“We were two broken souls who had found each other in a world of shadows. We were held together by a connection of secrets, dark and fearful and reluctant to leave. Their depth was seductive and overwhelming, an endless ocean of black that threatened to cover the brilliance we kept reaching for with each other.”
With her art career flourishing and the mansion predators no longer a threat, Charlie is creating a new life. Her desires have changed, and she has a chance at a healthy, loving relationship with Cameron—if they can bury the memories and doubts that plague them.
Can they overcome the destruction of their clouded pasts, or will the revelation of more painful, shocking secrets pull them back into the shadows?
I received an ARC copy of this story for an honest review for Amber's Reading Room.
Love and forgiveness are easy things to say but harder things to embrace. In “Seductive Secrecy” author Marni Mann brings back her damaged heroine Charlie and creates a haunting and powerful story of discovering that you can’t just believe in deserving happiness, you have to truly want to be happy too.
After exposing the treachery of the Mansion and initiating the take-down of those responsible for the disappearance and death of countless girls just like her in “Seductive Shadows,” Charlie is slowly and carefully building a new life. Charlie spends her days creating art. Her nights are spent wrapped in the arms of beautiful, gifted, and equally damaged artist Cameron.
“A little pain was always involved in our intimacy; it heightened my passion. But I knew this was more than him just giving me pleasure. He was reminding me that my body was his. I responded, arching my back, giving him full access to whatever he wanted to pleasure… or hurt.”
Nursing their own individual personal demons, Charlie and Cameron are forced to navigate unfamiliar roads in solidifying their relationship. Jealousy rears its ugly head and the looming threat of reprisal from the fall of the Mansion hangs heavy. Unexpectedly the greatest obstacle facing the fragile couple comes from the only other person Cameron loves, his brother Ryder. Ryder has a devastating connection to Charlie that may destroy not only the couple but also what little happiness each has ever known.
Gripping and emotional, this is one of those books I had to take a step back from after reading. A recurring theme in this book is that darkness is necessary to truly appreciate light; that you can’t value heaven unless you’ve known hell and Mann delivers some pitch black dark and vivid hell for her characters. “Seductive Secrecy” seamlessly moves from startling hot steaminess to heartbreaking angst to soulful intimacy and back again. This book hurt my heart and made me happy at the same time. I was thankful that for each hurt Charlie faced she developed the strength to grow and learn from it.
“All that mattered was that I wouldn’t give up on him. I didn’t want him to be the reason I cried, or a source of my pain. But the fact that I’d shed tears over this man told me everything I needed to know – and finally, I knew it. I loved him.”
There are so many lines from this book that are beautiful and vivid. I started my review with 20 quotes that I pulled while reading. One of my favorites:
“We were held together by a connection of secrets, dark and fearful and reluctant to leave. They recoiled whenever light reached them. Their depth was seductive and overwhelming, an endless ocean of black that threatened to cover the brilliance we kept reaching for with each other.”
“Seductive Secrecy” has solidified me as a long-term fan of Mann. The connection between Charlie and Cameron felt tangible throughout the entire story and their hard fought love gets a worthy resolution.
“Seductive Secrecy” is a sequel and should not be read as a stand-alone. Please do yourself a favor and if you haven’t already read “Seductive Shadows,” do so before jumping into “Seductive Secrecy.” Charlie’s journey in both novels is inspiring and it will make you happy you invested in both books.