Their love led to a lie.
Their truth led to the end.
Scottish enigma Brigs McGregor is crawling out from the ashes. After losing his wife and son in a car accident – and, subsequently, his job – he’s finally moving forward with his life, securing a prestigious teaching position at the University of London and starting a new chapter in the city. Slowly, but surely, he’s pushing past the guilt and putting his tragic past behind him.
Until he sees her.
Natasha Trudeau once loved a man so much she thought she’d die without him. But their love was wrong, doomed from the start, and when their world crashed around them, Natasha was nearly buried in the rubble. It took years of moving on to forget him, and now that she’s in London, she’s ready to start over again.
Until she sees him.
Because some loves are too dangerous to ever rekindle.
And some loves are too powerful to ignore.
Can you ever have a second chance at a love that ruined you?
The Lie is a second-chance romance with a dark, forbidden twist.
Anyone who follows my reviews knows Karina Halle is one of my favorite authors; I have read all her books and will read anything she writes. However, this book made me more hesitant than any of her previous books. After reading the synopsis and knowing some of backstory from reading The Play, I had an eerie feeling the book would focus on a trope I usually shy away from reading. Due to my immense love of this author, I put aside my apprehension and dove into Brigs and Natasha’s world. What I found was a moving and beautiful story about forgiveness and a second chance at love.
“You are my salvation….You save me from the world. You save me from myself.”
The Prologue is haunting and drew me in immediately to Brig’s heartbreak. While he moves forward, it is evident Brigs is a shell of his former self. That is until until four years later when he once again sees Natasha, and the world stands still for both. I literally felt the tension these two share with one other; it is all consuming. There is so much pain and guilt but also intense love, and the tension is off the charts.
Second chance romances are a delicate balance of past and present. I prefer those books that focus on the here and now rather than the past. Halle does a tremendous effort with flashbacks throughout the story. It is never overwhelming or past driven. As painful as it was, it is important to learn about the events leading to their breakup. However, its a perfect balance of the two stories.
We are forever surrounded by ashes. But we are fire. And fire rises.
I appreciate that both Brigs and Natasha are flawed. Both make mistakes in their relationship. However, it makes them human. It is easy to understand how quickly events can spiral out of control. Often times, people make mistakes, but it doesn’t make them an evil person. While the circumstances are questionable, their love never is. I admire Halle for undertaking this story line and allowing readers to feel it firsthand. I will be less likely to shy away from forbidden stories in the future.
My only complaint is I wanted more. I had a few unanswered questions that were not addressed in the closing chapters. Halle has added two additional scenes that do not appear in the advanced copies, and I can’t wait to find out what she added. I highly recommend this book to any second chance romance fan. You’ll find yourself looking for Professor Blue Eyes in your next college class, or enrolling in one just to find him.
Without even thinking, I end up in Natasha’s neighborhood, on her street. I pull the car over and stare at her building. I can drive off. I can go blow off some steam with Lachlan. I can drive and scream and wish to god that things were different.
But I don’t want to do it alone.
I get out of the car and head to her flat.
I knock on her door, wondering if she’s even in, if she might still be sleeping. It’s still early on a Saturday and we don’t see each other on the weekends without it being work related, such as seeing a classic film at the cinema. I hadn’t planned to talk to her until Monday, her last week of work as my research assistant before going back to London.
My heart pinches at that thought.
She’s leaving me.
What the hell am I doing?
But then the door opens slowly and she’s staring at me with wide eyes, her hair piled on top of her head in a messy bun, a fluffy robe around her body.
“Sorry,” I say quickly, immediately feeling bad. “Did I wake you up?”
She yawns. “Kind of, but I should be getting up anyway. What’s, um, up?”
I rub my lips together. “I…I wanted to know if you wanted to go for a drive?”
I shrug. “I don’t know. Far away. But not too far. I have to be back by twelve-thirty for Hamish.”
