Thursday, February 6, 2014

Masquerade (Games, #3) by Nyrae Dawn

Title: Masquerade
Series: The Games Series
Classification: New Adult/Contemporary Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Forever (June 24, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1455576328
ISBN-13: 978-1455576326
Author's Website:
Notes: I read an eARC loan.

Childhood is when the building blocks that set the foundation that define us as a person are laid. How we handle the curves thrown at us and the barriers set in our way determines the type of individual we'll become. When something disrupts the usual way of things, a child can get lost. That is what happened to Bee. At the tender age of 4 she had been kidnapped. She doesn't remember anything about the kidnapping. It wasn't until years later, at age 13, that the crime committed by the people she'd come to know as her parents was uncovered. Bee was ripped for the second time in her life from the only  family and home she remembered. In the years since reuniting with her real family, she's had issues with attaching herself to anyone. She's had trouble bonding with her real family and feels like she doesn't belong with anyone or anywhere. Now that she's out on her own she hopes to figure out who she is and set down some roots. She's opening a tattoo parlor called Masquerade and is hoping to find a little stability in her life and a place to call home. Sometimes, however, home isn't a place but a person.

Maddox does not come from the best of families, but he loves his sister. Years earlier he'd been the areas golden boy, but that changed in a single night when his father did the unthinkable and killed someone. He took on the burden of taking care of his mother,  little sister, and the sweet and loving young man he seemed destined to become turned into someone unapproachable and aloof who wanted no attachments. He's got a secret he hasn't shared with anyone and the guilt of it is eating away at him. When he first met Bee, he had only one thing in mind and a relationship wasn't it.

They only wanted a one night stand
They never wanted to cross paths again
Sometimes you don't get what you want...
You get what you need  


I accidentally downloaded this book from the publisher. I clicked on what was supposed to be a link to a different book and it took me to this book's NetGalley profile and didn't notice it was a different book till I'd already requested and received it. I didn't know how to give it back, so I read it. I wasn't sure what to expect of this one. While I loved the picture of the couple on the cover, the description made me think this would be just another of the many cookie cutter bad-boy-with-tats-and-a-motorcycle romances. Boy, was I wrong. This book had a hidden depth and emotion to it that made me fall in love with it.

Bee is a closed off person who hides behind her tattoos. While on closer inspection a person might notice her tats tell the story of what's important to her, they also can put people off. As does her attitude...

     "I'm Trevor," the bartender says.
     "Bee," I reply. (...)
     "Bee? As in buzz, buzz?" His question jerks me out of my thoughts. "Did I tell you how much I like honey?"
     Yeah, because I haven't hear that one before. "No, as in the letter B. It's short for 'bitch.' Want me to demonstrate how accurate the name is?" I finish my tirade with the tiniest of wicked grins.
     At that, Trevor smiles and holds up his hands. "I was kidding. Kind of. But seriously, that was hot. I think I'm in love with you."

Over the years, Bee has found a creative outlet for her emotions--ink artistry. She believes, 'When you engrave something into your skin, it's personal--important. Or at least it should be.' As many artists before her, Bee finds her particular brand of  art to be a way of expressing herself. In a world she feels she's lost control of, inking is her way of gaining a little of it back, and she's darn good at it.

Inking is also one of Maddox's passions. He's looking to get a position as an apprentice. Over the years he's put his sister's and mother's needs first and this is the first time in years he's actually gone after something for himself. When he finds the new tattoo artist to be none other than his one night stand, he knows his pursuit will be a lost cause before it even started. His sister, however, manages to convince Bee to take the man on. While Bee didn't wish to have ties to anyone, especially not a man she'd had a one-nighter with, something in Maddox calls to her. She senses a kindred spirit--another lost soul and denying him the same chance someone gave her is the one thing she can't do.

I enjoyed seeing these two break down the walls and barriers that had been set up around the other. They were so determined not to care for anyone else and keep their secrets. One was afraid to trust, and the other was afraid he wasn't worthy of it. I think what I loved the most, however, was the fact these two broken people seemed to interlock in such a way as to provide the other with what they needed. They each saw past the hardened facade they masqueraded behind.

One of my favorite parts is the following. While the tattoo parlor Bee owns is named Masquerade, this line is really why the title is so appropriate:

    'The urge to cry burns behind my eyes, in my chest, and God do I want to reach for him. To stop dancing around in the masquerade and figure out who I am, to be proud of it and to learn to love the way he does.'

A truly lovely and steamy story. I couldn't help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses.  On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one got a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

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