watches me sip from mine. When I’m finished, he grins and finally takes a sip.

    As soon as I set my wineglass back down on the countertop, something soft grazes my leg. My initial reaction is to scream, which is exactly what happens. Or maybe the noise that comes out of my mouth is more of a yelp. Either way, I pull both of my legs up and look down to see a black, long-haired cat rubbing the stool I’m seated on. I immediately lower my legs back to the floor and bend over to scoop up the cat. I don’t know why, but knowing this guy has a cat eases my discomfort even more. It doesn’t seem like someone could be dangerous if they own a pet. I know that isn’t the best way to justify being in a stranger’s apartment, but it does make me feel better.

    “What’s your cat’s name?”

    Owen reaches over and runs his fingers through the cat’s mane. “Owen.”

    I immediately laugh at his joke, but his expression remains calm. I pause for a few seconds, waiting for him to laugh, but he doesn’t.

    “You named your cat after yourself? Seriously?”

    He looks at me and I can see the slightest smile playing at the corner of his mouth. He shrugs, almost bashfully. “She reminded me of myself.”

    I laugh again. “She? You named a girl cat Owen?”

    He looks down at Owen-Cat and continues to pet her as I hold her. “Shh,” he says quietly. “She can understand you. Don’t give her a complex.”

    As if he’s right, and she can actually hear me making fun of her name, Owen-Cat jumps out of my arms and lands on the floor. She disappears around the bar, and I force myself to wipe the grin off my face. I love that he named a female cat after himself. Who does that?

    I lean my arm on the counter and rest my chin in my hand. “So what do you need me to do tonight, OMG?”

    Owen shakes his head and grabs the bottle of wine, storing it in the refrigerator. “You can start by never again referring to me by my initials. After you agree to that, I’ll give you the rundown of what’s about to happen.”

    I should feel bad, but he seems amused. “Deal.”

    “First of all,” he says, leaning forward across the bar, “how old are you?”

    “Not old enough for wine.” I take another sip.

    “Oops,” he says dryly. “What do you do? Are you in college?” He rests his chin in his hand and waits for my response to his questions.

    “How are these questions preparing me for work tonight?”

    He smiles. His smile is exceptionally nice when accompanied by a few sips of wine. He nods once and stands straight. He takes the wineglass from my hand and sets it back down on the bar. “Follow me, Auburn Mason Reed.”

    I do what he asks, because for $100 an hour, I’ll do almost anything.


    When we reach the main floor again, he walks into the center of the room and lifts his arms, making a full circle. I follow his gaze around the room, taking in the vastness of it. The track lighting is what catches my eye first. Each light is focused on a painting adorning the stark-white walls of the studio, pulling the focus to the art and nothing else. Well, there really isn’t anything else. Just floor-to-ceiling white walls, a polished concrete floor, and art. It’s both simple and overwhelming.

    “This is my studio.” He pauses and points to a painting. “That’s the art.” He points to a counter on the other side of the room. “That’s where you’ll be most of the time. I’ll work the room and you ring up the purchases. That’s pretty much it.” He explains it all so casually, as if anyone is perfectly capable of creating something of this magnitude. He rests his hands on his hips and waits for me to absorb it all.

    “How old are you?” I ask him.

    His eyes narrow and he dips his head slightly before looking away. “Twenty-one.” He says it like his age embarrasses him. It’s almost as if he doesn’t like that he’s so young and already has what appears to be a successful career.

    I would have guessed much older. His eyes don’t seem like the eyes of a twenty-one-year-old. They’re dark and deep, and I have the sudden urge to plunge into their depths so I can see everything he’s seen.

    I glance away and place my attention on the art. I walk toward the painting closest to me, growing more and more aware of the talent behind the brush with each step. When I reach it, I suck in a breath.

    Sometimes I wonder if being dead would be easier than being his mother.

    Owen Gentry

    It’s somehow sad and breathtaking and beautiful all at once. The painting is of a woman who seems to encompass both love and shame and every single emotion in between.

    “What do you use besides acrylics?” I ask, taking a step closer. I run my finger across the canvas and hear his footsteps close in on me. He pauses next to me, but I can’t take my eyes off the painting long enough to look at him.

