A matter of secrets…
Undercover cop Logan “Kash” Ryan can’t afford a distraction like his new neighbor Rachel Masters, even if she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. To catch a serial killer, he needs to stay focused, yet all he can think about is the feisty, long-legged coed whose guarded nature intrigues him
A matter of lies…
Deceived and hurt before, Rachel would rather be a single, crazy cat lady than trust another guy, especially a gorgeous, tattooed bad boy with a Harley, like Kash. But when his liquid-steel eyes meet hers, it takes all of Rachel’s will-power to stop herself from exploring his hot body with her own.
A matter of love…
As much as they try to keep it platonic, the friction between them sparks an irresistible heat that soon consumes them. Can Kash keep Rachel’s heart and her life safe even as he risks his own? Will she be able to forgive his lies … or will she run when she discovers the dangerous truth?
This book may contain explicit intimate scenes, so if you are not 18+ then I probably wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers.
Since finishing ‘Taking Chances’ – also by Molly McAdams – several weeks ago left me highly curious about her other books, especially her newest one ‘I See You’, but I opted for ‘Forgiving Lies’ instead. It was a spur of the moment decision and I am happy I went with this one. I really enjoy Molly’s writing and her characters, plus the bits of humor and witty dialog she creates between the hero and heroine is great too.
The roar of the motorcycle stopped, and the rider whipped off his sunglasses. “Are you trying to get your door taken off?” My heart had stopped the minute I’d looked into his piercing gray eyes, but anger quickly took over everything. “Do you always swing into parking spaces when someone is opening their door?” I rubbed my leg once more and stumbled awkwardly out of my car. I realized he hadn’t answered me, and after shutting my door and locking the car, I turned to face him, a frown tugging at my lips when I saw him smirking. “I’m fine, if you’re wondering.” He sat up straight on his Harley and took a deep breath in. “I’m sorry I made you hurt yourself. I’m Kash, by the way.” “Cash . . . like money? Or Johnny?” “Um, I guess we can go with Johnny, but with a K.” “Kash with a K. Got it. That’s a, uh . . . very interesting name. Fits the image, I guess.” His head jerked back. “I’m sorry, what?” I took a few steps toward the apartments before turning to look at him, my hand waving over his frame, which was now hunched back over his bike. I wondered who he was here to see. “You know, the whole ‘bad boy’ thing you’ve got going on there. Tattoos, lip ring, Harley. Makes sense you’d have a nickname and try to make it, I don’t know, awesome or something by having it start with a K. Have a nice day; try not to almost take any more car doors off, Kash with a K.”
“Do you want another?” Kash asked with a lazy smile that I wasn’t sure if I hated or loved yet. “No, I drove. One’s enough.” “I’ll drive us back if you want.” We were in a small booth, and Candice had made it a point to sit with Mason, which put Kash and me in a position to get all up close and personal whether we wanted to or not. And now he was leaning in and the smell of his musky cologne was calling my name. “You look like you need more than one.” His cologne had officially stopped talking to me. I sat back so I was smashed against the wall and raised an eyebrow at him. “Just like I look sick? You really are quite the charmer, aren’t you?” He didn’t miss a beat. “And you really know how to turn shit around so I look like an asshole, don’t you?” I huffed a laugh. “Just saying . . . girls don’t like to hear they look bad. I’m almost waiting for you to tell me I look tired next.” Kash’s eyes roamed my face. “Well, I wasn’t planning on mentioning it . . .” “Wow.” My jaw dropped and I blinked rapidly. “I don’t need to do a thing. You make yourself look like an asshole all on your own.” He laughed loudly and leaned in closer than he’d been before. “I don’t know what happened in the car earlier, but you looked like you’d seen a ghost. And right now, you’re putting off an uncomfortable vibe that I’m sure half the restaurant can feel. You know you look beautiful, but that doesn’t hide the underlying stress that is rolling off you.” Before I could say anything, he continued. “So that makes me assume you’ve had a really bad day, which is why I offered to drive us all home so you could have another drink or two. If you honestly think what I’ve said means you look bad, then that’s your own problem you’ll have to deal with. And as long as you’re giving some attitude, be prepared to get some in return.”
