The Secret (North Woods University, #3). ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Secret by J.L. Beck

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Secrets… they can make or break you. 


I would know. I’m hiding the biggest secret of all. My scars are so much more than skin deep. They consume me, control me. 


Then I meet him, Clark Jefferson. Six foot two inches of greek god hotness, with a smile that’ll make your panties disappear. He wears a clear warning label: Heartbreaker, and if I was smart I would stay away from him. 


With my past, my secrets nothing could ever come of being with a man like him. Still I cannot ignore the feelings he stirs inside me. He frightens me and excites me all at once. 


He makes me want to break free of the suffocating fear that claims my heart. 


Our meeting isn’t fate though, he needs me as much as I need him, and so we strike a deal. 


He’ll be my fake boyfriend and I’ll help him get out of trouble with his dad. 


But secrets can’t remain secrets forever and as I grow closer to Clark my feelings for him grow too. Soon the line between fake and real blurs and when the past I’ve been running from finally catches up with me I’ll have to confess to Clark the truth or let go of a love that was only ever supposed to be fake. 

The Secret

New Adult Angsty Romance!

The first two books in this series are bully romance books and Amazon markets this one as a “friends to lovers” romance. However it really isn’t either of those. I generally don’t like the friends to lovers trope because I really like the first meeting between the Hero and the heroine. And we do get to see that in this story even though part of this story was introduced at the very end of the last book, “The Dare”. Clark is the best friend of Vance from that book and is the love ‘em and leave ‘em type, even more than Vance was before he met Eva.

This is the story of Clark and Emerson. As you can probably guess by those names, they both have rich fathers. They meet at a work event thrown by Emerson’s father. Emerson has terrible social anxiety and is trying her best to blend in with the shadows in the far corner of the room when a partially drunk and very bored Clark spots her and asks her if the wants to get out of there, *wink *wink.

Clark doesn’t notice that she hasn’t answered him (since girls never turn him down). So he takes her hand and walks her outside where she proceeds to have a panic attack. He finally notices and sobers up immediately, and holds her and talks her down while making her feel safe. And as soon as she does, she runs into the house like Cinderella without even giving him her name.

Clark, who has never been with a girl longer than it takes to throw a condom away, can’t stop thinking about this girl. Then a few weeks later his father with whom he has a strained relationship, tells him that one of his business associates has a daughter with some issues that will be starting school at his college in a few weeks and is moving in with them so Clark can show her around and help her meet people. But he is not to lay a hand on her.

It just happens to be Cinderella girl. Clark is drawn to her and Emerson feels safe with Clark from the start like she never has with anyone else. Clark wants to find out what happened in her past to make her so sad and anxious all the time because he feels he failed his mother who had similar issues and ended up committing suicide, but also because of his growing feelings for Em.

I really liked this story, it is always nice to see a reformed bad boy who used women for sex come to love and cherish one woman so much. Especially when he is so gentle with her and he so obviously is putting her needs in front of his own. He is giving up his gratification and focusing on what she needs emotionally. And the hand holding and keeping her close, pulling her in with his arm around her to protect her, just awesome.

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