    “I use a lot of different mediums, from acrylic to spray paint. It just depends on the piece.”

    My eyes are drawn to a slip of paper next to the painting, adhered to the wall. I read the words sprawled across it.

    Sometimes I wonder if being dead would be easier than being his mother.

    I touch the paper and then look back at the painting. “A confession?” When I turn and face him, his playful smile is gone. His arms are folded tightly across his chest and his chin is tucked in. He looks at me as if he’s nervous about my reaction.

    “Yep,” he says simply.

    I glance toward the window—at all the pieces of paper lining the glass. My eyes move around the room to all the paintings and I notice strips of paper adhered to the walls next to every one.

    “They’re all confessions,” I say in awe. “Are these from actual people? People you know?”

    He shakes his head and motions toward the front door. “They’re all anonymous. People leave their confessions in the slot over there, and I use some of them as inspiration for my art.”

    I walk to the next painting and look at the confession before I even look at the interpreted piece.

    I’ve never let anyone see me without makeup. My greatest fear is what I’ll look like at my funeral. I’m almost certain I’ll be cremated, because my insecurities run so deep, they’ll follow me into the afterlife. Thank you for that, Mother.

    I immediately move my attention to the painting.

    “It’s incredible,” I whisper, spinning around to take in more of what he’s created. I walk to the window of confessions and find one written in red ink and highlighted.

    I’m scared I’ll never stop comparing my life without him to how my life was when I was with him.

    I’m not sure if I’m more fascinated by the confessions, the art, or the fact that I feel like I can relate to everything in here. I’m a very closed-off person. I rarely share my true thoughts with anyone, regardless of how helpful it might be for me. Seeing all of these secrets and knowing that these people have more than likely never shared these with anyone, and never will, makes me feel a sense of connection to them. A sense of belonging.

    In a way, the studio and the confessions remind me of Adam.

    “Tell me something about yourself that no one else knows. Something I can keep for myself.”

    I hate how I always tie Adam in to everything I see and do, and I wonder if and when that will ever go away. It’s been five years since I last saw him. Five years since he passed away. Five years, and I’m wondering if, like the confession in front of me, I’ll forever be comparing my life with him to my life without him.

    And I wonder if I’ll ever not be disappointed.

  • Meet the Author

    Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Slammed, This Girl, Point of Retreat, Hopeless, Losing Hope, Finding Cinderella, Maybe Someday, Ugly Love, Maybe Not, and Confess. She lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys. Please visit

