When I first encountered Shay in Fantasy she was the strong-willed, loving sister of Brandi and I will admit to hoping that Shay would get her own story one day. She is so determined, driven and certain of her path in life that I knew, even then, that she’d need a hero who was even stronger than she is. Then Bryan showed up in Joe’s story and my imagination went… hmm, I wonder if. It would be hard to find a more stubborn, stronger, driven hero than Bryan. Together they are explosive — two strong, stubborn people who are not exactly who or what they reveal to each other.
Now, to be frank, I’m not a huge fan of the “living a lie for a good reason” romance. Even in fiction, love is a fragile thing and lies upon lies just damage that emotion for me. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I completely got why Bryan and Shay were pretending to be what they were not naturally. It’s simply at some point those lies are going to come back to bite them on the butt… and it’s gonna hurt, big time. Yet, it truly did work well for this particular couple… it added an edge to an already tense storyline – mainly because the reader is constantly thinking “Tell her or Tell him” knowing what that lie will mean to the relationship. As expected, the truth blows up in their faces at the worst possible moment. I understood Bryan’s reaction, even if I did think it was a bit hypocritical since his lie was just as bad. Shay’s devastation can be felt so clearly, and I hurt for them both in that moment.
We get the chance to meet up with Joe and Luna, and others from the earlier stories… and of course, Jamie. As well as some hints for what is to come. I completely enjoyed my time with Bryan and Shay in The Secret Life of Bryan. They are hot, hot-headed, tender and prickly, and exactly what the other needs in their life. There are villains to figure out, some might not be as obvious as others, a really good, believable twin switch situation and lots of steamy moments. I was captured by several elements of this story and I believe you will be, too. I’d recommend The Secret Life of Bryan and the entire Visitation, North Carolina series to any Contemporary Romance reader who loves a good romance, believable characters, a host of secondary characters who bring the story alive and a puzzle to figure out. A romance doesn’t have to be ‘hot off the presses’ to capture my attention or guarantee my enjoyment, and this classic proves that very well.
I own a Kindle edition of this story,