While hunting down his target in Jamaica, Kael Bradford fell hard for a beautiful, unsuspecting tourist. He thought the only thing he needed to protect her from was him. Until the line between personal and professional blurred in a cloud of deadly danger.
Rain Howard thought she’d met the perfect guy. But after two romantic weeks in Jamaica, he disappeared. Two years of trying to forget him, and she’s finally found the courage to quit her job and open a beignets and coffee cafe. Then he appears out of the blue, wanting to pick up where they left off.
Kael never wanted to leave her, but it wasn’t safe for him to stay. He had to put space between them before the bad guys figured out there was someone he loved. Besides, if she discovered all his secrets…she wouldn’t want to be with him anyway. Now, the coast is clear. And he’s returned, finally, to reclaim what’s his.
Tell Me No Lies was actually a difficult book to rate because there were aspects of the story that were really great, but then there were parts that really didn’t work for me – to the point that they actually detracted from the book. As this is mainly a romantic suspense novel involving spies and assassins, I am going to try to stay as vague as I possibly can so as not to ruin the book for potential readers. In order to do this, I’m going to approach this different than my normal reviews, so bear with me.
Starting off with what really worked for me – Smith writes a killer romantic suspense storyline. Tell Me No Lies is chock full of action, suspense, mystery, lies, betrayal, and murder. The author does a great job of “offering” up plausible suspects. In fact, there were times that I felt it was too obvious, but even with what I thought I knew, I really didn’t know. For the most part, I liked that the book was told from both Rain and Kael’s points of view. There was a bit of a glitch with that as there were times it seemed that the author was trying too hard to keep things secret from the reader to the point that the characters didn’t think about the topic at a time they naturally would – this was a bit frustrating, not because the information was being kept from me, but more that it resulted in a character’s stream of consciousness being interrupted and giving it a stilted feel to his or her thoughts. I also found it strange that almost halfway through the book, we lose Rain’s point of view for a while in favor of Charlotte’s point of view. While there were some definite merits to getting part of the story from Charlotte, there is so much bitterness and jealousy from her character that I’m not sure what Smith was trying to accomplish by featuring so much of it. But as I said, the cloak and dagger, romantic suspense elements of the story were really well-written and had the author stuck to that, I would have rated book higher.
Unfortunately, there were just too many things that didn’t work for me. Two of the biggest issues I had were Rain’s character and the sex. As a woman with a master’s degree, I get that it’s easy for us to have times when we doubt ourselves, women seem to be hardwired to do it. But Rain’s self-doubt seemed rather extreme for a woman with an MBA and who everyone considered stunningly beautiful – both inside and out. Yet time and time again, she doubted who she was, what she was doing, her dreams, her feelings, everything. Despite how frustrated I got with Rain’s self-doubt, I really, really felt bad for her because there was practically no one in her life that she could count on, except for her sister. The woman should have cut most of the people in her life out of it, especially her mother and best friend. The sex was the other big detractor for me. Now I’m not one eschew sex in books. I love sex in books. My problem was there was WAY MORE to the sex than the spanking warning suggested and I just didn’t like the way it was presented. I have no problem with kink – seriously, check out my other reviews – but I felt like Kael’s kink was added merely to slap a BDSM label on the book. It didn’t add to the actual story and the scenes were far more hardcore than would be expected for someone of Rain’s experience, no matter what kind of reading she had done. For me, the BDSM aspect actually took away from the story. Yes, some of the scenes were hot and there was definite chemistry between Kael and Rain, but the more intense scenes did not ring true. And I just have to say that Kael’s failure to “solve” the issue regarding the letters made absolutely no sense considering his training; I might could swallow Rain not figuring it out, but Kael not sussing it out? – yeah, that was the only failed romantic suspense element in the book in my opinion.
To sum it up, despite the things that didn’t work for me, Tell Me No Lies is a really well-written romantic suspense novel. So I would definitely recommend it to romantic suspense readers who don’t mind a big helping of BDSM in the storyline. Truth be told, had I been expecting more than a bit of spanking, I might not have been so thrown off by it; but the “spanking, dirty secrets, dirtier desires” line in the warning didn’t come close to scratching the surface of what occurred between Kael and Rain sexually. Will I read the next book in this series? I have no idea; it will depend entirely upon who it’s about. Will I read more by this author? Yes. Smith’s writing was easy to read, kept me turning the pages, and even when I didn’t like the characters, she gave me plenty of reasons for it.