I really, really, REALLY loved Kash. He was or at least in my opinion a great male character. He was perfect for Rachel and she for him. He was pretty smitten from the start. He never planned to meet nor less fall for anyone while going undercover, but Rachel’s sassy and snarky nature has a pull on him. To some that doesn’t know her, she may come across as ‘bitchy’, but Kash realizes that is her putting up a wall or shield to protect herself.
“So tell me honestly.” I glanced over at Rachel, who was lying down beside me, and raised an eyebrow. “Can you feel it, Kash?” Her eyes widened and she slapped down on the mattress. “Can you feel the difference this mattress makes?” The saleswoman kept rambling on about the statistics of this bed and I tried not to laugh as Rachel acted as if what she was saying was from the Bible. “Isn’t this one just great?” The woman leaned over the bed to look at us. Her drawl was so thick that her great sounded more like gright. “Feels just like a cloud, you were so right!” Rachel smiled sweetly at her. “Oh, I knew y’all would just love this one! But c’mon over to the other side of the store, I have a few more to show you. And they just blow this one right out of the water,” she said, and walked away to the next set of mattresses. Rachel swung her legs over to the side and looked back at me, that same sweet smile plastered on her face. “It feels exactly like the last six except it’s an extra two thousand dollars. So that just makes it so much better!” She scrunched up her nose on the last few words and smacked her hand down on the mattress again. I rolled off the mattress and pulled her with me as I followed the saleswoman. “You look like a Miss America contestant on shrooms,” I whispered to Rachel, and she snorted. She began waving at no one in particular like she was in a pageant, and her smile widened. […] “That’s it,” Rachel whispered, a horrified look on her beautiful face. “This is where I die. In a furniture store the size of freakin’ Costco!” She shuffled off after the saleswoman and I quickly caught up to her side. When I got there, her psychotic-Barbie look was back. “Did you know the leather couches we’re about to look at have a warranty for ten years? No cracks!” “Oh, well in that case, I have to buy these. Right?” “Of course.” She got oddly silent as we followed along and out of nowhere started dancing all crazy and lip-syncing to the song playing throughout the store. I stopped, my eyes going wide as I watched her. As soon as the chorus ended she stopped, and just in time, since our saleswoman had turned to see why we weren’t with her. “Y’all coming?” “Yes, ma’am!” Rachel answered since I was still looking at her with my jaw dropped. Her serene expression began cracking and she bit down on her bottom lip to keep from laughing. Glancing over at me, she gave me a soft nudge and winked before walking over to the next living room set, leaving me staring after her before I burst out laughing. Damn, I’m pretty sure I just fell in love with Rachel Masters.
“And you really have an issue with where I’m from, don’t you?” “I don’t like liars.” “So now I’m lying? Why is it so hard to believe I’m from East Texas? Maybe I just don’t want you to know which town because I like to keep my life private.” “Maybe because you don’t sound like you’re from Texas.” She shrugged, but her stare was still full of a challenge. “Like, at all. Neither does Mason.” “So, you’re saying . . .” I rolled off the couch and took the few steps toward her. If she wanted me to sound like I was from Texas, then I was about to sound like I was from motherfucking Texas. “. . . if I had a drawl, you’d believe me?” Her breath hitched when I leaned over her body and put my hands on the couch on either side of her head. Our faces were just inches apart and I swear I almost groaned when she quickly licked her lips. Leaning in so my lips brushed her ear, I spoke soft and low. And yeah, with a fucking drawl. “Just say the word, darlin’. I’ll talk however you want me to.” Rachel shivered beneath me and I’m almost positive I stopped breathing for a few seconds. Her cheek brushed against mine as she turned into me, and I moved so our lips were centimeters apart. Her blue eyes were hooded as they searched mine, and I took the rapid rise and fall of her chest as a sign that she wanted this just as much as I did. My nose brushed hers and as I leaned closer to press my lips to hers, the door burst open and Rachel’s hands shot out to push against my chest. “Oh, well if I wasn’t gone long enough, I can come back.” Mason laughed loudly and Rachel slipped out from under my arm and took off for the door. Without a glance at either of us, she rushed out and over to her own apartment. “Jesus, Kash. You kiss that bad?”
