~ About the Book ~
April Duncan was raised with three clear truths: the family name is absolute, ambition and success rule over every emotion, and love always comes with strings attached. Image was everything in her carefully crafted world… until the mirror cracked.
Sean Taylor was April’s best friend, the one man who taught her it was okay to let her guard down and to rely on someone. She trusted him. She loved him. Which made his deception the darkest kind of cruelty.
Now, nearly a year later, she’s ready to leave her failed engagement in the past and get back her life and her estranged family, even if it means dating a man solely for his connections. She’ll never again choose love over loyalty.
Sean has spent his entire life breaking barriers, facing challenges, and never giving up. Until one impossible choice destroyed his future and left him no option but to flee from the woman who annihilated his heart.
Now he’s back in Bentwood and determined to make her hear the truth and rebuild the trust he shattered. But April has become a mere shell of the woman who claimed his heart long ago.
Winning her back is more than just seizing a victory, because if he fails… the girl he’s loved for a lifetime will disappear forever.
The Truth Between Us is the second book in the Bentwood series. Each book can be read as a standalone, but it is recommended that you begin with book one to get the full experience among this tight group of family and friends.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: #1 Bentwood Series
Release date: 12 July 2018
~ Excerpt ~
“Is this a mistake?” Sean’s eyes flickered back to the eight-story condominium. He knew the exact window of their second-floor apartment. The shades were drawn, but he stared as if April were standing on the other side, staring right back. “She’s made no attempt to reconcile.”
“That doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to.” Andrew paused, the silence between them a chasm of conflict they both knew this decision would create. “We have a sickness in our family. A need to deny or detach or just cocoon ourselves until we choke on our isolation. It isn’t healthy. Not for my parents or for her.”
“Is that why you walked away?”
Andrew hadn’t spoken with his parents in over two years. The day he informed his dad that he wasn’t going into the family business after all. Instead he planned to remain a firefighter. And since Charles Duncan was not a man to be defied, he offered Andrew a choice—the fire station or the family. Andrew had chosen the former.
“No. I walked away because I refused to spend my life being a puppet to the Duncan dynasty.”
Sean’s neck tightened and he rolled it from side to side to keep from blowing steam at the wrong person. “And your sister?”
“You know the answer to that one.”
He pounded his hand against the steering wheel. “I despise your parents.”
“I know. I do too, sometimes.”
There was no more to say, because their feelings did nothing to change the fact that April would destroy herself for just an ounce of their tarnished view of love. And unlike Andrew, she’d chosen to be used as a pawn her entire life.
Well, until Sean stepped up and declared checkmate.
Now all the chess pieces were scattered and broken.
“Why don’t we meet Thursday at the fire station? We’ll go over the last of the logistics for brunch.”
Brunch. The impending confrontation. It would take a whole lot more than planning to ever get him ready.
“Yeah, okay. I’ll be there.” Sean hit end and tossed the phone to the side, the diamond once again catching the sunlight streaming across the dash. A reminder that tomorrow was far more meaningful than the events planned for next Sunday.
At six o’clock in the evening, exactly twenty-four hours away, they would have been husband and wife, promising to love each other in front of all their friends and family. Making a commitment he’d wanted to make since he was thirteen years old and awkwardly kissed her on her front porch.
The kiss was a first for both of them and a swift lesson in rejection for him. He’d known her protest and her heart were not in unison.
Words lie, a touch does not.
He’d spent the next nine years convincing her to trust him. Nine years playing the best friend. Nine years showing her that love wasn’t supposed to come with conditions.
No. Time hadn’t healed.
It’d only deepened the pain.
~ Review ~
I absolutely LOVE this series! Such a compelling group of characters, and stories that grab every one of your emotions and hold them in a vice-like grip from the first page to the last. I raved about the first book in the series, and I’m going to be doing the same with this one. In fact, I think I loved this one even more. Sean and April are both strong, dynamic, and incredibly authentic—so authentic I wondered how Tammy Gray was ever going convincingly crack April’s shell and get these two back together. But, by George, she does it, and gives you a fantastic read along the way.
I have to share some of the quotes from this book that define April:
“You’re still a pit bull wrapped in a silk blouse.”
“April was a walking tornado in four-inch heels. She’ click into a room, insult at least one person, and leave a lingering scent of Christian Louboutin in her wake.”
It’s all true! She’s one tough, acerbic cookie, and yet we get enough of a glimpse of her vulnerability to make her human and to have me cheering Sean on in his quest to save her from herself—even when I felt like shaking the girl!
And while we’re on the subject of Sean… *sigh* Chocolate-covered testosterone with a praline centre. He is absolutely what April needed—persistent, prepared to poke the bear, and offering unconditional love. It could have been so easy to make him too good to be true, but he has his faults and weaknesses, and that only made me love him all the more. Oops. Did I say ‘love’? Don’t tell April…
But what grabs me most about this series is the subtle way it scatters the seeds of the Gospel. Concepts like unconditional love, forgiveness, and seeking the best for others in spite of what it costs us personally underpin the whole story, but in a way that makes it completely accessible to readers who would be reluctant to pick up Christian fiction.
Only one thing remains to be said: When can I get my hands on Caroline and Beck’s story?!
I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ Previous Books in the Series ~
~ About the Author ~
Tammy L. Gray lives in the Dallas area with her family, and they love all things Texas, even the erratic weather patterns. She writes modern Christian romance with true-to-life characters and culturally-relevant plot lines. She believes hope and healing can be found through high quality fiction that inspires and provokes change.
When not chasing after her three amazing kids, Tammy can be spotted with her head in a book. Writing has given her a platform to combine her passion with her ministry.