More Than Lies
by NE Henderson
No one is perfect.
I wish I could scream it at them, but no one will listen to me. Instead, they choose to ignore me by making me into something I’m not. I try to make them happy, but no matter how hard I try it’s not good enough. I make good grades. Hell, I was top of my class senior year, but things happen. We make sacrifices for people important to us. My parents wouldn’t understand that. Instead, they say I could be better. I’m the good girl to everyone else, but to my parents I fall short. To most I have curves, to them I’m fat. I just want them to be happy with my imperfections. You know what? I’m tired of giving and getting nothing in return. Screw them.
The only one that I want to see me for who I really am…is him.
TARALYNN EVANS has always been the good girl, forced to befriend people she cares nothing about. She tries hard to be what them and everyone else expects her to be, but what’s the point when it’s never enough to gain their approval? She’s over lying to make others happy or self-sacrificing to spare their feelings. For once, she just wants to be herself. She wants to feel human, tired of being a puppet.
When tragedy strikes her in the worst way, she finds herself bargaining in distress, trying to find reason and rationality in what’s set before her, but will he give in when in most cases the good girl never gets the bad boy?
Ink, sex, lies, loyalty.
Those are the things that define me, and my life. I do me. Nothing else matters. I don’t need anyone’s approval, nor do I seek it. I’m comfortable with the man I am. The only thing that haunts my dreams are those sapphire eyes that remind me of midnight. I will shut it down every single time. I can’t have her. She deserves more than what I’m after. The problem is that sometimes life is a bitch. That curveball was nowhere in sight, but now that it’s been thrown…my life may never be the same.
SHAWN BRADEN has always been the bad boy. He’s always had the love and support of his parents no matter what he does. He knows he can have any girl he wants. Too bad he never wants them more than once. What he truly wants is the one thing he’s never admitting to, not even to himself. What happens when he starts seeing past the facade she’s put on for years and shows him the real girl that is hiding inside? Will he fall against his will, or will she become nothing more than every girl before?
"Why the fuck was that prick bringing you home?"
After Mason made it known yesterday morning that I'm sleeping with Jared, you'd think Shawn would know the answer to that question. He probably does. He just wants me to verbalize it. I'm not going to.
"Leave it, Shawn." I twist around and pin him with a stare. Next, I toss the tequila back, but this time my eyes widen. Ok, maybe my buzz wasn't so much gone like I originally thought.
Wow. That was stout.
"Enough that I should be in bed." What's with the twenty questions? More importantly why does he even care? From what I saw earlier tonight, or last night really, Shawn and Mason left with the brunette trash from Level. I don't have to guess what they left to go do and I certainly don't want to imagine it.
"So, let me get this straight. You, drunk, got onto the back of Cole's bike? Are you fucking crazy, Tara?" He doesn't wait for a reply. "Or do you have a death wish?"
"Neither, are you done now?" His palm smacks the side of the refrigerator before turning. Moments later, I hear the door to the half bathroom down the hall slam closed.
I turn back around, pour yet another glass and down it. I'm going to pay for this when I wake up and it's going to be so much worse than yesterday morning's hangover. Screw it. If I'm going to do it in the first place, might as well do it right.
"You know, it's only a matter of time before Holly has him back in her grasps. You don't stand a chance with Shawn; you never have." Cassie's catty bitch-ass voice assaults my ears. Sometimes she's worse than Amanda. I put up with Mandy’s shit because she is dating my best friend, but it'll be a cold day in hell before I deal with this bitch’s crap. Without giving it a bit of thought, I turn and leap forward. She needs a good butt kicking. I'm not a fighter. I know I can take her if I tried, but I don't actively seek out confrontations. My mother would flip her lid, so I do what's necessary to avoid that at all cost.
Before I reach her, a set of massive arms grab me by the waist, pulling me backwards and against his hard chest. "Get. Out. Of. My. House." Shawn bites each word out through clenched teeth. I know they aren't directed at me. Even if I weren’t looking at her shocked expression, I'd know they are aimed at Cassie Winston.
