EXCERPT & REVIEW: Lies by Kylie Scott
Betty Dawsey knows that breaking things off with Thom Lange is for the best.
He’s nice, but boring, and their relationship has lost its spark. But steady and predictable Thom, suddenly doesn’t seem so steady and predictable when their condo explodes and she’s kidnapped by a couple of crazies claiming that Thom isn’t who he says he is.
Thom is having a hellish week.
Not only is he hunting a double agent, but his fiancé dumped him, and thanks to his undercover life, she’s been kidnapped.
Turns out Thom is Operative Thom and he’s got more than a few secrets to share with Betty if he’s going to keep her alive. With both their lives on the line, their lackluster connection is suddenly replaced by an intense one. But in his line of work, feelings aren’t wanted or desired. Because feelings can be a lethal distraction.
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“You’re going to break his heart.”
“No, I’m not,” I say. “That’s sort of the whole point. If I really thought leaving him would break his heart, then I probably wouldn’t be leaving him in the first place.”
My best friend, Jen, does not look convinced.
Boxes fill a good half of the room. What a mess. Who knew you could accumulate so much junk in only twelve months? At least we weren’t together so long that I can’t remember who owns what. One year is about the sweet spot for this issue in relationships, apparently.
“The fact of the matter is, we’re not in love. We have no business being engaged, let alone getting married.” I sigh. “Have you seen the packing tape?”
“No. He’s just such a nice guy.”
“I’m not debating that.” I climb to my feet, then head up the stairs to the second bedroom. Thom’s unofficial workout room/home office. Not a room I normally go into. But it only takes a bit of rummaging to find what I’m looking for. Whatever else might be said about them, insurance assessors are organized. The bottom drawer of Thom’s desk has a neat stash of stationery. I grab a couple rolls of thick tape.
“And leaving him this way…” Jen continues as I head back down.
“How many times have I told him we need to talk? He’s always putting it off, saying it’s not a good time. And now he’s away again. I’ve been messaging him for the last week and he barely replies.”
“You know he has to drop everything once a job comes up. I realize he’s not the most exciting guy, Betty, but—”
“I know.” I smack down a line of tape with extra zest, sealing the lid of the last box. In this Operation Abandon Ship Posthaste, I know I’m definitely slightly the bad guy. But not totally. Say sixty/forty. Or maybe seventy/thirty. It’s hard to tell to what degree. “I do know all of that. But he’s always busy with work or away on some business trip. What am I supposed to do?”
A sigh from Jen.
“When you realize you’ve made such a monumental mistake, it’s hard to sit and wait to fix things. Nor is it fair on either of us to keep up the pretense.”
“And the fact that he’s yet again made no effort to prioritize our relationship and make a little time for me in his busy schedule is just further proof that I’ve made the right choice in ending this now before it gets any more complicated. End of rant.”
Nothing from her.
“Anyway, you’re supposed to be on my side. Stop questioning me.”
“You wanted to get married and have children so badly.”
“Yeah.” I sit back on my heels. “I blame it all on playing with Ken and Barbie’s dreamhouse when I was little. But it turns out that being in a relationship with the wrong person can be even lonelier than being alone.”
Jen and I have been friends since sharing a room in college. We’ve witnessed the bulk of each other’s dating ups and downs. For some reason, I’m the type of girl who guys will go out with, but don’t tend to stick with. Apparently, I’m fuckable—just not girlfriend material. Maybe it’s my smart mouth. Maybe it’s the whole not fitting current societal expectations of beauty i.e. I’m fat. Maybe I was born under an unlucky star. I don’t know; it’s their loss. Like anyone, I have my faults, but all in all, I’m awesome. And I have a lot to give. Too often in the past few months, I’ve had to keep reminding myself of this fact.
“There are just so many jerks out there,” Jen says. “I was happy that you’d found a good one.”
“I think I’d prefer a jerk who was genuinely into me than a nice guy phoning it in.
Honestly, I’d rather go adopt a dozen cats and settle into old age and isolation than be with someone who treats me as if I’m an afterthought.”
She looks at me for a long moment, then nods slowly. “I’m sorry it didn’t work out.”
“Time to start filling up the cars. Boy, do you owe me.”
I smile. “That I do.”
Jen stands and stretches before picking up one of the boxes labeled kitchen. “I just didn’t want you to do something you’d regret, you know?”
“I know. Thank you.”
