"Walsh combines erotic heat with a dark, mysterious hero that will leave you begging for more." -Reading Diva's Blog
Love can be lost but never forgotten....
Beautiful, sophisticated, and engaged to the son of a Senator, Evie Masterson has the perfect life. Except for one thing: it's all based on a lie. Five years ago, she created a new identity for herself and cut all ties to her criminal past. But she can't run forever, because something she witnessed years ago comes back to haunt her. And the only person there to help is the man she thought she left behind forever-the one man she's never been able to forget.
Devastatingly gorgeous and just as ruthless, Riley Everett is the criminal for hire who once stole Evie's heart. Years have gone by, but he's never been able to forget her either. Now her life is in jeopardy, and even after all this time, he'd still do anything to protect her, even if that means breaking into her mansion and stealing her away.
As they hide from the world, their long-lost passion reignites. But despite their undeniable chemistry, Evie can't give up the perfect life she's been working toward...and Riley has no part in it.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.58(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
By Brighton Walsh
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2015 Brighton Walsh
All rights reserved.
After twenty-two years, I'd come to the realization that people only saw what you let them see. Or, more apt, what they wanted to see. Generally the pretty, skin-deep things that didn't make them uncomfortable. They didn't look for the messy, ugly parts ... the dark, twisted secrets hidden away. The skeletons inevitably buried in everyone's closets.
They definitely didn't see the bones I had concealed in mine, buried under years of dirty secrets and lies and the hundreds of miles separating me from the truth.
That fact was a comfort on nights like these — nights where I felt like the biggest fraud. Because I knew all these people surrounding me with their fake smiles and their pretentious small talk weren't really looking. Not at anything more than what I was wearing, how close Eric and I were standing, how many times I smiled, or how many glasses of wine I had.
At a fund-raiser for Kirkland & Caine, I smiled and laughed, engaged in meaningless small talk. On the arm of my fiancé, dressed in a sparkly dress that cost more than what my rent used to be, I did nothing more than pretend. Put on the pretense of a person I'd invented from the ground up. Not a person I ever was or ever would be, if I had the option.
Funny thing — options weren't plentiful when you were in my shoes. Not when you were running from everything you'd ever known. Not when your life was in danger if you ever stopped.
Like always at events like this, Eric didn't leave my side the entire night, letting my hand rest in the crook of his elbow as he led us from group to group, making the rounds and putting in face time. These kinds of things only came up a few times a year — this was only the third I'd ever had to attend — and even though they were relatively infrequent, they still made me uneasy. I couldn't help my eyes from darting to all the corners of the rooms, checking for the exits, scrutinizing the attendees, the waitstaff, the bartenders. Looking for anything suspicious, anything out of the ordinary. After all this time, I couldn't imagine that the people who would give just about anything to see me found and caught would grab me in a public place. They wouldn't make such a spectacle. They'd be quiet about it, maybe come for me at my house or while I was getting into my car in a secluded parking lot. Someplace the noise and commotion would go unnoticed.
They were professionals, after all.
Even knowing this, I was on edge. The whole night, I was twitchy and jumpy, waiting for something I knew wouldn't come — not here. And I couldn't even say it was because I felt something in my gut, a voice that told me something was off. Because that voice was never silent, forever by my side, forever whispering and reminding me of all the ways I'd screwed up, of all the ways I could screw up if I stepped even slightly out of line. If I didn't preserve this façade to the utmost detail. Of the lives I could ruin if my truth ever came out.
If I was ever found.
Eric leaned down, his lips right by my ear, his hand resting on top of the one I had clutched to his elbow. The familiar, woodsy scent of him calmed me, and I reminded myself to relax. To breathe. His voice wasn't much over a whisper, just loud enough for me to hear in the din. "Not much longer. You want another glass of wine?"
After a year together, ten months of which we'd been engaged, he'd nearly perfected being able to read me. Nearly.
A bright burst of light echoed from off to our right as a photographer snapped pictures of the crowd, and I flinched. It was the barest of movements, just my fingers tightening on Eric's arm, but he didn't wait for my response to his question before he flagged down one of the waitstaff and grabbed a glass of wine from the tray. He passed it to me with a smile pasted on his face. Had to keep up pretenses, because people were watching. Someone was always watching.