Rachel has been through a lot, losing her parents in a tragic unexpected accident when she was 17-18, then plus being raped by someone whom she thought she knew, whom she had a crush on since she was a young girl. Although her parents death happened 4 years ago, Kash is there for her when she and Mason suspect that she’s been raped. He was very supportive and sweet when she needed a shoulder to lean on.
Relaxing into his embrace and the pillows, I tried to go over every second that I’d just shared with Kash and attempted to push thoughts of Blake away. After a few minutes of my internal battling, Kash began humming “Fall into Me” by Brantley Gilbert and I felt my body fully relax into him. I hadn’t even realized I’d tensed up again. His lips brushed across my cheek and he broke off humming to whisper in my ear, “Sleep, Rach. I’ll keep you safe.” When he continued, he wasn’t humming anymore; he was whispering the words, and my heart swelled. Sleep came quickly in Kash’s arms as he softly sang to me. If I hadn’t been sure before, I was now. I wanted to spend forever with this man.
“Who do you think he was, Kash? Who the fuck do you think he is to me?” “Other than Candice’s cousin, I don’t know! I want you to explain what I saw.” He reached around me and tried to turn off the shower but I smacked his arm back. “No! I need to get clean, please!” “You can take a shower after we’ve talked this out.” “Think about it!” I shrieked, and whirled on him. “Did I look like I was enjoying seeing him? I couldn’t even look at him. Think about when Candice said I was ‘dating’ him. Think. About. It.” Steam was filling the tiny bathroom and again, I tried to go into the shower. I just needed to wash him away. “Please, let me get clean,” I cried. “Clean,” he whispered like that word had finally sunk in, and sucked in a quick gasp. “Oh my God, Rach—” “I hate him, Kash. I hate him with everything in me. If I never see or hear from him again, it will be too soon! He tried to ruin me. And today—he saw us kiss. He started texting me. He said I forgot who I belonged to.” Kash’s hand dropped from my arm and I cried in relief when my body hit the stinging water. I grabbed a loofah and poured shower gel on it before hastily scrubbing at my body. I was grabbing for more shower gel when Kash caught my wrist. I looked up at him and saw his horrified expression. “Baby, please—don’t . . . don’t tell me he was right there and I did nothing.” My jaw trembled and I blinked back the tears that began to cloud my vision. Kash’s face drained of color and his shoulders slumped. “Son of a bitch. You said he worked at UT, I thought—I thought he was a professor. I was expecting some old, sick bastard, not . . . that.” I shook my head quickly and began scrubbing myself again. “He’s a personal trainer there. He’s only twenty-six.” His body swayed before going rigid, his eyes wide. “And he’s Candice’s cousin? Her goddamn cousin raped you?!” Sobs filled the bathroom and I continued to scrub vigorously. “That’s why she didn’t believe me,” I explained when I could take a deep enough breath in. “She was so mad, said I was just accusing him because I didn’t want to date him.” “What the fuck? She—how could she—” “He’s her family. She loves him, I get it.” “There’s nothing to get. That shouldn’t make a difference. Rachel, I’m so sorry. I’m . . . I’m sorry.” He grabbed the loofah out of my hand and tossed it in the tub. Cupping his hands to catch the water, he tried to help wash the suds off me and turned the water off when I was soap free. “You don’t need to get clean, baby. You aren’t dirty. You’re okay.” He wrapped a large towel around my body and pulled me close as I trembled. “You’re okay. I’m so sorry I didn’t realize, I’m sorry I was upset with you.” I face-planted into his chest and let him lead me into my bedroom. Letting me go for a moment, he flipped off the lights, quickly undressed until he was only in his boxer-briefs, and walked back up to me. Grabbing the comforter off the bed, he had me let go of the wet towel and let it fall to the floor before wrapping me up in the comforter. I climbed onto the bed after him, and he got under the sheet and pulled me close to him, his arms tightening around my shaking body. “I’ve got you,” he whispered against the top of my head. “You’re safe.”
