Seductive Secrecy, book two in the Shadows series was just as riveting, if not more-so, than the first in the series, Seductive Shadows. Mann was able to bring a nearly perfect conclusion to this dark and sensual journey of self-discovery, forgiveness and love.
Seductive Secrecy begins where book one left off, six months after the take down of the infamous mansion. Where Mann was extremely detailed in setting the scene in book one… she, surprisingly, didn’t spend much time on the specific details of the take down itself, choosing instead to reveal just enough about the mansion so that we know what happened and to whom but not in such detail that it becomes irksome. She solely focuses on the main characters, Charlie and Cameron as well as a few pivotal supporting characters who play a major part in the unfolding of their story.
With the Mansion behind them, Charlie and Cameron are trying to gain some semblance of normalcy in their lives. Charlie’s career has taken off and her paintings are in high demand. She and Cameron are working at building a relationship and putting the shadows to rest. With her days spent doing the the thing she loves most…. painting and her nights spent blanketed in Cameron’s arms, legs, mouth..umm you get the picture… she can finally see her Dawn just over the horizon but will the darkness that has plagued her life, step aside to finally reveal the light?
I absolutely loved this book. Mann has managed to weave an emotionally gripping tale chock full of sensuality, angst, and unforeseen twists and turns that had me on the edge of my seat. As was the case in the first of the Shadows series, this book was written beautifully. The author has such a way with words, using such vivid details and imagery that I could actually visualize each and every painting, setting, article of clothing and person Mann described… which, my dears, is no small feat. The imagery Mann is able to create with just words is amazing and allows the reader to feel as if they are right in the midst of everything that is happening along with the characters. You are able to feel each and every emotion… the angst, the pain, the sensuality as the characters are experiencing them and that is something that I really enjoyed with this book.
Charlie, the somewhat tortured soul is learning to put the darkness behind her and for the most part she is successful. She still has her moments when things trigger a memory and the Mansion comes to mind but with the help of Cameron, those times are becoming less and less. It’s amazing to see the growth that Charlie has made between the two novels. Although a bit damaged and scarred, I never quite viewed her as the weak and needy heroine we see so often in stories that include abuse. Sure she was damaged and haunted by dark memories of her mother and the guilt of losing Emma but she never let the darkness fully consume her. In Seductive Secrecy, Charlie still seeks solace in her artwork and her sexuality but now its not so much to escape the darkness as it is for love. She truly loves painting and she is coming to learn that she truly loves Cameron as well.
It was great to see Charlie come into her own learning to love and trust again and realizing that she, too, is worthy of the same but it was Cameron who surprised me the most. Granted, we only had a brief introduction to him in book one but he didn’t strike me as a the type who was sexually insatiable (a “freak” if you will and I mean that in such a GOOD way lol). He had such an oral fetish that all of the licking he did had me clenching my knees together. It’s as if he preferred that to penetration and all I want to know is where can I find a Cameron of my own haha. Wow… I absolutely fell in love with him. His honesty and openness was refreshing and the care and concern and love he lavished on Charlie was nothing short of swoon worthy. He had his male moments when he acted like, well, a typical man.. but he came to his senses eventually. Despite being haunted by the shadows of his own sordid past, he was able to push that to the side (for the most part) in order to help Charlie deal with her dark moments and I absolutely loved that about him.
I liked Ryder as well and had to go back to the first book because I didn’t remember any mention of “Thunder” in book one and thought maybe I had missed something. I initially thought that maybe he was Jay but I used the search feature on my kindle and nope…there was absolutely no mention of a “Thunder” in book one but that’s neither here nor there. I really liked Ryder and felt the connection between he and Charlie immediately. While I loved the relationship between Charlie and Cameron, I was secretly hoping that they would decide to go the ménage route and she would end up with both brothers. *eyebrow waggle* Just imagine the sexual fireworks that were bound to explode if she were to have both Ryder and Cameron at her beck and call? I know Cameron would never have let that happen but hey, a girl can dream can’t she? Don’t tell me I’m the only one who had that thought? lol
When Victoria reappeared, and I knew she would when I read that she was the only one who didn’t get caught, I was so tempted to skip to the end to see what would happen. Yes, I was that anxious, that impatient, that caught up in the story that I just had to know what would happen right then and there when I wasn’t even half-way through the book yet. I did do a search for Victoria but managed to keep my anticipation in check so as not to spoil it for myself. It took everything within me Not to sneak a peak. I mean I had to dig down deep to garner the strength to not read that ending. lol but anyway, while Victoria didn’t cause as much drama as I anticipated ( in the sense that I expected to see her often throughout the entire book wreaking havoc on Charlie and her attempt at happiness)when she did finally show up…She Brought it! Evil Bitch lol
And Dallas, *googly-eyed stare*, I am so glad that he was a part of Charlie’s life. He is the bestie that we all should have. He didn’t let the fact that Charlie didn’t return his feelings, at least not in the way he wanted her to, cause him to distance himself from her. He accepted it for what it was and was able to seemingly transition to the role of what she needed most in her life…a friend. I’d really like to see him find love and happiness and Mann hinted that his life was moving in that direction…so glad.
Overall, Seductive Secrecy was a fitting end to the Shadow Series.( it is the end isn’t it?) Mann managed to tie up all the loose ends left by Seductive Shadows including what happened when Charlie visited Moonlight for a second time. I literally yelled out “YESSSSSS” when I came to that part because I really, really, wanted to know what was said at that reading. Honestly, I thought I’d be left hanging but Mann, who is very thorough in her writing said “Not on my watch, no loose ends here..Love it! The only thing that I didn’t like and the reason why I said “nearly perfect conclusion” at the beginning of this review has to do with Charlie’s father. You’ll have to read the book to see what I mean but other than that…Perfect! If you’re looking for a read that will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride, chock full of sexuality, sensuality, darkness, anticipation and a variety of twists and turns, you need to get Seductive Secrecy ASAP. If you haven’t yet read Seductive Shadows, then you most definitely will want to read that first before diving into this delicious read! Kudos to Ms. Mann!!!