His voice was low, soothing, as he said, "We'll head home soon. Fifteen more minutes."
He'd always been considerate of how much time we had to spend at these events. He thought I had social anxiety disorder, that the reason I didn't do well in crowds was because of that. I had a prescription for Prozac that I got filled every month. A tiny green-and-white capsule I flushed down the toilet every morning.
He had no idea the real reason I was twitchy, the real reason I hated doing anything in public, was because I wasn't who I said I was. I wasn't Genevieve Meyer, recent graduate of U of M with a degree in Journalism — the one tiny piece of my old life I'd allowed to seep through. Originally from Miami and the only child of deceased parents.
Everything he knew of my life now was a lie. Every facet of it a fabrication erected from my imagination. Every ounce of it created and built through more steps than I was aware of, even now. Even five years later.
No, I wasn't Genevieve Meyer, fiancée of Eric Caine, the up-and-coming lawyer and son of a former senior partner at the biggest law firm in Minneapolis and current Republican senator from Minnesota.
I hated yoga, though I took a class four times a week. I'd rather have a beer than drink wine, but I dutifully sipped my red. I'd be more comfortable cleaning my grandiose home than I was living in it.
But after this long, after five years — two hundred seventy-three weeks; one thousand, nine hundred and seventeen days — I'd gotten used to the lying, to the pretense of my new life.
So used to it, it was getting harder to tell what was the truth and what was a lie.
* * *
The light on the front porch shone in greeting when we pulled into our driveway nearly an hour later. It was a trek to get downtown, but this suburb was one of the best in the city, and Eric thought it would look better if we settled out here. Thought it would look better to everyone else watching one of the most eligible bachelors in the city go off the market.
He pulled into the garage, then came around and opened the car door for me, his hand on the small of my back as he led me into the house. It was clean — clean and sterile — Jane, our housekeeper, having been there earlier in the day. The house and furnishings weren't at all what I would normally choose, but it was nice enough.
And it was something Eric took pride in, which was enough incentive for me to smile and keep my opinions to myself. My successful fiancé was eleven years older than me. Someone with whom, under normal circumstances, I wouldn't have anything in common. But these weren't normal circumstances, and despite our age difference, we meshed seamlessly.
After four years of keeping my head down, keeping to myself, holding myself apart from others — a self-sustaining island — I'd allowed him to wear me down. And that had been it. He'd asked me on a date and wouldn't take no for an answer. When I'd relented, when I'd finally gone out on that first date with him, I'd found that I'd actually enjoyed myself. We'd had fun together. We'd clicked.
Two months later, we'd been engaged. The wedding was scheduled for June next year. Deposits had been put down on locations and vendors my future mother-in-law had selected. A dress I didn't want or particularly like was on order at the bridal shop. Soon, it'd be time to look at invitations, or so I'd been told.
Eric hung up his keys on the peg next to the door and took off his coat, then came over to me, helping me out of mine. "Sorry we had to stay longer. You feeling okay?" His eyes were worried as he studied me, his hands running up and down the expanse of my bare arms.
"Yeah, I'm fine." I averted my eyes as I set my purse on the counter. "I just get nervous with so many people around." That, at least, was the truth.
"I know." He leaned forward and pressed a kiss to my forehead. "Thank you for doing that for me."
He always did that — thanked me for my part in his life. For putting on a smile and showing up with him to the important events. And they were important — I knew that. Not only to his father, but to him, too. Because eventually he wanted to follow that same path. Follow the steps his father took up the ladder at the law firm, then, when it was time, transition to politics, the same as his dad had.
And even though Eric thanked me, it should've been the other way around. I was a girl who'd come from nothing, and now I was living in a million-dollar home with a three-carat rock on my finger, engaged to be married to one of the most handsome and kindest men I'd ever met.
"You don't have to thank me. Part of the job, right?" I tried to tease, inflecting a lilt to my voice as I held up my left hand with a smile, the diamond catching in the overhead light and sparkling just like in a jewelry commercial.