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    Confess: A Novel 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 127 reviews.
    BookBfReviews More than 1 year ago
    Do you have a secret you would like to confess? This book....THIS BOOK! I have tried for several days to put into perspective how this book has made me feel. I have been in a horrible reading slump. Nothing sounded good. Everything I picked up I put down. I wasn't feeling it, then this book. I admit I got the ARC a while ago but because I wasn't feeling anything I wasn't sure if Colleen could do her magic.  Did she do her magic? Did she weave a tale so compelling that it brought me back into the book light? YES! The answer is yes, yes, yes oh hell yes! Going in I had no idea what to expect. All I know is that Colleen has a way with words and if I'm not careful I will get swept up into emotions so pure that I cry.  From the jump its emotional. Its raw. It makes me hate how life can be so unfair.  Auburn is a sweet girl who has gotten a crap turn at life.  Owen is a great guy who also had a crap turn at life but now paints. What does he paint? Peoples confessions.  People leave confessions in a slot in his door, he chooses a confession and paints it. I was astounded by the confessions. These are real confessions, while some of them were cute there were some that made me sad.  Auburn meets Owen one day by chance, they just so happen to have the same middle name. Was it chance or fate?  They have a connection, it made me giddy. Even though I had only known Owen for a few pages I loved him instantly. The way Colleen wrote this character is so unlike any other. Magnetism, charisma, charm I don't know what it is but I was drawn in.  Auburn, this girl had me at times wishing I could slap her BUT I get why she was doing what she was doing. I hated it like really hated it. Oh and then there was this one scene that I had to calm down because I really wanted to hurt someone. Funny how fictional characters can get you so pissed you're on the verge of killing someone! well expect that. What else can expect, you ask me? The usual stuff that you love from Colleen. You know the stuff that makes us love, then hate, then love her again. The stuff that breaks your heart, then mends it, then she laughs and say kidding, then breaks it again for good measure before deciding okay fine I will stop playing with your emotions. Then slowly she puts the needle through your broken heart and mends it back together very slowly because she can be cruel like that. Expect that and a lot of oh I see where you are going you trickster, then Colleen laughs diabolically and says really then throws you a curve ball. One you had no idea was coming, one so big that you look around the room in awe and shock because you can't believe she did that.  This book was a great read. I don't know Colleen's recipes for her books but her mad genius shines through. She had me thinking the book was going a certain way then it ended up being nothing like I expected. The only thing I was sad about was the relationship between Owen and Auburn, I wanted more. I wanted more days and hours with them. I was satisfied beyond what I hoped.  Thank you Colleen for once again coming through and pulling me out of that slump.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I have the hardest time reading another author 's work after reading Colleen's. She makes everyone else's work seem mediocre. There are no words to describe this book. The simplest sentences are so moving and powerful! How does one move past this? Colleen, you are the reason I love reading!
    megankylene More than 1 year ago
    I jumped at the chance to read Confess when I saw it features an artist hero. Secrets, omission, and a little bit of fate are intertwined in this new adult romance novel about two people with pasts that they don’t want to reveal to anyone. But they eventually reveal to each other, leaving the consequences scattered on the floor. While I thought this book was entertaining, it wasn’t my favorite book by Colleen Hoover. I didn’t get that “oh my goodness I have to know what happens next” that I look for when reading a really captivating book. I will say that the prologue to this book was super, duper sad. I think that may have been my favorite part of the book, actually. After moving from Texas from Oregon, Auburn Reed is starting over on her own. She serendipitously sees a “Help Wanted” sign at a local art gallery called Confess owned by Owen Gentry. The two have an instant connection and there is some mysterious magnetism drawing them together. Little is revealed about their pasts. All we know is Auburn visited an attorney in chapter one (for what?) and Own knows Auburn from long ago (what the what?). After a few hours together, they don’t want the night to end. I started out really liking this book, but as I continued to read, I just got a little bored. Nothing was really happening with their relationship, not much was happening plot-wise. Confess lacked the same sort of spark that some of her other books had in the past. One thing I really like about Colleen Hoover’s books is that her heroes are never super alpha, which aren’t always my favorite type. Owen was a sweet guy whose past mistakes catch up with him. The intensity of Auburn and Owen’s relationship was way too fast-paced for me. Hoover was trying to sell me an instant attraction/connection between the hero and heroine, and while they had chemistry, I didn’t truly feel their love connection. After a few hours together, both were nearly weeping at the fact that they had to part. I thought that maybe would be explained away later and tie into the fact that Owen knew Auburn from the past. Hoover has made this instant attraction work in past novels, but here something was lacking in Confess for the reader to believe it. I wanted more background for both of them, more development in terms of their relationship, before we dove into “I can’t wait to see you again” territory. 2 stars * I received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
    slarson0625 More than 1 year ago