Aside from his sweet and protective side towards Rachel, he is also very playful with her. One of my favorite scenes that displays this side of him is the ‘nerf dart gun’ scene. It was hilarious and cute.
Cracking one eye open, I saw Kash sitting on the edge of my bed just staring at me with an amused expression. “Can I help you?” I mumbled against the pillow. “I’m hungry and want pancakes.” “You want . . . What are you, five?! Make your own. I even bought the easy-make pancakes last weekend. All you have to do is add water.” I rolled over and groaned. “Seven thirty? Kash, we didn’t get back from work until after one. You have got to stop waking me up so early. And how are you even in here?” He looked like he was fighting a smile and his eyes kept flashing up above mine. “Candice let me in.” Trying to act like I didn’t notice where his eyes kept going, and like I wasn’t flipping out because I was sure my hair looked like a hot mess, I slowly brought my arm up to brush back the hair from my face when my hand hit something that tugged at my forehead. “What the hell?” I tried to look straight up and even leaned my head back to try to follow whatever was at the very top of my forehead. I saw a blue tip and grabbed at it before yanking it off and holding it in front of my eyes. “A Nerf dart?!” Kash shamelessly pulled up a Nerf gun and waved it at his side. His eyes slid back up to my forehead and a hard laugh burst from his chest. Rolling back, he fell off the bed and landed with a dull thump on the floor. “What?” I snapped, and scrambled out of bed. As I made my way to the bathroom, I was hit once in the butt and once on my calf by more darts. “You’re such a child, Kash!” Flipping on the light, I blinked against the brightness before focusing on the mirror. A loud gasp filled the small room. “Logan Kash Hendricks! What did you do?” He was still cracking up as he got to his feet and came to stand behind me. “I just had to make sure it was on there real good. So I tested it a few times . . . you’re a really heavy sleeper, by the way.” “There is a hickey on my forehead!” His body was shaking from the laughter he was trying to keep in now. “It’s not funny! This better be gone by the time we go to work tonight.” “Don’t be mad, Sour Patch.” He planted his chin at the top of my head and brushed at my bangs. “You have those, they’ll cover it. Can we have pancakes now?” My eyes went wide and my jaw dropped as I continued to stare at him in the mirror. “No! Go make them yourself.” He frowned and brought the toy gun up in front of us. “I’ll let you shoot me.” I chewed on my bottom lip for a moment. Pancakes sounded really good right now. With a heavy sigh, I held my hand out. “Give me the gun.” As soon as it was in my hand, I went around collecting the three darts and put them back in with the other three still in there before aiming it right at his forehead. Kash smiled, closed his eyes, and took all six darts like a champ. When I was done he had little red marks all over his forehead, and though I knew his would be gone in a few minutes, I felt like he’d gotten it worse than I did. “Feel better?” “A little.” I handed the gun back to him and turned toward my door. “Let’s go make pancakes.” I’d barely hit the kitchen when I realized I didn’t hear him behind me. “And don’t even think about shooting me again, or you’ll be on your own for breakfast!”
Pulling a small remote out of his pocket, he pushed a button and soon the kitchen was filled with the beginning of a familiar song. My smile widened when I remembered the first time he sang it to me. “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to try to take that memory of your parents from you the night I sang their song.” He curled one hand around mine and put it against his chest, and the other he wrapped around my waist as he slowly started rocking us back and forth. My breath caught in my throat and I tried to choke out his name, but hardly any sound came out. Tears filled my eyes and I pressed my forehead against his chest next to our hands. “So I’m gonna make our own memory, baby.” I slowly nodded my head against his chest and a few tears fell onto his shirt when his husky voice began singing in my ear along with Brantley Gilbert. Flashes of my dad singing “I’ll Be” to my mom danced through my head for a few seconds before I let go and cherished this gift. Kash was taking my favorite memory of my parents and giving me our own version of it, and I somehow—impossibly—fell more in love with him as he sang “Fall into Me.” “I’ll be the love song, and I’ll love you right off your feet . . . Until you fall into me.” Even after the song was over and other songs had begun playing . . . Kash didn’t let me go, we didn’t speak, and we didn’t stop dancing. There was nothing to say; what he’d given me was beyond beautiful. It was a perfect way to end this day. And I knew if my dad were alive, Logan Hendricks would have his stamp of approval.