He didn't return the grin like I'd hoped he would. "Yeah, well, my part of the job doesn't cause me distress. Yours does."
"It's really not a big deal." I squeezed his hand. "I promise."
He stared at me, his eyes delving far enough into my soul that I knew he could tell I was lying. Still, he didn't press. "Fortunately, we won't have another one to attend until the Christmas party."
I laughed, rolling my eyes. "Considering Christmas is less than two months away, that's not so reassuring."
He finally cracked a smile. "Okay, new tactic." He spun me around, his hands on my shoulders as he guided me toward the steps and upstairs to the en suite bathroom. "Bath?"
I exhaled, my shoulders finally relaxed. "Yes, please."
I escaped to the bedroom and into my walk-in closet, the space that was twice the size of my childhood bedroom. Off came the four-inch heels, then the conservative-yet-still-sexy dress. I unhooked the strand of pearls from around my neck, tucking them safely into the freestanding jewelry armoire in the corner. Then came the bracelet and the matching earrings.
Finally, I pulled my robe from the hook next to the door leading into the bedroom and slipped it on, then headed into the bathroom. The lights were off, a couple of my favorite candles lit, and the oversized tub was already filled to the top, mountains of bubbles heaped over the water. I shrugged out of the robe, letting it pool at my feet, and breathed a sigh of relief as I stepped into the claw-foot basin, closing my eyes as I sank into the hot water.
The door was still open partially, and I could hear Eric moving around. He raised his voice so I could hear him clearly. "I'm sorry I have to leave tomorrow, Gen. You know I hate doing that after a night out."
I leaned back and closed my eyes, running my hand through the bubbles covering the entire surface of the water as I settled my head against the high back of the tub. "It's okay. I'll be fine."
"You could still come with, you know." His voice was softer now, closer, and I cracked open an eye to see him at the door, his shoulder propped up on the doorjamb as he studied me. "I can get a last-minute ticket. Two weeks in London? Not a bad vacation. I'll have to work, but you can go sightseeing, visit the Natural History Museum ... go shopping."
I snorted at his suggestion. "You know I hate shopping."
He rolled his eyes and turned around, raising his voice again as he went about getting packed for his trip. "I know. I just mean there's lots to do there. You won't be stuck in the hotel room the whole time if you don't want to be. Though the hotel room is actually a very nice suite and not a bad place to be stuck. Just think about it, okay? We can buy you a ticket tomorrow morning at the airport, if you want."
I hummed in acknowledgment and he let it rest, finishing up what he needed to do. And even though I pretended to be contemplating actually going, I wasn't. I couldn't.
The thought of going to London filled me with equal amounts of excitement and dread. I would love to visit, to see all the other things the world had to offer. To go all the places Eric went while visiting different branches of Kirkland & Caine. I could picture myself in New York and L.A., in Paris ... I could picture myself there, though I'd never go.
Because if I went, that'd mean leaving my safe little cocoon. And the thought of doing that filled me with terror so real I could almost feel it clutching my throat. Even though my identification was top-of-the-line, the best money could buy — Aaron had assured me of that — I still worried about what would happen if I went through customs. If I had trained eyes scrutinizing everything I handed over.
But it wasn't only that.
It was also opening up the possibility of being seen in so many different locations. I didn't know if I'd been lucky these past five years, here in Minneapolis. Hiding in plain sight. I didn't know if it'd been other forces at work — if Aaron and Ghost had kept everyone from looking for me, using their pull within the ranks of the crew to divert attentions elsewhere.
All I knew was I didn't want to chance it. I didn't want to jeopardize everything I'd worked for. I didn't want to risk everything I'd lied for.
And above all else, I didn't want to ever go back.CHAPTER 2
ONE WEEK LATER
Early November in Chicago meant it got dark way too fucking early for my liking, all the shadows making me jumpy. That was part of this business, though, always checking over my shoulder. Since I was fourteen, even before I was really part of the crew, I'd been taught to be diligent, constantly aware of my surroundings. My brother, Gage, had made sure of that. Made sure I could look out for myself. I didn't think I had anything to worry about here, a few blocks from my apartment. This far off the beaten path, the streets were usually barren, even on a Friday night, and tonight was no different, with only a couple homeless guys huddled in an alley across the street.
