(The Secret #3)
by Jessica Sorensen
Published: October 22, 2013
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing - Forever
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Ella and Micha series comes a gripping story of passion, pain, and the courage to love . . .
THE TEMPTATION OF LILA AND ETHAN
On the surface, Lila Summers is flawless: good looks, expensive clothes, and a big, beautiful smile. But a dark past and even darker secrets are threatening to bubble over her perfect façade. She'll do anything to keep the emptiness inside hidden-which leads her into situations that always end badly. Whenever she hits bottom, there's only one person who's there to pull her out: Ethan Gregory.
Ethan set the rules a long time ago: he and Lila are just friends. He doesn't do relationships. Although his tattooed, bad boy exterior is a far cry from Lila's pretty princess image, Ethan can't deny they have a deeper connection than he's used to. If he's not careful, he could be in serious danger of becoming attached-and he's learned the hard way that attachment only leads to heartbreak.
When Lila falls farther than she ever has before, can Ethan continue to help as a friend? Or is he also getting close to falling . . . for her?
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I’m turned sideways in the seat, with my knee up, so I’m facing her, even though she won’t look at me. I lost count of how many shots we had hours ago and I can barely comprehend
how we got to a cab—stumbling, laughing, as she rubbed her hand up the front of my jeans. No, that can’t be right, can it?
“I think being alone is fan-fucking-tastic. . . well, maybe . . .sometimes . . .” I mumble, draping my arm on the back of the seat. I stare at her for a moment, taking in her bare skin in the
moonlight. I want to touch it. Lick it. Even bite it.
I’m bursting with sexual energy and I channel it to my foot on the floor, bouncing my knee. There’s something different about tonight, something out of the ordinary, this strange need
to keep getting closer to Lila. It could be the alcohol. Or it could be something else, but there’s no way my tequila-soaked mind is going to reach any sort of answer.
Lila turns her head toward me, her pupils wide and shiny. “Why are you staring at me like that?”
I keep tapping my foot on the floor, trying to think of a better answer than the first one that pops into my head, but I can’t find one. “Because I’m thinking about you.”
She glances at the cab driver, a thirtyish guy wearing a baseball cap, and then her gaze lands back on me. She sucks her lip into her teeth and I have to bounce my knee faster or I swear I’m going to fucking lose it. “Thinking what about me?” she asks, looking wary, interested, and exhausted.
Don’t say it . . . “I was thinking about what it would be like to lick you . . . or bite you . . . either one really.” It seems like I should regret it as soon as I say it, but regret is nowhere in my
reach at the moment.
Her breathing quickens and her voice comes out shockingly unsteady for someone who has sex so much. “Then do it.”
I blink, wondering if I heard her right through the massive amount of alcohol consuming my thoughts. “What?”
She holds my gaze steadily, even though she seems really nervous, her voice trembling. “Then bite me. Or lick me…whatever you want.”
The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Jessica Sorensen, lives in the snowy mountains of Wyoming. When she's not writing, she spends her time reading and hanging out with her family.
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My Thoughts: We first met Lila and Ethan in The Secret of Ella and Micha. Lila was Ella's best friend and roommate and Ethan was Micha's good friend. The events in The Temptation of Lila and Ethan take place soon after the events that transpired in The Forever of Ella and Micha. On the surface, Lila comes across as the spoiled little rich girl who attended boarding school, has an expensive car and expensive clothes, and is the life of the party. Ethan, on the other hand, is from the wrong side of town, he's currently working in construction, he's very hot, he's not into materialistic things at all, and is really the total opposite of Lila. Somehow they hit it off and become really good "friends", a boundary that Ethan set in their relationship early on, though the underlying sexual tension is forever present, as hard as they try to ignore it. They share a unique friendship and unspoken bond, neither judging the other, yet there for them any time they need them to be, each knowing things about the other that no one does, yet each having secrets that eat away at them as well. Lila is slowly spiraling out of control as the past and its secrets consume her like a cancer that has been slowly eating away at her insides, leaving a huge empty cavern of nothingness that she attempts to fill in the most unhealthy ways. Unable to hide behind the facade she has put up since she was fourteen years old, her world begins to crumble as everything begins to come to the surface, something no one has ever been able to see, no one that is except Ethan.
When the reality of what is going on with Lila finally hits Ethan, he, begins to realize how much he really cares for her and make the decision, though not an easy one, to help her. He sees her in a way no one else ever has, and he is also prepared to come across with the tough love that Lila needs to recover and to survive. At the same time, however, Ethan is dealing with his own demons from the past, demons that have held him in a state of perpetual guilt, loneliness, and self-loathing for some time now. The secrets from both of their pasts and the scars that those events have left both inside and outside, have prevented Lila, as well as Ethan, from pursuing a meaning relationship, instead seeking comfort in one-night stands, among other things. In the process of helping Lila, Ethan begins to realize that his feelings for her go much deeper than he's willing or ready to admit. Lila feels the same way. These secrets are like a pot of water that has been simmering and slowly comes to a rolling boil, now spilling over the sides until they both realize that they must come clean with each other and share the things that have consumed them for years. When everything is on the table, including the truth about their feelings, will they turn and run, as has been the pattern, or will they face their demons, the fears, and their feelings, and against the odds move forward into a future together?
Lila and Ethan's story is emotionally raw, devastating, and heart wrenching. The truth of Lila's past and what has happened to her, the way she has been treated, the things she has come to believe about herself because that is what she has been told by her family, will break your heart. I thought poor Ella was a mess, but Lila's situation, coupled with the fact that she has hid it for so many years, is deep-rooted and almost more than she can overcome. Thank God for Ethan. If it wasn't for him, she wouldn't make it. Poor Ethan, I felt so bad for him also. His abusive past has not only led him to steer clear of relationships, but the one relationship he did have has left him beating himself up for years, and though he has overcome some of the things he is now helping Lila with, he still has a lot to work through himself. The sexual tension and chemistry between these two is undeniable, and the more time they spend together, the more tense it gets. As Ethan helps Lila to slowly heal, whether he realizes it or not, he is slowly healing as well. He's not perfect by any means, and he manages to screw up to, but all in all, I was really impressed with him and with how he handled things with Lila. I was also rooting for Lila as she learned to live in the "real world," apart from money and the things it provided, while Ethan helped her to learn how to take care of herself. There were plenty of obstacles and dramatic events that these two encounter have to overcome in the process, but I loved seeing where Jessica Sorensen took these two characters and their relationship over the course of the novel. I was sucked into the the story from beginning to end, and felt the gamut of emotions from one end of the scale to the other, right along with them. I was really pleased with the ending, and with the fact that it also includes Ella and Micha, setting the stage for the next book in the series, while leaving you feeling really good about where things were between Lila and Ethan as it came to a close. The Temptation of Lila and Ethan is an emotional, romantic, and really great contemporary romance that I thoroughly enjoyed and would definitely recommend.
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