Charade (Games #1)Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble
by Nyrae Dawn
Published: October 22, 2012
Source: Purchased from Amazon
Nineteen-year-old Cheyenne tries to portray the perfect life to mask the memories of her past. Walking in on her boyfriend with another woman her freshman year in college threatens that picture of perfection.
Twenty-one-year-old Colt never wanted college and never expected to amount to anything, but when his mom's dying wish is for him to get his degree, he has no choice but to pretend it's what he wants too.
Cheyenne needs a fake boyfriend to get back at her ex and Colt needs cash to take care of his mom, so they strike a deal that helps them both. But what if Cheyenne’s past isn’t what she thought? Soon they’re trading one charade for another—losing themselves in each other to forget about their pain. The more they play their game, the more it becomes the only thing they have that feels real.
Both Cheyenne and Colt know life is never easy, but neither of them expect the tragedy that threatens to end their charade and rip them apart forever.
My Thoughts: I loved this book so much. I am a big fan of Nyrae Dawn's and I have to say that Charade has to be one of my most favorite books that she has written so far. Cheyenne is a freshman in college, a college that she is attending because of her boyfriend Greg, who is really the only person she knows there... a boyfriend that she walked in on with anther girl. She seems like she has it all together, at least that is what it looks like on the outside, but Chey has a past that has left her deeply scarred and wounded, no matter what her outward appearances portray. Colt, and I so love Colt, he is an obvious bad boy, doesn't care what people think, has a cocky attitude, and is oh so very hot. Despite his hard demeanor, he has a soft and fiercely loyal side, and does everything he can to take care of his dying mother, even granting her her wish that he attend college. Colt has had a hard life to, very hard, and the way he lives and the things he does to survive and pay the bills aren't really what he wants, but he has bought into the lie that he will never amount to much. When Cheyenne makes a proposition to Colt to pose as her boyfriend in order to make Greg jealous, even offering to pay him, he thinks she is nuts, a spoiled princess, but soon finds himself a willing participant in this charade.
What starts out as a game, soon escalates into something so much more. Chey and Colt both begin to slowly realize that what they are doing and feeling is anything but fake, and sometimes they don't know how to handle it, especially Colt. Colt realizes that this princess is so much more than he thought, and Chey realizes that this bad boy has a heart of gold. They have good times, bad times, and some really, really difficult times, each helping the other through some of the darkest moments they have ever faced, each helping the other to heal and to realize what love really is. I so loved Chey and Colt's story. It sucks you in and captures you from beginning to end. Nyrae Dawn has written these characters in such as way that I felt totally connected with them, their lives, their hopes, their sadness, their joy. I hurt when they hurt, laughed when they laughed, and cried when they cried. The romance was wonderful, and I loved the ending of the book also. If you are a contemporary romance fan, this new adult novel is something that stands out from the crowd and something I would definitely recommend checking out.
Facade (Games #2)Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble
by Nyrae Dawn
Published: July 2, 2013
Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
Can love save them?
After her father commits a crime that shatters her family, eighteen-year-old Delaney Cross is tired of pretending everything is all right. Packing up her car, she sets out to find the people her father hurt. Her search leads her to places she’s never been—and into the arms of Adrian Westfall.
To the outside world, Adrian is a sexy, charming ladies’ man. But his playboy persona is just an act. Secretly his soul is tortured by a memory too painful to share. Only Delaney seems to see through his façade to the real man underneath. And for the first time in his life, Adrian feels he can begin to open up about his past.
Together, Adrian and Delaney share a passionate love they never expected to find. Yet both still harbor their own secrets. When the dark truth is finally revealed, will it bring them closer together—or tear them apart forever?
My Thoughts: After reading Charade, I was so excited to begin Facade, which is Adrian's story. Adrian is Colt's best friend and former roommate. He comes across as a party boy, someone who just likes to have a good time and get high, but underneath, there is so much more depth to Adrian than meets the eye. He thinks, feels, sees, and knows things on a level that few are aware of. This has been to his detriment because of his past and a personal tragedy that has all but destroyed him, causing him to try to forget what happened by losing himself and seeking solace in weed and women. He's a player, a very hot player, and he knows how to put on a facade, wearing his mask well...most of the time. In reality, the person he is trying to fool the most is himself. Delaney Cross' life was shattered when she was a young teenager. Her family destroyed by a crime her father committed and the realization that his life, their family's life, had been a lie. Betrayed by the father she loved and left to deal with a suicidal mother who has turned all her bitterness and hatred on Delaney, this beautiful girl has somehow still managed to have a heart of gold, filled with compassion. She lives with her brother Maddox, and all they really have is each other.
Delaney is desperate to make amends for the things her father did, things that aren't her fault, yet she feels the burden of them as if they were. Determined to set things right, she and her brother Maddox pack up the car and move to a new town where Laney will try to do what she can to find forgiveness for the things her father has done. She ends up meeting Adrian. She knows he is a player and that she should stay away from him for more than one reason, but she also is able to see that deeper side of him that few get a glimpse into. Adrian doesn't do relationships. He doesn't let people in...ever... so when he begins to let Laney see glimpses of the real him, he isn't quite sure how to deal with it. He doesn't make promises, and Delaney doesn't ask for any, yet he can't stay away. No one knows just how damaged and hurt Adrian is, but he is beginning to let Laney see, and Laney is falling for him hard, even though she knows she shouldn't, and he is falling for her. Adrian has secrets, Delaney has secrets, and when these secrets collide, the fallout from the collision is more than either of them can bear, and something that they just may not be able to recover from.
Facade is such a good story. It is very deep, heartbreaking, and emotional. The darkness these characters go through is not camouflaged in any way, yet fleshed out in painstaking reality. I loved the relationship between Delaney and Adrian, how Nyrae Dawn developed it, as well as where she took it in the novel, no holds barred. There is even a twist towards the end that I definitely did not see coming, which added a whole new level of drama to the story. I also loved the fact that we get to see Colt and Cheyenne in this story, and we also meet Maddox, whose story will be the next in the series, Masquerade, and I cannot wait to read it. Facade is another new adult contemporary romance that stands out among the crowd. Nyrae Dawn has proven yet again what a talented author she is, and Facade is definitely a story that is worth taking the time to read.
Writing has always been Nyrae Dawn’s passion. There have been times in her life where she wasn’t able to chase that dream the way she desired, but she always found her way back to telling stories.
One of her loves has always been writing about teens. There’s something so fresh and fun about the age that she loves exploring. Her husband says it’s because she doesn’t want to grow up. She doesn’t think that’s such a bad thing and luckily for her, he doesn’t either.
Nyrae gravitates toward character-driven stories. She loves going on emotional journeys with characters whether it be reading or writing. And yes, she’s a total romantic at heart and proud.
Nyrae resides in sunny Southern California with her husband (who still makes her swoon) and her two awesome kids.
When she’s not with her family, you can be pretty sure you’ll find her with a book in her hand or her laptop and an open document in front of her.
She writes for Entangled Publishing, Grand Central Publishing and is self-published.
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