"I don't think he stuttered, Barbie?" Okay, Barbie is usually held for Holly, the queen bitch herself, but I had to. Sue me if you don't like it. I don’t usually act like this, but I’ve had a fair share of alcohol tonight.
"You won't disrespect her, or anyone else that lives here. Last time I checked, you don't live here… so leave." His words are still a bark. Shawn can come off quite scary at times. Frankly, Cassie looks like she is about to pee her pants. Inside, I'm loving it. This is so much better than me punching her. "Or I could let Tara go, but I don't think you want me to. Trust me, she will crush you."
I will? Hell, I don't know if I will or not. I've never hit another person in my life. I'm bigger than Cassie, sure, in every way, but I'm not going there.
The snootiness crosses her face again. It's the same one my mother wears around me. She should have been my mother's kid. I'm certain her and my mother would get along much better than my mother and I do. "Yes, she would."
Oh that bitch went there. Yes, I have issues with my weight. I'm not over weight, I don't think, but I’m not thin or skinny by any means, and it doesn't matter how much I work out, I'm never going to be a small size. I love to cook and I love to eat the food I cook. It's just not in the cards for me. Doesn't mean I like it, but she doesn't have a right to throw it in my face, especially with Shawn standing here.
I try to jump forward, but Shawn's hold on me tightens. "Leave. Now." Another bark, only this time his voice is deeper. It's a warning.
"Whatever." She turns, exiting the kitchen followed by the house as quickly as her feet will move.
Once I hear the door click closed he releases me, and as he steps backwards the warm flannel shirt I'm wearing, Jared’s shirt, is pulled off my body. I turn, facing Shawn. What the heck is that about?
"Go take a shower!" My jaw drops. He rips the shirt down the middle, making two un-wearable pieces. What the flyin...
The material is disregarded and lands on the tile floor.
I plant my hands on my hips in a defiant gesture. He's not about to order me around. I might take that crap from my parents, but I won't from anyone else. "Excuse me?"
Shawn wastes no time. He springs forward in an instant, making me step backwards until my back collides with the wall. He continues to close in, placing his palms on the flat surface of the wall next to my face and leans in. "You smell like him and I don't fucking like it."
Oh tough shit.
"Because you smelling like a cheap whore is so much better," I lash back. I don't waste my time either. I take both of my hands, placing my palms on his chest and pushing as hard as I can. It might not have come across as a shove, because his body didn't move away from mine as much as I intended it to. "Piss off, Shawn." With those last words I leave the kitchen, taking myself up the stairs to my bedroom for a shower… and not because Shawn ordered me to, but because I do in fact stink.
If I weren't as drunk as I am right now, I might have stopped to analyze what just happened between us, but I don't. I'm going to struggle enough just getting out of my clothes to shower tonight, or this morning, or whatever the hell time of the day this is.
Mother effin' jerk, he is.
★✩★✩★ 5 – Lies, Lies, Bitches & Manwhores – Stars ★✩★✩★
~this review may contain minor spoilers~
“As much as it sucks, as much as I pretend it doesn't hurt, he's made it perfectly clear on more than one occasion that he doesn't want me. Not now and not ever. Just forget about it, okay? I'm tired of dreaming unrealistic dreams.”
Taralynn Evans is through with being the good girl, the perfect daughter. Nothing she has ever done, no matter how hard she tries, is ever enough to make her parents happy or proud or hell, even slightly satisfied. So now, she wants to live her life for HER and no one else – that's easier said than done. She still has to deal with her bitch of a mother throwing 'suitable' dates her way, but what difference does it make? The only man she's ever really wanted won't touch her and can barely stand her...
Shawn Braden is only concerned about making one person happy, and that is him. Tattooed trouble, he never sleeps with the same girl twice, never brings them home, barely remembers their names. The one girl he has always wanted, though he barely admits it to himself, is the one girl he will never touch. Aside from the fact that she has been a close friend of the family for most of his life, he could never give her what a girl like her deserves – more than one night. Besides, it's glaringly obvious her mother would drop dead before she ever accepted him, and as much as she tries to deny it – keeping her family happy means too much to Tara.