Another favorite of mine was his nickname for Rachel. He called her ‘Sourpatch’ – as in the sour patch kids candy – due to her personality, that she is sour then sweet. He was such a character, so much so that I implore you to read this book. I will guarantee that you will love him. I mean, he is tall, dark, handsome, with tattoos, lip piercing, plus on top of that he has an awesome personality, so what’s there not to love?
“I’m not laughing at you, Rach,” he mumbled huskily, and his gray eyes roamed my face. “I think it’s adorable that you help her. You’re really just a big softy, aren’t you?” Laughing when I growled at him, he continued to piss me off even more. “You’re like Sour Patch Kids candy.” “What the hell?” “Sour . . . then sweet.” “I will castrate you if you don’t let me go right now.” My eyes narrowed and he lost his fight as he grinned widely at me and kept me in his arms.
“Woman!” I SHOUTED, and shook Rachel’s bed roughly. “Wake up.” She shot straight up, her eyes wide in panic as she looked around her room before settling them on me. “God, I thought earthquakes had followed me to Texas.” Taking a calming breath, she brushed her wild hair back from her face and scowled at me. “What is wrong with you? And what time is it—seven? Really, Kash?” “Get up and get ready.” “No.” Pulling the covers up past her shoulders, she sank back into the mattress and shut her eyes. Hell. No. “This is your last warning, Rach. Get up.” A single snort was her only reply. “Such a pain in my ass,” I mumbled, and walked to the foot of the bed. Grabbing the bottom of the comforter, I ripped it off the bed and dropped it on the ground. “Oh my God, what if I had been naked?!” I raised an eyebrow and let my gaze run over her body. I wouldn’t have minded. Ah shit, now I was getting hard and the jersey material of these shorts wouldn’t hide that fact. Think about Mrs. Adams and her fake cats. Think about Mrs. Adams and her fake cats! “Moot point; you’re not. Now, get your ass out of bed.” “Give me at least another couple hours. I just went to sleep.” “Not my fault, and you’ve had more than enough chances to get up yourself.” “Kash, please,” she whined. “Don’t whine. It’s not attractive.” Without giving her any more time, I scooped her into my arms and threw her over my shoulder before heading toward her bathroom. A low oompf left her before she began bitching at me. “I am going to gut you, you freakin’ asshole! Seven in the damn morning, what the hell is wrong with you?! Put me down—ugh! Easy, this shit hurts. You have really bony shoulders, has anyone ever told you that?” She gasped when I turned the shower water on. “Put me down right now, Logan Hendricks, or I swear to all that is holy you will regret the day you moved in across from me and almost took my Jeep door off!” “No can do, my little Sour Patch.” Thank God I was still only in my workout shorts. Kicking off my running shoes, I stepped into the large tub and winced when she shrieked. “You evil bastard, let me go!” “You sure have a mouth on you when you wake up.” “I will murder you!” I couldn’t help but smile. She was just so damn cute. “And you’re a little dramatic.” “This water is freezing,” she whined, and I’d bet she was pouting just as bad as Candice usually did. At least her anger was dying down and her fists had stopped pounding on my back. “What did I ever do to you?” “I gave you every opportunity to get yourself ready. You were the one who wouldn’t get out of bed.” “I had barely gone to sleep!” “Rach,” I snorted, “it’s seven in the morning and you left my place at nine last night. Why had you just gone to sleep?” She didn’t answer and stopped wiggling against me. She just hung there, limp. “What—no more threats? No more whining?” Silence. “Woman, I swear to God, if you fell asleep on my damn shoulder . . .” I trailed off when I heard her mumble something. “What’d you say?” “I was afraid to fall back asleep,” she whispered, and my eyes clenched shut. “Ah, Rach.” I slid her awkwardly down my body until she was standing in front of me. I tried to block the water that was directed at her, but little droplets were bouncing off my bare shoulders and hitting her face. She blinked rapidly against them before dropping her head. “Why didn’t you call me or something?” She huffed and shook her head. “What for, Kash? To make you sit there with me in sweats longer? So you could act like what happened yesterday morning didn’t? I don’t need you to babysit me when I’m being ridiculous.” “That’s not ridiculous.”