    I absolutely loved Confess by Colleen Hoover. Colleen write the most unique books that suck you in from the very first page. This book is told in alternating POV and is a standalone novel with no cliffhanger. Auburn Reed has been through a lot in her young life and needed to get away. She moves to Dallas to start over and she will do whatever it takes to meet the goals she has set for herself. One day on her way home from work she sees a help wanted sign on an art gallery window. She responds to the ad and spends the rest of the evening helping Owen with his art show. Auburn is very intrigued by Owen and his fascinating works of art. She feels a connection with Owen but is afraid to let anyone get to close because of her past. Will she let Owen into her life or will she push him away so he doesn't find out about the secrets she is hiding? “I’m scared I’ll never feel this again with anyone else,” I whisper. He squeezes my hands. “I’m scared you will.” Owen hasn't had the best life and art is what he uses as his escape. He opened an art gallery where people put their anonymous confessions in a mailbox and then he paints a picture based on the confession. He puts a help wanted ad in the window and can't believe his eyes when Auburn is the one who answers the ad. Owen has some secrets of his own but is afraid to confess them to Auburn as he afraid of the consequences. Will Owen be able to open up and confess his secrets to Auburn or will he continue keep them hidden away. Will his past come back to haunt him and destroy everything he has worked so hard for and scare away the one person that he has been searching for? "I could tell her how I know her. Make her realize why I have this overwhelming urge to protect her. But some secrets I’ll take to my grave, and this is definitely one of them." I really loved the connection between Owen and Auburn. I felt that the secondary characters added lots of depth to the story line. This book took me on such an emotional roller coaster and I loved every minute of it. I loved all the twists and turns the story took and I am so happy with the way it ended. This is a definite must read book by Colleen as are all of her books!!
    kimberlyfaye More than 1 year ago
    Why do I always find myself totally at a loss for words when it comes time to review a Colleen Hoover book? Every. Single. Time. I will in no way to justice to this book, so you should probably just buy a copy now and spend your time reading it instead of this review. :) Also, I'm keeping things vague and spoiler free because you really just need to experience this one for yourself. I don't want to say anything that might ruin it for you. Colleen has a way of slaying me with every single character, every single story. I expected to be all emotional reading Confess. I did not, however, expect to be in tears on the second page of the book. Seriously, that has to be a new record. But oh my god. (Or, OMG ... you'll get the reference once you read it.) I was feeling the feels right from the start.  I connected with Auburn right from the very first few pages. (Hence the tears.) It was impossible to read her story and not feel for her. The girl's been through a lot. There were times during the book that I wanted to scream because I felt like she could've stood up for herself, but I also understood what was holding her back. I was, however, impressed with her personal growth throughout the book.  Owen was an interesting guy. It was a little tough to get a handle on him, but I did know that I liked him from the start. Quirks and all. The more I learned, the more I liked him. He was far from perfect, but he was doing what he could with what he had. He was an incredibly talented artist and I loved how he took others' confessions and turned them into art. I can't wait to get my paperback so I can enjoy all of the art inside. I just know it's going to be gorgeous.  I loved how these characters came together. If you believe in fate (which I do) you have to believe it was all meant to happen just as it did. It was beautiful and heart-breaking and hopeful. There aren't many authors who can rip me apart and put me back together quite like Colleen can. I go into every single one of her books expecting it, but somehow manage to be surprised when it happens. It's a strange phenomenon. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of light-hearted and sweet moments in this book too. Again, I don't want to give too much away, but this book has one of the most heartfelt and gorgeous love scenes I've ever read in book. I was literally crying while reading it. I get chills just thinking back on it.  My best advice to you is to just read this book. Expect the feels... and the unexpected. It seems like everyone is keeping a secret in this book, so there are lots of revelations. Some more shocking than others. The characters are multi-dimensional and real. Confess was utterly unputdownable. And, probably, best read with a friend for moral support and flailing.  I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This was hands down my favorite Colleen book ever.  And I've read them all.  I could not love it more.  Well done!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    From the very begining you are fighting back tears and are hooked on this love story. If you are a fan of Hoover you will not be disappointed.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Great, unique and beautiful story! Not one of my favotites by Miss Hoover, but definately a good one! She never dissapoints!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    One of her best
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    What a great book! Once again colleen touches my heart with great characters. A must read
    Anonymous 2 days ago
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    Jenn1968 30 days ago