Flexing my left hand, I felt the dull, residual pain from the job I'd just come from. A corrupt businessman — weren't they all? — who'd gotten a little greedy, skimming from Max. You didn't steal from Max Cavett, and any idiot who thought it was a good idea to steal from the leader of the entire fucking crew deserved every bit of what I was ordered to carry out.
The idiot who'd stolen from Max had actually had the nerve to try and deny his involvement. When I'd confronted him, when he'd been trapped with no way out, he denied it, even though I set the proof right in front of his face. When he hadn't budged, hadn't admitted his deeds, my fists had to come into play.
It was always better for everyone all around if swings didn't start getting thrown. It was always better, though it rarely happened like that. And, to be honest, I liked it that way. I didn't mind the physical aspect of the job, had never minded that. I was good at keeping people in line, at using my fists to remind assholes what they needed reminders of when words just wouldn't get the job done. It also helped that I was able to get all this pent-up aggression out, and all the better that it was done while whaling on the kind of men who'd taken everything from me.
The kind of men who'd taken her from me.
It was early — not even ten o'clock — and I thought briefly about going out for a bit. Hitting the bar down the street, maybe get hooked up with some company for the night and push away the memories that always came knocking when I was working a job. But before I could make a decision on whether I wanted to head straight home or go somewhere else for a while, my phone buzzed in my pocket. I pulled it out, seeing Gage's name on the screen.
Pressing Accept, I kept walking toward my apartment building as I answered. "Hey, man. What's going on?"
The tone of his voice stopped me dead in my tracks, halting me in the middle of the cracked sidewalk. It was the same tone he'd used for years while running jobs with the crew. The same tone he'd used when he needed people to listen. It was the tone that said shit was about to get real. "What is it? Is it Madison?"
"No. No, we're fine. But I need you to listen to me, very carefully, okay? Listen to me and do exactly what I tell you to."
I blew out a breath, my shoulders relaxing slightly. "Yeah, yeah, I know the drill. Just tell me what's going on."
"You need to go see Aaron."
My brow furrowed. It wasn't unusual for me to see Aaron, to get information I'd need for a job, so it didn't seem that odd. Didn't seem worthy of the urgent tone of voice he was using. At least not until he said, "Do you remember the place?"
Excerpted from Exposed by Brighton Walsh. Copyright © 2015 Brighton Walsh. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Is it wrong that I enjoyed Exposed so much more than I did Captive that I feel I should change my rating on Captive to 4 stars to reflect this? Maybe it’s because Evie and Riley have a built in history that, despite five years apart, their connection is just as strong as ever and that made their romance feel more realistic to me regardless of all that was going on around them. Add to that a romantic suspense plot that provided for more action and intrigue than I remember experiencing while reading Captive, well that just insured even more enjoyment on my part. Much like his brother Gage, Riley is protective of those he loves. So learning that his deceased girlfriend was not dead and that his brother had been aware of it the whole time…well I’m sure that would yank the rug out from under most anyone. But despite his anger and feelings of betrayal, Riley does what needs to be done to insure Evie’s safety when her survival is discovered by the person who tried to have her murdered five years ago. Were that not enough, Walsh adds to the layers of Evie’s character via a long-buried secret that she has never told anyone. While I had figured out what her secret was well before she even considered telling Riley what had happened, the author does an excellent job of showing how the secret affects the various parts of Evie’s life – even in the midst of having to deal with a target on her back. Fortunately the connection between Evie and Riley is such that they are unable to avoid the sparks flying between them for long and when that match is struck an inferno ensues. Seriously hot sex scenes! Due to Exposed being first and foremost (in my mind at least) a romantic suspense novel, there is little I can say about the actual plotline without risking spoilers. Once again I enjoyed Walsh’s style of writing, particularly that the book was presented from both Riley and Evie’s points of view as it helped me see where each of them was coming from. I liked that Riley seemed more willing to talk than his brother did and that he had no qualms about sharing his feelings with Evie. There was no doubt as to his love for her. I thoroughly enjoyed how the end played out once Evie’s pursuers caught up with her. I’m also glad that the author presented the events in the Epilogue in the way they were, as I was able to see the steps Evie took to regain her power without having to sit through the harrowing tale of how it was taken from her in the first place. Exposed is a great addition to the Captive series and I am looking forward to the next installment. I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!
