When Betti Jo Barker left town, she had no intention of ever returning, save for a quick visit to her dad or maybe a tension-filled holiday dinner. But her fast-tracked modeling career crashed and burned, and she had little choice but to return home to a father who didn’t remember her and two sisters for whose judgement she had no use.
Beau Simon’s career couldn’t be going better, but when he gets the chance to pick up his new custom bike in New Waterford, he knows he’s going there for an entirely different reason. To say they didn’t part on amicable terms would be putting it lightly, but there’s just something about Betti, the hard as nails woman he hurt in Hollywood, that he can’t get out of his mind.
It says a lot about a story that I’m able to (sort of) ignore all the missing commas and commas thrown in odd places and actually finish the book. Yes, the editing is that bad, but the story is just that good. And an author who can write like this really deserves an editor who can red pen the hell out of a story and get it closer to mistake-free.
You know, if it weren’t for that big gray bar across the bottom of every cover in this series, I’d probably say they were perfect. But the odd opaque gray kind of screams self-published, which (as good as a lot of indie books are) doesn’t get taken as seriously as those with a bunch of professional graphics people. I’m really hoping everyone else ignores that and just dives in because…damn, Juliana Stone really knows how to tell a story.
I really didn’t think there was any way I was going to like Betti. In the previous two books, she was just so awful to everyone, so mean-spirited and cruel that I seriously doubted anything could redeem her. And then I started reading.
God, Betti’s story is just heartbreaking. She ran from home to escape a horrific event, and right as her career seemed destined for something really great, she was brutally brought back down to earth. And when I read about Beau’s part in it? Not gonna lie. I kind of hated him for a while. But what really made me feel for Betti was when I got a glimpse of her relationship with Matt. Up until Conceal, I just thought he was some worthless jerk who was using her, and she was beaten down enough to let him. And boy, was I wrong!
Watching Betti just trying to survive everything life had thrown at her was incredibly sad, but Beau’s determination to get through her walls and get her to realize that she deserved the dream, too, was so endearing. He certainly redeemed himself in my eyes when he came to her aid over and over again.
Conceal is not the lighthearted read that Offside was, and it’s a bit darker than Collide, but I’m sure anyone who’s read the first two books knows that Betti’s story isn’t going to be all fluff and daydreams. I still loved it, obviously, and I was really sad to realize that the series was over. I may just have to read all three books again to get my fix! Then again, Beau’s brother Tucker’s story is starting a whole new series, and I know I won’t be able to stay away. But oh, what I wouldn’t give to get Matt’s story!