Alone in the two-bedroom condo, everything is silent. My parting letter sits waiting on the coffee table with his name written on the front. A slight bulge in the
envelope betrays the shape of my engagement ring. It’s a sweet, simple ring. One small diamond perched on a band of yellow gold. My hand feels wrong without it. Naked. They say there are different love languages and you have to take the time to learn your partner’s needs. It’s like he and I never quite got there. Or maybe I’m just crappy at relationships.
The bridal magazines I’d collected are in the trash. Perhaps I should have taken them into the florist shop where I work so someone could get some use out of them. But this feels more symbolic, more definite. My family are a couple of states away, and I have only a few of what I’d classify as good friends. Being an introvert makes it hard to meet people. A boyfriend, a husband, would mean I’m no longer alone. Someone cares about me and puts me first. At least part of the time. Only Thom doesn’t any of the time, so here we are.
I tighten my ponytail of long dark hair. Then, in a rare display of dexterity that my yoga instructor would be proud of, I stack three boxes in my arms and head outside into the hot afternoon sun. Jen’s Honda Civic is parked at the curb, the trunk standing open as she moves things about inside. My old Subaru sits in the driveway waiting to be filled. Birds are singing and insects chirping. It’s your typical mild autumn day in California.
That’s when the condo blows up behind me.
Lies was an action packed read full of intrigue and double crossing! It was like reading the script of a Keanu Reeves action movie and picturing everything happening at the same time.
Before the cover was even released, I was obsessed with the blurb. I’m a huge Kylie Scott fan, her writing always keeps me intrigued, every storyline is unique, and her books never feel like you’ve ‘already read something like this before’.
From the minute I saw the cover of Lies, I had very real Keanu Reeves vibes. It might be my renewed obsession with him now that Speed is on Netflix again, but I couldn’t help but see him every time I saw the cover. And then when I finally had the chance to dive into Lies, I was still picturing Keanu. And then I was picturing me as Betty… Cause well, Keanu.
Betty has had enough. Her finance Thom is boring, unemotional, likes the lights off during sex and even the sex isn’t that great. The opening scenes of Lies are Betty moving out of there shared house with the help of her best friend Jen. While moving 2 boxes to the car, the house they’ve shared for a year all of a sudden blows up leaving Betty in a state of shock with a touch of concussion. Rushed off in an ambulance the confusion and fear start to set in.
And that one act sets off a catalyst of other events that result in death, destruction and love?
“Holy shit. Is there anything you didn’t lie to me about?”
The mirth disappears from his face. “I wasn’t’ lying when I said I love you.”
Thom has a secret, he’s an operative, a secret operative for a secret organisation and now he doesn’t know who to trust, except Betty. Maybe. But now his operative life has got him and Betty in a whole bunch of trouble that he needs to sue every skill and contact he has to get them out of it.
Lies had me hooked from the very first chapter, the writing was great, and the plot development was good. It felt like a very different and refreshing type of read from Kylie Scott. There were some interesting and quirky characters in Lies that I enjoyed reading about. Thom was to me the most interesting character, you went from knowing about him through Betty’s eyes to seeing a completely different type of Thom. In usual circumstances the lies he told to keep his normal life as far away from his operative life, would never be forgivable but there’s something about Thom that captures your attention. He’s a little alpha, a little protective and a whole lot good looking. Once you met the real Thom its hard to understand how Betty couldn’t see the real Thom to begin with, but he is exceptionally good at keeping secrets.
“You do more than just give me a home. You let me feel things like a normal person. You make me human.”
That might be the saddest, loneliest thing I’ve ever heard. “Thom…”
“Most of the time it feels like I’ve been at war my whole damn life. But not with you.”
Betty, I wasn’t particularly fond of from the beginning. I thought she was a bit obnoxious and maybe a bit selfish. I got frustrated at her constantly referring to her weight. Once was fine but it became a repetitive issue and I felt like because it was mentioned often enough to distract me that that’s why it became an issue. If it hadn’t been mentioned more than once I wouldn’t have even thought about it. I’m all for breaking the mould with typical tall skinny heroines but I’m also the reader that doesn’t generally care what height and weight the heroine is. By the end of Lies I did start to like Betty a bit more, she became more relatable and tough which I liked!
Lies was a fun read with great characters. It had a bit of suspense thrown in which kept me intrigued, but I did work out the ending pretty quickly. That, however, didn’t take away from the story. Lies was well written and well developed in terms of the plot and characters and I look forward to hopefully seeing a story about Bear down the track!
About The Author: Kylie Scott
Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.