received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The following is my honest opinion. This book hit all the marks that I've come to love about Brighton's writing. I am loving this Captive series, and a cool thing is that Exposed can be read as a stand-alone or even before Captive #1. I loved the thriller aspect of this book and loved how intense and high pressure this book is. There is a lot of danger in this book, yet Brighton weaves the romance in easily and it all just flows so well. Brighton writes romance and sexy time scenes that are HOT and I loved every bit of those scenes in this book. There were some aspects of this book that just didn't quite work for me, yet these things weren't big issues. I personally never connected to the main characters the way I did with all other Brighton books. It took awhile for me to feel anything for these characters, though I did come to really like Evie by the end of the book. Plus, Evie's secret. Evie has a secret that she mentions in a narrative voice so often through out and it's hinted at continually for so much of the book. All the hinting and so often really dragged on for me. However, the secret itself, once revealed, was a hard hitting issue and choice to include; and I think Brighton touches on this issue very well. I'm being vague because it would be a huge spoiler to tell you the secret. I think it was this secret and when Evie finally decides to share it that really connected me to the character. It was such an emotional scene and there may have been some tears. While this secret may have been guessable before it was shared, the reveal of it by the character really touched me and there were definitely some tears. The Bottom Line --- 4 Stars Overall I think this book is a great addition to the romance genre and continues to show Brighton's strength as a writer; while also showing growth through the incorporation of the thriller and emotional scenes. Romance readers should definitely check this out because you won't be disappointed. Anna @ Lostbraincell's Bookish Blog
I have loved everything I have ever read from this author and this one is no different. Riley and Evie's stories story was different than I expected. It has a tough issue in it and though I figured out Evie's secret, it was still hard to watch her deal with it. I admired her for her strength. I was so glad when she finally shared it with Riley. That man loves her hard. He would do anything for her. He would never doubt her. He would only want to protect her and care for her. You might notice that I love Riley hard. This is a second chance story unlike most. The reason for them parting five years ago wasn't anything that normally tears couples apart. And Riley used that departure to be the reason for decisions in his life he may not have made otherwise. I loved how passionate he was about Evie and the effect she had on his life. He never stopped loving her. And he would die to protect her. Evie was a little harder for me to love. She made a decision that hurt Riley and I'm not sure I got over it. I get it. And I even respect it. She was protecting him just like he has always done for her. She needed control in her life and I get that too. It was just hard. Hard for everyone. I like Eric. I'm so glad about the character growth he has in this story. We don't see a lot of him but he's impacted by this story a lot. A great follow-up to Captive, though I loved that one more. Still, fans of the series and the author will want to read this one. It can be read standalone as well. It has lots of sexy and lots of secrets. And it's a fast read.
To the point: Classic Brighton Walsh, this book is steamy and exciting with just enough twists and drama to keep you clawing for more. Review: The suspense in this book is amazing! I mean I could not stop reading without knowing what’s going to happen next. I needed to know! I had to get to the end like it was a race but I just needed to know!!! The romance is unique in this book. Rarely, do you see a strong man vulnerable for a woman. It’s usually the typically man break woman’s heart and she still loves him and forgives him (GAG!). I love Riley, I love a man who can show some emotion. Give me something, a smile, a tear and I’ll be weak in the knees with love. Brighton Walsh has a great flow in her writing style, we’ve seen it in Captive and this one is no disappointment. Story telling is an art of hers and she does it well. I think the fun explodes in this novel and you can really see the Walsh loves telling a story. Her characters and multi-dimensional. Her plot is written well and distinctively (you won’t get lost). The language is easily understandable and extremely intriguing .. and steamy. I think romance loves will eat this book up. It’s a lot of fun. The journey is exciting. The whole thing just feels great from start to end. Go check the book out, you won’t be disappointed!
