“Life is fucked up, it hurts, and it’s not always pretty, but damned if it can’t be beautiful too.”
*I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
I am a huge fan of Nyrae Dawn, in fact I probably start all my reviews of Nyrae’s books saying this but with each story I read, I fall more in love with Nyrae’s writing and Masquerade is no exception. I really wanted to read Maddox’s story. I wasn’t even half way through Façade when I decided I needed to be in Maddox’s head. He carried a lot of guilt for his messed up family life. The chain of events that resulted in a devastating consequence was all on Maddox’s shoulders. He didn’t share this burden or the way he felt with anyone. His only close family member Laney was desperate to be let in but Maddox believed he was protecting his sister by shutting her out. “I became good at keeping my mouth shut for my own fucking good and now I don’t know how to open it again.”
Maddox met his match in Bee. I loved her, Bee was feisty, she was strong and confident on the outside and said things as she seen them. If she didn’t like something or wanted something, there was no shying away Bee would take it. “I would put money on him riding a bike. He’s gorgeous and trouble, and from the scowl on his face, he’s probably angry at the world just like I’m confused by it. Too bad he’s an asshole.”
I really liked Bee’s back-story, it was so unique and in turn made her a really interesting character. Her situation and the theme throughout the book had me questioning the meaning of love, the people we love, why we love them and the cases where we are pre-programmed to love certain people. I was surprised I got more out of this story than what I was expecting and really that is due to the talent of the author.
Bee and Maddox were perfect for each other, they were so closed off from the world and they were both equally scared of letting someone in and actually having the responsibility of caring and loving someone. They both knew the pain of losing love and couldn’t risk it again. It was the tiny things that had me smiling, like wanting to just be in each other’s company or spending silly time drawing pictures of each other having a laugh. I was swept up in their growing romance and loved watching them slowly trust each other. Bee and Maddox would often say, ‘I don’t do this’ and the other would answer ‘I don’t either’ and I would be smug thinking ‘yeah you do, it’s happening!’
Maddox had demons to face himself and he also had to learn that he couldn’t shield Laney from everything. She was going to feel pain regardless, instead of making decisions for her he could only be there for her. It took meeting Bee for Maddox to realise that.
It was good to see the return of Chey, Colt, Laney and Adrian. They were a really loved up group and I was happy to see that. Every scene Adrian was in, he managed to steal the show. I didn’t cry until 82% when two strong men had a heart to heart and then I was a goner. “For the first time since I found out what Dad did, a tear slips out of my eye. Christ, we have all lost so fucking much. Parents, kids, dreams-way more than our fair share. We’ve hurt people we’ve loved and we’ve hurt ourselves and we’ve been lost. Through it all, we’re still fucking standing.”
I loved the incorporation of the tattoos in the story. Bee was a tattoo artist and it was something Maddox aspired to be. I loved the way in which it was used as an intimate act between Bee and Maddox with Bee letting her guard down and trusting Maddox enough to ink her skin. The whole set up was just so good! I also loved that it was Bee giving Maddox a nickname this time around. We have Tiny Dancer, Little Ghost and now Scratch, it was perfect for them and just another way to highlight the couple's dynamic.
What I love about Nyrae’s stories are the characters we have no choice but to fall in love with, I connected with each character in the Games Series and I was rooting for them every step of the way. I also love that we get emotionally powerful storylines with just the right amount of sexy times thrown in. It’s not added for the sake of it, every time deepens the connection between the two characters. I’m so glad Bee and Maddox’s story was told, it has been a while since I’ve read a great book I just didn’t want to put down. It is bitter sweet to say goodbye to these characters, I don’t know if there are any more planned for this series but I would be first in the queue to read them if there are!
If you can’t tell already, I strongly recommend Masquerade and the rest of the Games series. You need these powerful, emotional stories in your life!
“Careful, I might start thinking you’re nice.” He tilts his head down and the urge to reach up and kiss him teases me. “I could start thinking the same about you.”
“She makes me itch under my skin. It’s not annoying but it’s always there, and I don’t know what it means. It’s like I feel her, even when we’re not touching.”
“I want to give him something. Want him close to me in a way I’ve never wanted anyone close to me before. If I could, I’d cure that ache inside him.”
“It’s more personal being naked around Maddox than it’s ever been with anyone else. Like he sees more of me than I show.”
“The kiss is wild and passionate, and a mixture of so many emotions just like love is. It’s raw, all of us open for hurt when we chose to let love in. But open for beauty too.”