I also enjoyed Mason as well. Rachel thinks of him as a teddy bear as he is built big, but he is a softy at heart. I love how he picked her up to give her bear hugs plus he always called her ‘sweetheart’.
The one standing closest to Candice, who reintroduced himself as Mason, had arms so massive, I swear the sleeves of his shirt were about to tear from how much they were stretching against the bulging muscles. To be honest, they were kind of frightening. He had tribal tattoos coming down both arms, stopping halfway down; a killer smile; and dominating eyes. But then he picked me up in a big bear hug, and all freaky thoughts of him melted away. Massive teddy bear.
My least two favorite characters of this book were Blake and Candice. Blake, well, he was very psychotic. He appeared to everyone else as a charming blonde hair Adonis, but underneath his facade, he hides his true colors – a dark and twisted obsession with Rachel which I think started when she was around 12 and him 17. Candice is Rachel’s friend from grade school – also she and Blake are cousins – but if you ask me, she wasn’t much of a friend, thinking Rachel a liar and not believing that she was raped. I would of told her to hit the road and not have nothing to do with her if I was Rachel. I mean there has to be better people in this world whom is more worthy of the deemed title ‘friend’ than what Candice was.
When I walked back out of the bathroom, Blake was lying in the bed, propped up against the headboard, his upper body bare. I wondered how many women wanted this. How many fantasized about his body against theirs and downtime before or after. I wanted to laugh at how seriously mistaken they all were about this Adonis. No. Not Adonis . . . not anymore. He was the damn devil. Lucifer had been a beautiful angel. And that’s exactly what Blake was. He was beautiful, but something had happened to him and he was now nothing but pure evil.
“I waited, Rachel. I waited until you were old enough. I wasted my time looking for girls who came even remotely close to looking like you.” His hand brushed through my hair as he studied it. “Long legs. Long, straight, near-black hair. Eyes the exact color of sapphires.” A heavy sigh left him and his forehead creased. “But none of them were you. None of them had your temper; none of them had your fire for life. So none of them deserved to have your beauty.” “Like Jenn.” I realized it with dread and watched his face twist with a look of disgust. “Everything I’ve done up until this point has been for you and our future together. I only wish,” he said against my lips, “that you would stop being so goddamn difficult.”
One thing that I feel like was blown a bit out of proportion was when Rachel found out that Kash and Mason was undercover cops. I know she doesn’t like people to lie to her, but HELLO, I mean he is undercover for a reason and of course he can’t tell her everything otherwise he would jeopardize his job. I just feel like she should of bit a bit more understanding and shouldn’t of made such a big fuss about it.
I placed my thumb over the name Hendricks and swallowed hard. I let the image of the girl I’d left in the kitchen be forefront in my mind and pictured the surname Ryan instead. My heart started racing as I imagined it all. Rachel in a white dress, her blue eyes and beautiful smile directed at me as we exchanged vows. Rachel with my parents and Mason’s family. Us at the beach in Florida. Rachel’s stomach round with my hands pressed softly against it. I let my focus come back to the bedroom of the villa and blew out a hard breath. It didn’t matter that I’d only known her a little over two months. I’d known that first day that she was a game changer, and I was sure now that I couldn’t live without her. I wanted to marry her; I wanted everything I’d just envisioned. And I wanted it now.
Since there is a cliffhanger at the end, I will definitely have to check out the second book to see Kash and Rachel get their happy ending – finally, I must say.