I have yet to read a book from Brighton Walsh that I didn’t enjoy and Exposed was no exception. While I didn’t enjoy Exposed as much as Captive, I still liked Riley and Evie’s story. I adore second chance romances, so I really loved that aspect of this story. The chemistry between Riley and Evie is strong and it is clear that even though five years have gone by, they both still have strong feelings for one another. It was nice to watch these two find each other again and see how much they have changed over the years. But despite all of those changes, they still fit together perfectly. I do wish they had communicated a bit better, because they did have a tendency to use sex as avoidance, but they both come around. The backstory in this one made my heart hurt and I admired Evie for her strength. I also enjoyed the suspense element. It wasn’t overly prominent, but it was a nice addition to the story. I was able to guess one of the twists, but I found it didn’t take away from the impact it had on the story. Brighton did a good job of blending the mystery, suspense, and romance to make an enjoyable read. All in all, Exposed was a good read and I expected nothing less from Brighton. If you haven’t read anything from this author yet, you should change that.
✦Spotlight, Review & Giveaway: Exposed by Brighton Walsh http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-2N1 ►Enter Facebook Giveaway ➢ http://fb.me/7qlsf4952 Publication Date: July 28, 2015 Genre: New Adult/ Romantic Suspense Reviewed by: Reading in Pajamas/ Cori Rated: 4 Stars REVIEW: "Exposed" is the second book in Brighton Walsh's Captive series. It was edgy without being too dark. It was an emotional second chance romance that tugged at my heart strings. The romance was hot, the characters were vivid and the plot was unique. I really love Brighton Walsh's writing style. She's a great storyteller and really draws the reader into the lives of her characters so you experience their story along with them. I enjoyed the first book, "Captive" but "Exposed" was even better. I fell in love with Riley! He was a secondary character in the first book and he intrigued me enough to want to read his book. He's a swoon-worthy protective hero and you'll fall in love with him too. I recommend you read both books in this series but each book can be read as a standalone so you don't need to read "Captive" in order to enjoy "Exposed". I recommend this series for romance lovers looking for a love story with suspense, danger and heat. *Review copy provided by SMP Romance in exchange for an honest review. Also check out Book 1: Captive by Brighton Walsh Review 4 Stars: http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-2ef
Exposed, Brighton Walsh. Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews Genre: New Adult Second book in the series and though I hadn’t read book one that wasn’t a problem, as each novel focuses on different characters, so the couple from book one appear here in cameo roles, and the main crux is Riley and Evie. So, having got that out of the way what did I get from this? Well, I love the drama that usually pervades NA reads, but though there was drama here it didn’t feel properly connected to the people involved. I didn’t really connect to Riley or Evie, and couldn’t really see why Evie did what she did. I understood Riley’s anger at the deception far better. Somehow I wanted Evie to care more, to want to live, connect, be part of life but she kind of feels to me likes she’s drifting, letting things happen, although of course she’s had to do some strong planning to get where she is. I felt there was a huge gap from where she left the criminal group who she’d been with since a young teen, and where she is now, engaged to a prominent character. given she wanted to stay hidden why on earth get with someone who's going to attract publicity? I wanted to know how she got there, how she’d passed the deception and how on earth she moved in the circles where she met her fiancé. That seemed a big gap to me, huge and I needed more there. I was also at a bit of a loss about the gang itself, who they were and why/what they did, though maybe that's covered on book one. I felt so sorry for her when her past came out – that must have been tough and explains her need to control her life, except that I didn’t feel she had got control of it....and now with Riley and everything happening at once its all about to crash and implode. Overall its a well written and decent read for the right reader, but for me it didn’t really work. I wasn’t really invested in the characters or the outcomes, the story felt a bit detached for me, and though the plot had drama I wanted it between the characters too and just didn’t feel it. As ever though it’s just my personal view and will be very different for other readers. Stars: Two and a half, there were some parts I enjoyed but overall it was a miss. ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers
My first introduction to the amazing writing talent that is Brighton Walsh was when I read Captive in April. I was floored. I don’t very often find books that have my attention to the point that I’m unable to put it down. It was intense, suspenseful, gripping… it was simply amazing. And I knew that I HAD to read more of Brighton Walsh’s books. Evie and Riley are childhood sweethearts that separated years ago due to a unforeseen circumstance. Riley was told Evie had died, and spent many years grieving her death. He now finds out that she is, in fact, alive, and that her death was a lie. The two are brought back together when Riley discovers Evie’s life is now in danger again due to the risky business they are both associated with. Evie’s character in general wasn’t a favorite of mine. I struggled to understand her motives, and even to like and respect her. Even after finding out the reasons for her actions and thought pattern, I still wasn’t a fan. I don’t want to talk much about her and her current situation because of spoilers, but I just didn’t connect with her as I did with Maggie in Captive. This didn’t make me like the story less, however. I was connecting to the story, despite not really liking Evie’s character. Riley, who is Ghost’s brother, came off very different than I thought he would as well. We only get a little glimpse of him in Captive, but here he was much more angry and bitter than I had expected. And I shouldn’t be surprised… he had been lied to regarding the love of his life’s death, taking it extremely hard and grieving for a very long time. I think I’d be pretty mad myself. But the anger he had in his heart seemed to go a lot further than just Evie and the lie. He definitely is holding in quite a bit of frustration and contempt from his younger years. He was also entirely too controlling and bossy. Yes, he was protective, but protective shouldn’t reach to that level of control that he was showing. Aside from my personal opinions on both characters, I did really enjoy the romance between the two. I was honestly surprised by the amount of romance this book contained and the lack of extreme suspense or drama that was present in the first book. Due to the intensity of Captive, I was sure this book would be similar. And honestly, it was entirely different. I’m surprised these two books are considered in the same series, except for the obvious family connection between the characters. As you can tell, I can’t help but compare Exposed to Captive. Maybe that’s not the best idea, and not entirely fair when rating Exposed on its own, but since they are in the same series I just can’t help myself. It is next to impossible to meet my love level for Maddie and Ghost. I fell hard for them and their story in Captive. I’ve tried my best to rate this book based solely on its story and characters, not compared to Captive. Honestly, I do think if I hadn’t read Captive, I may have enjoyed this one a bit more. I went into this story with such high expectations, and I ended up just a bit disappointed. Yes, I really enjoyed this story. It was really great. Just not what I had expected entirely. I will stop this rambling now. :) Another book from Brighton that I’m happy to recommend to others. It was hot, sexy and filled to the top with steamy scenes and sexual tension. This is a series worth looking into for sure. *Thanks to St. Martin's Griffin for the review copy
3.5 stars--EXPOSED is the second installment in Brighton Walsh’s new adult, contemporary CAPTIVE romantic, suspense series. This is Evie and Riley’s storyline-a second chance for two people ripped apart by someone else’s greed and anger. EXPOSED can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Riley is Gage’s (Ghost) younger brother, first introduced to us in CAPTIVE (book one). Any necessary information from the previous storyline is imparted where necessary. Told from dual first person points of view (Riley and Evie) the storyline follows the rekindling of a relationship once thought dead and gone. Five years earlier Evie was presumed dead, and in the ensuing time Riley has placed all of his anger and grief into the mercenary lifestyle as part of a crew hired to enforce an illegal set of rules for anyone disobeying those in control. But Evie has been on the run; in hiding with a new name and identity, and a fiancé who knows very little about Evie’s previous life. When her picture is spotted in a social column, Evie’s life on the run begins anew, but this time Riley is the first one on the scene, to ensure Evie remains alive and a part of his future. The relationship between Evie and Riley has already been established-high school sweethearts whose love for one another grew through their mutual connection to the ‘crew’- but the truth about Evie’s presumed death was kept secret from Riley-Evie had uncovered some information that had placed her life in danger, and to protect everyone she loved, Evie remained ‘dead’ and missing for close to five years. Riley’s anger begins to overshadow his love for Evie but when the truth is revealed, Riley becomes Evie’s number one protector and guardian. The $ex scenes are intimate and seductive; Brighton Walsh has upped the erotic factor with the release of book two. Evie tends to use $ex as a distraction both for herself and Riley, and Riley is never one to refuse what is being offered. The secondary and supporting characters include Gage and Madison from CAPTIVE book one, as well as a number of former and current members of the ‘crew’. Frankie returns as part of the requisite evil on the hunt for Evie; and Aaron sides with Gage and Riley as they endeavor to protect Evie from Max-the man who has ordered Evie’s capture. The world building continues to follow the members of the crew-a group of mercenary –style thugs and enforcers who are hired for any number of illegal reasons and threats. Although Gage is no longer a part of the crew, his involvement remains to try and protect his brother and the woman that he loves. Evie and Riley spend most of their time (and the story) together, stuck in an apartment where the walls begin to close in around them, and in this, the suffocation factor bled into my enjoyment of the storyline. EXPOSED uses some memories, flashbacks, and nightmares to expose the reader to Evie’s life-the reasons she is on the run, and why she is reluctant to have any contact with her family. This particular portion of the storyline is a major factor in the character’s personality growth and background, as well as an issue that the author was hoping to bring attention to, but the development is somewhat incomplete.
