Published by Harlequin KISS on 22 October 2013
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Shh…it's a secret!
Special ops expert Trig Sinclair is a man's man, and that means he knows the cardinal rule of the bro code—no matter how dynamite Lena West is, as his best friend's younger sister, she's strictly off-limits!
But when a secret mission to Istanbul sees Lena and Trig pretending to be married (and sharing a bed!), he finds himself in a whole new world of sweet torture…. But if Trig thinks playing the honor-bound hero is tough, it's got nothing on how Lena feels when she discovers what her "groom" is really hiding….
*I received a free ARC of What the Bride didn’t Know from Harlequin KISS via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
What the Bride didn’t Know is a sweet and action-filled contemporary romance novel. There is the friends-to-lovers part that I love so much, and Lena, the heroine, also loses her memory for a while, making assumptions that takes both her and Trig towards some fun situations.
After Lena was shot, her whole life changed, and she is not happy about not being able to do all the things she used to do. She is bitter and very demanding of her friends and family, but she is also extremely hard on herself. At the very start of What the Bride didn’t Know, the readers realize that as teenagers, Trig and Lena already had feelings for each other, but neither of them were ready to act on those feelings. Afraid of losing their best friend, of making things awkward as Trig and Jordan – Lena’s older brother – are also best friends. These are feelings that are very easy to identify with, and I think that is partly why I love friends-to-lovers romances so much!
Jordan left for Turkey shortly after Lena was shot during a mission, he is now an agent gone rogue, the only thing on his mind is figuring out who sold them out and made it possible for someone to shoot at her in the first place. What the Bride didn’t know is filled with a quiet kind of action, where a lot of things are set up in advance, and then Lena and Trig are meeting people, and searching for Jordan at the same time. The first night in Istanbul, Trig comes clean with Lena about his feelings for her – that he loves her and wants to start a different kind of relationship with her. She can’t get over her scars, and feeling broken both physically and psychologically. When Lena is robbed the day after, her concussion makes her lose her memory, the only thing she is sure of is that she is in Turkey with her new husband, Trig, on their honeymoon.
All Trig wants is to play along with Lena, but he also knows that one day, she will get her memory back, so he better be careful not to touch her at all. What the Bride didn’t Know is that she really was never a bride at all, but it does show Trig that Lena has always had romantic feelings about him as well. The hilarious situations that ensue are very well done. I also love the descriptions of the city of Istanbul, and the other city they went to in their search for Jordan. As the time passes, Trig is having a very hard (sorry for the pun!) time keeping his body away from Lena, though, even if he knows this can only end in disaster if he does what his heart wants.
I really got to know Lena and Trig during What the Bride didn’t Know, and it was great to see two characters who seemed so strong on the outside have so many insecurities as well. It made them seem so authentic and human. The writing took me to Turkey along with Lena and Trig, I could hear the noises in the bazar, smell the food, and see all the people, the colors and the landscape. The character development was well done, too, especially Lena changed and grew a lot during the time she had her memory loss, and that helped her continue to make new decisions for her life once her memory came back.
If you are looking for a contemporary romance that also has some action and mystery, What the Bride didn’t Know is the book for you. It is a quick read, with likable characters and both the plot and the story hold up beautifully.
“So you don’t plan to sling me over your shoulder and forcibly remove me from the boarding area?” “Too showy,” said Trig, pulling out his mobile phone and tapping the screen.
Well, hell. “When did you grow up?” “Twenty-second of April, twenty eleven.” The day she’d been shot.
And then there was the matter of her not so minor physical injuries. A body as beautiful as Trig’s deserved a beautiful body beneath it, not one like hers, all scarred and barely working.
She used to be able to read him just by looking at him. These days she’d have better luck reading Farsi.
If there was ever a place for a scarred and insecure woman to secure a man, this was it, decided Lena as the staff left and she started exploring her surroundings in earnest.