Review: Masquerade by Nyrae Dawn


Title: Masquerade (Games #3)
Author: Nyrae Dawn
Date of publication: 7 Jan 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Author's links:

My rating: 4 stars

Goodreads Blurb

A biker. A tattoo artist. A love to last a lifetime.

Maddox Cross has always had to be tough. When his father went to jail for murder, the teenager took care of his sister and mother. Now on his own and working security at a night club, Maddox wants to become a tattoo artist-a dream that comes closer to reality when he falls for the hottest, most tatted woman he's ever seen. She's wild and beautiful, and Maddox will do anything to be with her.

Bee Malone came to town to open up her new tattoo parlor, Masquerade. Since being kidnapped as a young girl, Bee has had trouble getting close to anyone. But when she meets Maddox, she sees that under his hard biker's body is the sensitive soul of an artist. What starts out as a sizzling one-night stand soon becomes so much more.

Bee wants Maddox to join her tattoo business, but letting him into her life means revealing all her most intimate secrets. And as the past begins to intertwine with her present, Bee fears their love may not be as permanent as their ink . . .

My Review

This is the third book in the series and you should read at least book 2, Facade, to fully enjoy this one. It was just as good as the other two in this series. These are very intense stories, full of angst and emotional turmoil, yet they end on a positive note giving two broken characters hope for a better future.  

Masquerade focuses on the relationship between Maddox and Bee, two guilt-ridden young people trying to come to terms with their pasts. They meet by chance and don't fall in love right away, something which I really appreciated. The feelings for one another develop slowly, it takes time for both of them to open up and admit that there is more than physical chemistry between them. I liked how their problems and issues were not magically solved when they met and fell for each other.

The initial premise - she is just 21-years old and already has her own tattoo shop (her parents financed it but still, she was owner and experienced tattoo artist) and he is a bit older than her but starts working as an apprentice under her - didn't seem realistic but it also didn't bother me much.

The couples from the previous book appear here as well, Laney and Adrian (Facade) have a particularly prominent role, since Maddox is Laney's brother and his story is interwoven closely with Adrian's past.

Both Bee and Maddox change a lot throughout the story. They start with denial of their feelings, go through deep and painful self-exploration to finally reach trust and reliance on each other. The traumas of their pasts are different but they have made them similar in many ways - bearing heavy sense of guilt, emotionally distanced from everyone, unable to love, feeling worthy to be loved. 

I felt both Maddox and Bee tended to be too introspective at times, locked in their own thoughts and emotions (or rather, desperately trying to block any emotions). Still, their stories were superbly told in an warm, engaging manner. I felt connected with them and could easily relate to their sufferings and struggles.

Bee's story was rather unusual and I wished it was developed in more detail. We already know what happened to Maddox from Laney's story in Facade, but here we see it through his eyes and witness his efforts to come to terms with his past and move forward with his life.

The story is heavy on the tragedy but it works well. It can be a bit over the top but most of the time it is convincing and realistic. The ending brings some closure for Adrian and Laney and a fresh start for Maddox and Bee. 

This book is a must read for fans of the series and I can recommend this series to any book lover who appreciates a good character-driven and emotionally moving story. 

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