Buried Secrets by Selena Kitt Release Date: October 11, 2018* Publisher: Exessia Publishing Standalone Number of Pages: 250 Kindle Edition Source: ARC from author Contemporary Romance/Mystery M/F Rating: NC-17 Read 10/3/18 to 10/5/19
This was quite a mixed bag for me. The only other story I’ve read by this author that was novel length was Step Beast, which I really liked. She has a lot of short stories and novellas out there, too. But nothing that’s meant to be a “meaty” story. And while the chemistry between Dusty and Shane is amazing, the story itself was really disjointed and dated.
I’ll start with the Dusty/Shane dynamic. Their connection and the feelings they inspired in me, as the reader, are what kept me going in this book. Dusty thought she hated Shane and Shane believed Dusty hated him. Truly, they both had feelings and had kept them buried because of Dusty’s twin (Shane’s best friend) Nick. He didn’t like the idea of the two of them together so kept the animosity alive. After Nick is gone, it’s only a matter of time before they are drawn together. They’re like moths to a flame. Even though they both think they’ll get hurt, they just have a connection they cannot deny. The author does a beautiful job with this relationship and conveying the chemistry this couple has with one another.
One of the first things I noticed about this story is that it feels dated. I remembered seeing that it was a re-issue of a book Selena Kitt had written under a pen name. Turns out, said book was published about 8 years ago. There are a lot of pop culture references that really make that obvious. But there was something else that makes it feel that way and I can’t quite put my finger on what that is. The problem is, on top of feeling dated, the story is also disjointed. The flow isn’t great and the timing of things doesn’t quite measure up. Dusty’s ex-boyfriend wouldn’t already be in Afghanistan if they just graduated a few months earlier. Sometimes it seems like Nick’s friends hung out with Dusty a lot, other times it seems like he never let her around them. Dusty’s mom passed away a mere 4 years earlier, yet she references her dad and stepmom as her parents and makes it seem as though her mom died when she was more of a child.
There’s certainly a story here. A lot of it can be guessed, but I often say the fun part of reading a mystery or suspense novel is the journey. If the author can make me enjoy the journey even if I somewhat figure out the “reveal”, that’s a good thing. While I enjoyed the relationship between Shane and Dusty, I don’t know that I can truthfully say I enjoyed the whole trip. It seems to me the author and her editor should do their own re-read of this story and make some tweaks to ensure the story flows more naturally and just overall makes more sense for the times.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the author. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**