ARC requested through NetGalley, and kindly provided St. Martin's Press Publishing in exchange for a honest review. After discovering her boss has been stealing from his employer, Evie begins collecting evidence to back up her findings, and in doing so, involves herself into a little too much into his shady dealings, and puts her life in danger. To save herself and avoid putting her loved ones lives at risk she decides to fake her death and go on the run. After being in hiding for five years, assuming a new identity, and getting engaged to her fiance she finally starts to breath a small sigh of relief and has hope that she might finally be safe from her past. Little does she know someone has discovered her little secret, and plans to seek revenge. Riley lost the love of his life five years ago, and has been trying to avenge her death since the day she died. When his brother sends him a photo of his "dead" girlfriend and tells him she is in grave danger, he can hardly believe his eyes, and he immediately wants answers, but first he must to try rescue her before her past catches up to her. Can he win her heart back, or is the ring on her finger a sure sign that she has given her heart to another man... This was my first read by this author and I can say with complete certainty that it will not be my last. This book grabbed my attention immediately and did not let go until the last page was turned. The story line was very inventive, very well written, and highly addictive. Being the second installment in the series, and not having read the first, I was concerned I maybe a little lost going in, but I am happy to report that wasn't the case at all! I believe this book could easily be read as a stand alone title, however, once you read this one, you'll be dying to know more about the other characters in the series!!! This is DEFINITELY one of the best NetGalley discoveries that I have read yet!!
“I want to be safe.” Above anything, I always, always wanted to be safe, and I hadn’t truly been safe for so, so long. “I don’t want to have to look over my shoulder anymore. I want to be free to be Evie, not Genevieve. I want to be able to go into whatever kind of career I want, instead of one I hate simply because it will keep me under the radar. And I want to feel content and comfortable, be able to afford the nice life–not anything lavish, like I have now. That’s so much more than I ever needed, but I want to be comfortable.” Exposed is the second book in the Captive series but can totally be read as a stand-alone. Exposed follows the story of Evie. For the last five years, Evie has been on the run, always looking over her shoulder in fear that her past will catch up with her. Evie appears to be the perfect fiancee, but her new life couldn’t be further from the truth. The past always has a way of catching up and now Evie’s time is up…. Exposed was a exciting read for me and was told from alternating points of view. I was pulled in from the first page and intrigued by the plot. I had so many questions. I knew something wasn’t right. I needed to know what happened to Evie; how she found herself in this situation. When the past finally caught up with Evie, I was on the edge of my seat, waiting to see how everything would unfold. I really enjoyed Captive. I loved the mystery and intrigue. I loved that Captive is not only a great suspenseful romance, but also a second chance romance.Captive checked all my boxes for a good read. It was perfectly balanced. I will warn you that Captive does deal with some difficult subject matter, that may be a little hard for readers. But, I was pleased with the way that the author handled it. Captive is my first book by this author. I was hooked from the very beginning and loved that there was never a dull moment. The characters were intriguing and I couldn’t wait to learn more about them. Overall, I thought this book was great. I’m excited to go back and read the first book and am looking forward to reading more from this author in the future. *I was provided an ARC copy of this book via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*