and life with her new fiance, artist & biker Hero.
Their new life together is filled with moments of tenderness.
And experimenting with their sexual desires.
But their vacation in Paris is not all that heroine expected it to be.
She feels Hero pulling away from her
because he fears that she just won't understand.
And, when his past catches up to their present,
he fears that she won't be able to handle it.
How much of his past can she take?
I haven't read any previous books in the series. Didn't know this book was part of a series. I read this novella anyway since it was only 45 pages long. There was enough basic summation of what happened previously with their romance, their ongoing problems with other characters, and factors that contributed to their current romance challenge that I didn't feel all that lost reading this novella. In fact, I felt like I didn't really need to read the previous books since I felt caught up with their romance. Well, I did end up reading a sample of Being Me (Inside Out #2) just to see if I was right. Verdict: partly. Jones' writing was captivating & made me want to read more of what exactly happened previously between Hero and heroine, even though I already knew where it headed. I just might finish it later. In the meantime, I still stand by the notion that the basic info about their in the previous books were summarized enough here. So, if you're looking to get the gist of their overall romance history without the emotional nuances, this novella provided that.
The center of this book was Hero's tortured past. The book was told from his POV(point of view). So we really got a feel for Hero's thoughts and emotions, which were full of angst about heroine's potential reaction to his secret past. He knew that there was no escaping her knowing about it, especially since both of them have been vocal about being completely open to each other. Heroine had already told him about her shameful secret in the previous book regarding her relationship with another man. An urgent call regarding his former lover forced the unveiling of his past now and began the climactic part of the book. Which proved to be anti-climatic.
--------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details------------
Going into a BDSM club Hero used to frequent clued us in that his secret had to do with his BDSM lifestyle. It was mentioned in this book that heroine had already witnessed his harsh whipping and his desire for more of this pleasure-pain punishment in 1 of the previous books. They already dealt with heroine's reaction to it and Hero's solution to preventing it from occurring again. So, heroine seeing Hero's former whipper threatening the whip his pain-addicted former lover inside the BDSM club was the extent of what's left of "his secrets" as the book title suggests. I thought "That was it? That's his BIG secret?!". It was disappointing because seeing his former lifestyle via his former BDSM playmates didn't hold a candle to heroine catching Hero in the act of being a masochistic whore in the previous book & getting whipped himself. So, I didn't understand what he had to be so angst-filled and worried about in this book. She'd already seen the worst of his past lifestyle before and dealt with it.
It made me wonder if this novella was somehow a repeat or a tamer version of heroine witnessing Hero being a masochistic whore in a previous book. Because their discussion about it was more like a reassurance of what they've already discussed before: that heroine wasn't going to leave Hero because of it and that Hero wasn't going to be tempted back into that lifestyle. It's almost as if Hero didn't trust whatever heroine said to him about it before. It showed his insecurity and continued shame and guilt about his past lifestyle. He blamed himself for why his former lover was addicted to masochism.
His secrets didn't seem like secrets since Hero and heroine had already discussed his BDSM lifestyle before. The situation may have seemed new but the overall theme was not. Seeing this particular secret in the flesh didn't really bother heroine. It made her sympathize with Hero's former lover but it didn't even seem to change her view of Hero one iota since they've she already knew about his past BDSM lifestyle. If I read the previous book, I probably would've been irritated with the repeated theme of this 1. Especially since this book was so short that it could just have been added to the previous book.
My overall reaction to this book was ho-hum. The sex scenes were the most exciting part and I liked that it showcased their love for each other. Aside from that, the summation of their past history and their relationships with other characters were informative but dry. The mystery part didn't appeal to me, since it was all new to me and didn't seem that interesting. The characterization was average. Hero was possessive-dominant alpha male who was open about his love for heroine but yet insecure and guilty about his past lifestyle. I liked that heroine reassured him by comparing his self-blame with her own past struggles with self-blame and guilt & shame. It seemed like she'd done some healing and maturing since the previous book(s). However, I wasn't that moved by it. Maybe it's because of the lack of emotional pull of the writing. Maybe it's due to my newness to these characters and their stories. Maybe I had to have read the other books to really get pulled in emotionally. Whatever the reason, this book left me indifferent, except for the angst from Hero before his secret was revealed. And uninterested in reading the following book(s) in this series. I may still read Being Me (Inside Out # 2) at some point though just to see if I may be wrong on my guesses from this novella.
I minimally recommend this book.