In Beneath This Mask (Beneath #1) by Meghan March, New Orleans seemed as good a place as any to disappear and start over for Charlie Stone. She might be running from a past that was out of her control, but she’s determined to live life on her own terms now. And so far she has a couple of jobs, one as a receptionist at a tattoo shop, one at a vintage clothing store. She has a small group of friends she can trust. So what if Charlie hasn’t found The One? But when a handsome guy with a devilish smile walks into the tattoo shop, she’s instantly interested. Until she hears that Simon Duchesne is in local politics with his eyes on bigger goals. That wouldn’t work with Charlie needing to fly under the radar. Although a casual fling might be worth her time. If Simon will agree to it.
“You have to know this means something to me.”
“I know,” I replied.
“Don’t break my heart, Charlie.”
…”Not without shattering my own.”
From the moment ex-Navy fighter pilot Simon sets his eyes on Charlie, he can’t think straight. She’s a little bit wild and whole lot sexy. But it’s the vulnerability and the truly compassionate woman he sees beneath the tattoos and attitude that speaks to him. Okay, so Charlie is not who his peers would expect for him, given his political endeavors. But Simon is more interested in being with a woman who will stand by his side, yet still challenge him instead of catering to him. His biggest hurdle with Charlie, though, will be to find out what she’s hiding. He’s sure he can help her if she would only let him in. Hopefully she’ll decide to do so instead of running away when things get too intense.
“When I see you, it all falls away. The expectations, the politics, everyone else’s plans for me. Everything. Nothing matters but soaking up every moment with you.”
A seemingly impulsive woman with a secret past. A Southern gentleman with a dirty mouth. Their combustible relationship propelled Beneath This Mask, leaving me breathless and flying through the pages of this passionate romance.
‘I’d never wanted anyone more, and I’d never deserved anyone less.’
I had so much fun reading the first book in Meghan March’s Beneath series. It was originally published in 2014 but after reading March’s newer work, I was ready to go back to some of her earlier romances I had missed–and she didn’t disappoint at all. This story had that sexy, erotic edge that she’s known for. And like all of March’s books I’ve read so far, the characters faced down their own personal demons, albeit very different issues here, but it was something that they both could understand and sympathize with each other over. Which seems to be the case with the couples March creates–and I love seeing couples help each other improve instead of tearing each other down–so this type of setup worked well for me.
Charlie and Simon were quite the pair. She was a tattooed up, free spirited woman who gave off a don’t-mess-with-me attitude but had some hidden depths. And he was a town councilman from a well-known, prestigious family; a former fighter pilot in the Navy who was hiding some issues stemming from his time in action. Simon and Charlie seemed like polar opposites. But there was a twist because of her past that made them more alike than Simon could fathom at first. And although Charlie made a few choices I didn’t care for and there were some lies of omission on her part, I did connect with her and felt like she grew as a person for sure by the end.
Simon was pretty rock solid as a hero. Pretty dreamy, too! He really was a Southern gentleman, but there was an edge to his personality that made him an alpha guy–in the best of ways. Simon was loyal and protective. He tried to do right by his family and by Charlie, which wasn’t easy to balance. He may have been a bit highhanded a time or two, but I thought he was just what Charlie needed in her life to show her that she was worthy of love and positive attention. And she was the type of strong, caring woman who would stand by Simon’s side.
Deliciously sexy but still packing an emotional punch, Beneath This Mask was a great start to the Beneath series. I can’t wait to snag the next few installments after the great intro we had to this interesting group of characters here.
Published September 11th 2017 (first published September 4th 2014) | Pub: Red Dress Press | Beneath #1
Former Navy fighter pilot. Son of a congressman. Successful businessman in my own right. With a résumé like mine, women have never been a challenge.
Until I met her.
This sexy, tatted-up bad girl wasn’t part of my plans, but that punch to my gut every time I see her tells me I have to know more.
She’s a mystery. An enigma. A challenge.
I’m going to figure her out — and then I’m going to make her mine.
We’ll find out what she’s hiding… beneath this mask.