{Tour Stop} Review & Excerpt: Masquerade by Nyrae Dawn ★★★★★

Masquerade by Nyrae Dawn
Genre: NA Contemporary
Series: Games #3
Publication Date: January 7th 2014
ISBN: 9781455576333
Page Count: 320
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Janice
Buy Link: AMAZON
Synopsis: A biker. A tattoo artist. A love to last a lifetime.

Maddox Cross has always had to be tough. When his father went to jail for murder, the teenager took care of his sister and mother. Now on his own and working security at a night club, Maddox wants to become a tattoo artist-a dream that comes closer to reality when he falls for the hottest, most tatted woman he's ever seen. She's wild and beautiful, and Maddox will do anything to be with her.

Bee Malone came to town to open up her new tattoo parlor, Masquerade. Since being kidnapped as a young girl, Bee has had trouble getting close to anyone. But when she meets Maddox, she sees that under his hard biker's body is the sensitive soul of an artist. What starts out as a sizzling one-night stand soon becomes so much more.

Bee wants Maddox to join her tattoo business, but letting him into her life means revealing all her most intimate secrets. And as the past begins to intertwine with her present, Bee fears their love may not be as permanent as their ink . . .

REVIEW


Truly Something Special

The Games series by Nyrae Dawn has quickly become one of my contemporary romance favorites. Each book has impressed the heck out of me, treating me to all the right feels and giving me characters with stories I truly care about. Masquerade was no exception. I'd say it is the best in the series so far, but they've all been so good, I can't put one above the other.

This time around, it's Maddox's turn to enter the spotlight. Fans of the series will remember him from book 2 (Facade) as Laney's broody and oh-so-riveting older brother. As we dive into Maddox's story, we learn that he's carrying around massive amounts of guilt tied to events that were revealed in the last book, and his way of dealing with it is to close himself off emotionally and keep everyone at arm's length - that is, until he meets a kindred spirit in the form of a gorgeous tattoo artist named Bee, who stops in one night at the club where he works security. The two engage in a no-strings-attached hook-up and then part ways, each assuming they will never see the other again. But of course, it doesn't work out that way - and thank goodness for that, because Bee and Maddox need each other far more than either of them realize.

Although Bee and Maddox were both damaged characters, Maddox felt more damaged to me. He lived his life, went through all the right day-to-day motions, but he wasn't fully alive, and it killed me because he had so much going on inside that never made its way to the surface. He was like an iceberg - what you see is only a fraction of what's really there. He wasn't cold or unfeeling at all. His problem was, he felt too much, and had tricked himself into believing he was somehow responsible for all the painful things in the past that, really, he had no control over. I hurt for him, I really did. When he finally started to thaw and take his first tentative steps in Bee's direction, I was so happy I nearly cried.

Bee was weighed down by a very different set of issues. She'd gone through an ordeal as a child that left her with one heck of an identity crisis and a million questions she couldn't answer, and, like Maddox, her way of coping was to keep the world - and love - at a distance. The thing about Bee, though, was that she was so cool and confident for so much of the book, I never really thought of her as broken - or perhaps I should say, not as broken as she could have been. That turned out to be a very good thing, because I'm not sure the story would have played out as well as it did if she'd been just another new adult heroine hauling a butt-load of baggage around. Bee needed to be strong and tough, and yet soft too, at just the right times - and she was. I absolutely loved her character.

Something else I loved? The appearances made by other characters from the series, particularly Adrian and Laney. As brother and sister, Maddox and Laney had a lot to work out and go through and I was thrilled that the author devoted page time to that. Adrian got his time, too, and a certain critical scene between him and Maddox was just plain amazeballs.

But the soul of this story was the romance, and this one was a thing of beauty. Hot and achingly sweet by turns, I think for me the most powerful, poignant moments were the silent ones. No words, not even any real action, just Bee and Maddox working together on a tattoo or simply sharing space, when they were caught up in their own heads and yet at the same time, so intensely aware of each other. I live for those kind of moments in books, and Masquerade gave me plenty of them. It was fabulous.

If you love new adult contemporary romances - if you love romance, period - then you must check out Nyrae Dawn's books. They are truly something special.

5 Stars ★★★★★
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

EXCERPT



What gives me an ache in my chest is the fact that she has what I want. I haven’t cared enough about anything to feel jealous in a long-ass time, but that’s exactly what comes to mind when I look at her.

“You coming to the party?” I ask her.

“I’m here to see you.”

She doesn’t give me a chance to reply as she pushes her way around me and inside. What I would give to kick her out of this room just because I can, but since I don’t really know if she’s giving me shit or if she came for the party, I hold back. It’s not like Trevor to let someone in here for no reason.

Right on her heels, I follow her until she rounds the corner and pulls to a stop once she can see inside. Not having enough time to go around her, my body lines right up against hers, Bee’s nice little ass tucked right against me. On reflex I reach out, my hand grabbing her slender waist to make sure she doesn’t stumble forward. Damn it if that doesn’t bring up all sorts of thoughts about how it felt to strip her naked and touch her everywhere.

“You have your hands on me.” There’s a sexy huskiness in her voice that tells me she’s turned on too. It should make me rip my hand away from her as fast as I can, but I’m so pissed at her about Masquerade that I can’t stop myself from being a dick.

“If I remember correctly, you liked the feel of my hands on you. You were very enthusiastic about how much you liked it.”

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