Synopsis: Successful restaurateur Lucien Black’s blue-green eyes and unattainable attitude drive women wild. But his abandonment issues and criminal past have left him emotionally closed off. When a familiar face shows up for a job interview at his nightclub, the ache he has tried to forget tears at his heart—it’s the girl who once healed him…and then abandoned him.
Darcy MacBride still remembers Lucien’s delicate touch when they were both wildly in love teenagers. His gorgeous eyes had soothed her hurt after she’d been dumped off at the orphanage where Lucien lived. Darcy felt his jagged edges fit perfectly into her own, and she’d planned to spend the rest of her life with him—until a mysterious man warned her away. Now, fourteen years later, she’s ready to endure the torture of Lucien’s indifference and having him as her boss…just to be near him. But when it seems that they might finally take up where they left off, a devastating secret buried in their past threatens to tear them apart again.
L.A. Fiore’s story of smoldering love recaptures the tormented romance of Beautifully Damaged.
Review: I was excited to read this book, as I did re-read Beautifully Damaged right before this, and I was reminded of Lucien's character. I'm not sure how I feel about this story - there were some definite good and bad points for me. Lucien and Darcy's story was actually really great. I loved how fierce they were for one another, as teenagers, which you can see in the many flashbacks that they both have throughout the story, but they were also victims to other people's evil and greed. Their story begins 14 years after they parted, as teens, when Lucien left the group home that they were both staying in. Darcy broke his heart when she did not join him, and they have been separated since. Lucien, as you might remember from the first book, has become quite successful in business, and he is also quite the charmer. The two of them have a really rocky reunion, as Lucien is still bitter towards Darcy, and she feels too much guilt to stand up for herself, at first.
Lucien begins to realize, however, that he can't ignore Darcy, and more than that, his feelings for her have not gone away. Darcy's story was truly heartbreaking, as she was basically a victim for much of her life and had such low self-esteem and self-worth for many years, so she fights for every bit that she currently has. They begin to open up to one another, which also begins to open up 14 or more years of secrets - some that don't even involve them. I think it's at this point that I have to mention that there are multiple points of view going on - including Trace and Ember from the first book. As I had just re-read the first one, I was actually fine with having their voices back. However, even with the first book, I sometimes felt like the story was stepping very close to that line of suspending reality. I occasionally watch reality crime tv shows, however, so I'm sure that anything can happen.
Basically, there is a lot going on that brings these four people together - both in the past and in the present. Trace and Ember, along with Ember's dad and uncle, continue to play amateur detectives, well, the uncle is actually legit, but they are always putting themselves into danger to find out some information. For Ember, I was getting really irritated with her towards the end because she should have known better. Also, I'm pretty sure Ember's best guy friend's name changed from book one to this one - from Trent to Kyle? Anyways, a lot of the plot points that occur end up having really convenient resolutions, which I guess is also sometimes a pet peeve of mine.
This is not to discourage people from reading it, however, as there are a lot of steamy moments between Lucien and Darcy, and there is a really amazing ending for them that brings their story full circle in a great way. I think that is all I am going to say regarding this second book. Definitely worth a read, but I would recommend re-reading the first book if it's been awhile - otherwise, you will spend a lot of time playing catch up.