“What time is it now?”
She rolls her eyes. “And you were wondering if you woke me up. I should still be sleeping for at least another two hours.”
I nod, embarrassed at my enthusiasm. I’m being inappropriate. “I should go.”
I turn around, but she reaches out and grabs my arm, holding tight. “No, don’t,” she says. “I want to go with you. Just give me five minutes, okay?”
I turn to look at her and she’s flashing me a persuasive smile.
“I’ll be in the car,” I tell her.
Somehow she’s true to her word. In five minutes she’s jogging down the steps of her building, dressed in jeans and a tank top that shows off the tawny warmth of her summer tan. She hasn’t touched her hair at all; it’s still up in that bedhead bun, and there isn’t a bit of makeup on her. She doesn’t need it. She looks joyful. She looks absolutely beautiful.
“You’re fast,” I tell her as she slips into the passenger seat.
She giddily drums her hands across the dash and beams at me. “I’m fast when I want to be. I love this car. Where are we going again? Oh right, somewhere far away. Can we get coffee first? I’m dying.”
I can’t help but grin at her as I turn the key. The car starts on the first turn. She’s my good luck charm. “You don’t seem like you need coffee.”
“I always need coffee,” she says emphatically. “You know this. So where to?”
“I honestly don’t know. You pick.”
“Do you have a map?”
I nod at the glove compartment. “In there.”
She opens it and it falls open with a clunk. She takes out an old faded road map and starts looking it over.
“Anything strike your eye?”
“I’m looking for Loch Ness.”
“That’s too far.”
“Okay, is there like another lake with a swamp monster?”
“Nearly all the lochs are in the Highlands.”
“Arrrrrrrrrr in the Highlands,” she says playfully, imitating my accent.
“Okay, maybe no coffee for you.”
“Don’t be cruel, Professor Blue Eyes.” She goes back to studying the map but the mention of my nickname makes a small fire build inside me. And not one of anger.
She points on the map. “Here. Balmoral.”
“That’s where the Queen lives.”
“I know. I want to say hello.”
“It’s a two-hour drive,” I point out.
“Well, then we better get cracking,” she says. “The Queen is expecting us.”
She’s definitely full of spirit today. It seems to latch onto me and I ingest it like a tonic. She’s erasing all the humiliation and pain from the morning.
We head out of the city, taking the A-90 to the M-90 and speed north. After we get her some coffee and we share a couple of sausage rolls for breakfast, I warn her that we literally will see the estate and have to head back. But she doesn’t mind.
And honestly, neither do I. I crank the old radio on the car to pick up an oldies station playing a special on Otis Redding. The day is warm and gorgeous, and even though we’re going fast, our windows are down, enjoying the wind and the sun on our skin.
About an hour into our drive, Natasha turns to me and says, “Tell me the truth. Why did you come to get me this morning?”
“Was it that unusual?” I ask without looking at her.
“Yes,” she says. “The last time you came to my house without me knowing…”
“Back then I was following up on an email. I wanted to know if you were all right,” I tell her before she can tell me anything else about that night.
“And now I want to know if you’re all right,” she says gently.
I glance at her. There’s a softness in her eyes that undoes me. I grip the wheel hard, conscious of my every movement and how they might appear to her. A good man, after the night she kissed me, the night I kissed her right back, would have never been alone with her again.
But I’m not a good man.
I’m a man who is slowly but surely falling in the wrong direction.
With her USA Today Bestselling The Artists Trilogy published by Grand Central Publishing, numerous foreign publication deals, and self-publishing success with her Experiment in Terror series, Vancouver-born Karina Halle is a true example of the term “Hybrid Author.” Though her books showcase her love of all things dark, sexy and edgy, she’s a closet romantic at heart and strives to give her characters a HEA…whenever possible.
Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her husband and rescue pup.
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/Karina-Halle/e/B0050KE63C/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1407546895&sr=8-2-ent