What happens when Shawn sees past the facade that Tara has worn all her life to the girl underneath? When tragedy strikes bringing them closer, will Shawn finally admit to what he has always secretly wanted, will Tara be enough to tame the bad boy, or will he lose her from his life forever?
“I'm done being just a convenient fuck for you. I'm done being the woman you want for sex, but not to date and not the one you want anyone else you know to see. I'm better than being someone's dirty little secret.”
“Tara, you aren't. I don't think you are.”
“Don't lie to me.”
“Tara, you aren't. I don't think you are.”
“Don't lie to me.”
One of the first books I ever reviewed for the blog was 'Silent No More'. From that moment on I knew I would always dive head first into ANYTHING Ms. Henderson puts out, this book just reminded me why. Though I do have a few minor complaints, actually there's only one which I'll get to later, I freakin loved this book. When it comes to leading ladies, Taralynn was simply amazing. She desperately wants to break out of the mold her family has forced her into, and she starts to, but it wasn't easy. She wanted her family's approval, and sometimes she catered to them just a little too much, but you could see how much they were hurting her. She's a fierce friend and loves her boys like they are her true family, she would do anything for them. She adorably naïve at times, smart, funny, with a down-n-dirty side few know about, feisty, strong and not afraid to show her emotions to those closest to her. Her biggest weakness was Shawn. It was obvious how much she loved the dumbass even though he broke her heart over and over again with his actions. He is an amazing FRIEND, but he hurt her at every turn. This is where the majority of the angst, tears and drama came into the story. Shawn was the king of mixed signals. In one breath he would be pissed about her hooking up with anyone, but in the next he would act like he didn't give a shit. He didn't want her, and made no secret of his whorish ways, but he bitched about anyone else paying too much attention to her. This is where my one true complaint comes in. My issue wasn't with Shawn's manwhore ways, we see that often with our bad boys and I almost come to expect it. But I don't need to actually SEE it, and frankly, I would rather NOT. But there is a pretty huge scene early on in the book with Shawn engaging in a threesome – in graphic detail. It's enough for me to know about his sexual activities without having to actually read it. I understand that it happens, and I don't mind it as much if it's glazed over, but this one was just too much for my liking. This is just my personal opinion and may not bother everyone else, and it didn't alter my opinion of the book overall – I just could have done without it and admit to skimming through it. With that said. Shawn was the type of character you will develop a love/hate relationship with. As a bad boy, he was wicked fun. Flirty and dirty, sexy and funny – sure, he had his asshat moments, and often, but he really did care about Tara, he just didn't feel like he deserved her. He stood up for her, protected her, and clearly wanted her – even if she didn't believe it. He was just that good at playing it off. But I did hate how much he was hurting her, especially since he knew he was doing it. It takes awhile for these two to finally come together, and even when they do, the drama still runs high – but my gawd the sex – AhFrigginMazing. Smokin hot, dirty and raunchy, but somehow still sweet at times. Totally worth the wait and I couldn't get enough. Although Shawn and Tara had enough going on to fill an entire book on their own, we still get the added bonus of a ton of amazing secondary characters. Between the roommates Mason (LOVED) and Matt, Shane, Trent, Kylie, Adam, Shawn's parents... there were so many that I just loved, I'm sure I'm missing a few. Tara's mom made me wanna cut a bitch, and don't even get me started on her dad. Clearly, I could go on and on all damn day about this book – but for me, that's the mark of an amazing story, when you just can't shut up about it. It I wasn't already completely in love with NE Henderson, then this book would have secured her a spot on my One-Click-Addiction List one tear, scream, and blush at a time. If you haven't picked up one of her books yet – Do so NOW. I for one am very much looking forward to whatever she brings us next.
“I'm in love with you. No matter what you're thinking right now, please believe I love you. I've loved you longer than I realized I even loved you and I can love you better than anyone else ever can.”
Silent No More
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