Title: Behind Her Smile
Author: Olivia Luck
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: 6th January, 2016
David and Karolina Morgan have the perfect marriage. He runs a financial empire catering to Miami’s most influential and she is the darling socialite, adored by her husband and all those that meet her.
But underneath the lavish home, expensive car and exquisite jewelry lies a darkness threatening to consume Karolina. The once vivacious fashion design student has become a shadow of herself at the hands of her manipulative husband.
Then, with the flick of a power switch, everything changes. Karolina must learn to fight back when she discovers her entire existence is one big sham, with dire consequences.
What could we possibly have in common?” I mean to ask him this with disbelief, but Alec hears something else in my tone. Apparently, my reaction displeases him. I have no malice. I’m stunned to think he sees me this way.
Alec assesses me through cool eyes. “Poverty. Ambition. Fortitude. Is that enough for you?” More descriptions I cannot fathom. How could he possibly know I was raised in poverty? And those other things – it’s as if he read my life story. For some reason, he wants to talk about the person my own husband pretends never existed.
My entire body quivers. A torrent of raw, blistering pain slashes through me. All of a sudden, I want to cry.
I’m so lonely.
Being inundated with work in the absence of his brother and father, David is hardly around. And when he is at home, he is more irritable than I realized. Then there are all the society events – none of those women want to be my friend. More like my rivals to have the latest fashion and most expensive jewelry. I haven’t spoken to Dora in months. I feel like I’m losing control of my life.
Alec rises to his feet and fear rushes through me. Don’t go! I want to grab his hand and beg him to stay and tell me all the stories that made him in to the man standing before me.
“I … I don’t know what to say.”
Alec shoves his hands into his pockets. He displays his strong profile when he gazes off toward the rolling mansion on the opposite side of the Coral Gables waterway. “Don’t say anything. You’re right. I shouldn’t be here.”
This time, I find the nerve to act. Before he can stride off into parts unknown, I jump to my feet and grab his wrist. I feel it then. A connection between us that is strong enough to make me yank my hand back in stunned silence. Alec twists his neck to look down at me, his lips pressed together in a firm line.
Whatever I want to confess – whatever I want to ask dies on the tip of my tongue. Staring at the man I once thought to be the devil, I realize the truth. Alec is a mortal just as I am, flaws and all.
“I’m sorry.” I whisper the words to his throat. The words are to both of us.
“You owe me nothing, least of all an apology,” Alec scoffs. Then he stalks across the stone patio without a glance back. Limply, I collapse into the lounge chair unsure of what just happened.
Kindle Friends Forever: Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse Nuttall
*ARC received via NetGalley for an honest review. Many thanks.*
The storyline is solid and full of suspense. The characters are well-developed, the structural style an unusual one in the respect that the chapters are actually measured by timelines beginning in present day. When I started reading, I thought it was going to be told from the female protagonist’s point of view throughout so I was in for a surprise. In first person and present tense, most of Karolina’s story is narrated by her. She flips back and forth and slowly her feelings are revealed.
I must confess that I had trouble investing in Karolina. She had great ideas as to what she wanted in life only to vanish into thin air when she meets her husband to be in a whirlwind romance. I found her lacking strength of character; too naïve for her own good and her inspirations were crushed too easily. This young woman who’d had to fight to get where she got, let it all go on the insistence of a manipulating man, and this seemed to me to be wrong. She couldn’t see further than her nose. All the signs were there, so why she ignored them, I couldn’t fathom out and found disheartening. When it is too late and the damage had been done, I actually warmed to her. Saying that, I didn’t have to bite my tongue and say I told you so as her bestie went out of her way to convince her that David Morgan wasn’t all sunshine and roses.
David is a complex individual. His family don’t trust him for reasons to be divulged in the story. He’s sly, lies by omission, selfish, demanding and outright cruel. His utmost wish is to change his new wife into something she is not. He will discipline her in the acts of the upper crust etiquette by bullying her. How Karolina should behave around him and in his circles was obsessive and brought out the worst in me. So why he chose her when he could have married a woman of his same social status was one of the questions I asked. And yes, it was answered but well into the story.
I really liked the non-friendship between David and an associate he’d had dealings with; Alec Christos. Alec could see through David and was concerned for Karolina’s welfare. However, never could he have imagined the atrocities David pulled off. If I hated David with a passion, I adored Alec. The underlying attraction which he and Katrina have simmered and made me wonder if and when it would reach boiling point. Alec’s best trait was his patience. He wanted Karolina; she could only offer him her friendship. After various upsetting and nail-biting events, she grew stronger. Everything would be put into perspective and the story moved along much quicker.
All in all, I would have enjoyed this book more if the flow hadn’t been so erratic. There were a few repeated passages regarding Karolina’s feelings and unfortunately the editing was not up to scratch. Hopefully, the typos I came across are corrected before the release date. Reading Alec’s point of you view was a pleasure, but I really needed to have read his thoughts long before I did. The secondary characters saved the day for me. Loved them!
Olivia Luck lives in the middle of America with her loving husband and her obsession with writing. She wrote her first romance novel at age eight. When she’s not reading, editing, or writing, you can find her in the kitchen learning to cook. Olivia loves to travel and spend time with her family.
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