    I want to first start off by saying that this is my very first CoHo book. Not because I didn't think I would like her, but because I knew I was going to be devastated by her writing. I knew from others that when she writes, and you read it, that all the emotions known to mankind will be wrenched out of the reader as they read her books. When I read a book like that I need to be in a certain mindset. I love having the entire gamut of emotions drained from me but I want to be in my best mindset so that I can thoroughly enjoy all of it to the fullest. So when I start a book such as this, I don't want to be thinking of any of my own troubles or any drama that might be playing out in my life. And I am so happy to say that just as others told me about this authors work, it was more than I expected! The story is so brilliantly written and I can't count the amount of times that Ms. Hoover had me laughing to myself and then had tears welling up in my eyes in the next! In my opinion, a good story has to has a good plot twist in it that has your jaw dropping, well, Ms. Hoover gives us multiple plot twists. Just when you think that you have hit the peak of the story, she throws a few more loops into your roller coaster ride! I can't count the emotions that this story brought out of me. There were just too many to count. But, you are never left hanging on an emotion. If CoHo brings out your anger, she doesn't leave you hanging on that emotion, she brings you through a few more as she is bringing you down. She is a literary genius! I honestly can say that I felt such a connection to all of the characters in this story. Even those that are only basically just mentioned a few times throughout the story, we still feel some sort of connection to them before the story is finished. This may be my first CoHo book, but it definitely will not be my last. I have already been purchasing others to read, but as I said I want to be able to enjoy them to the fullest. I also have discovered that you need to start them when you don't have any other plans for the day, because once you start one you do NOT want it to end let alone have to put it down for any reason! CoHo will most definitely be one of my go-to authors from her forward! I am also glad I went into this book blind, even though there are some tough issues throughout the book!
    Anonymous 3 months ago
    Really enjoyed reading Confess. Although the plotline was typical of most romance novel; this one was still great. The artwork is amazing!!
    Anonymous 5 months ago
    You will love Auburn, Owen and Adam's story of young love, I know I did.
    MariahEllis 5 months ago
    This was my third Colleen Hoover book. I absolutely loved the first two, and didn't think her writing could get any more perfect. I was wrong. Confess was one of the best books I have ever read. This book broke me and put be back together. TWICE. The emotions are so incredible, and the details that Hoover includes are unlike any other. I already want to read it again.
    Anonymous 9 months ago
    Love Colleen Hoover, this book is by far the best yet.
    Anonymous 9 months ago
    Damn you, Collen Hoover. Your books suck me in too much, and my to-do lists never get done! Great book. If you're like me, you will cry A LOT during this book.
    Anonymous 10 months ago
    This book I will re read many more times. The story goes in directions you don't see going. The characters are well developed and beliveable. This is a stand alone book with no cliffhanger ending!
    Zoey_River 10 months ago
    *This review contains major spoilers for confess. Please don't keep reading if you haven't read the book* The title describes precisely the first half of the book. Seriously, I liked this book but I was also so frustrated with the two main characters. Every few chapters all I wanted to do was shake them and shout "confess already!" in their faces. But at the same time I also knew that the confessions they will have to make will be one of the hardest confessions of their entire life. And. After we got auburn confession (following closely by half of Owen confession)… well, that was where things started to go downhill. I think what really set me off was that auburn had a child. I don't have anything against children but in books… having Children at the end of a book is okay (like in ugly love) but a child in the middle of all the tension, the drama, the romance… I felt like he got in the way in some way. Even that he was one of the biggest plot twists of the book, it was still too much heavy for me and also auburn (considering she is only 21). I liked auburn (though not as much as I liked Sydney and sky) but what really bothered me about her was her uncertainty with trey and her inability to defend herself against him. All I wanted to do was scream at her "come on, girl, kick him, scream at him, fight back!" Instead, Owen had to fight for her. When trey touched her, couldn’t she at least had try to prevent him from doing so? Even if he is stronger than her, she can still struggle, still damage him a bit. Even if she's hopeless against him in the physical way, she could have at least fight him mentally, not let him get to her as he always had. It bothered me. A lot. so yes, I know auburn situation was extremely difficult and hopeless (using that word again, I know… just can't help it) but after reading Sydney and sky I couldn't help but feeling she didn't have much of a fighting spirit with her, and when I read a book, what I look up to the most in a female protagonist is determination, strong will and a spirit that dares to fight back no matter what. So… when I think about it, maybe those were the main reasons I didn't enjoy confess as I wanted to (really-really wanted to). But I still liked it, hence the 3 stars. Especially painting people anonymous confessions. It was breathtaking. Every colleen hoover book has an original-extraordinary touch. And that was definitely it. For the full review, please visit: *The review was longer than the allowed word count* (:
    Anonymous 12 months ago
    I read this book in less than 12 hours. I could not put it down, I loved the concept and the storyline was not totally predictable. Definitely recommend.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Colleen is such a great author. This is one of my favorite books!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I loved this so much! I read it in 2 days it wasnt a super sexual love story and i love the characters. I would recomend to anyone
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Another great book from Colleen Hoover..