Elizabeth Lewis was the child of Hollywood's darling couple, until her father murdered her mother. Six years later, she has traded her flashy, luxurious lifestyle for one of safe anonymity as a literary agent. With a different name and appearance, Liza Winter is living the life of her dreams-one where she's known for who she is instead of what her father did. Except her apartment should be condemned, her car only starts when it wants, she hates the romance genre she has been assigned, and the CEO's deliciously attractive nephew is out to ruin her carefully laid plans.
Reid Harder has never met an obstacle he couldn't overcome. When his new position in the romance department comes with a benefit his ind didn't mention, he decides to wage a war against the intelligent, beautiful Liza to destroy every argument she has for turning him down. Still, the closer he gets to winning the prize, the more he realizes that the woman is keeping secrets that may endanger not just her life but his.
Will Liza overcome her mistrust of Reid to reveal her secrets before he learns the truth and walks away? Or will a grudge-wielding apparition from her past make her the next deadly Hollywood headline?
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Six years ago
Blood covers every surface. On the pristine, white marble flooring, the grand staircase and handrail, and what used to be a tall, square wooden end table by the large double doors I just walked through. The table now lays scattered across the foyer, broken into jagged pieces. The large, antique ceramic bowl that served as a key holder had set on the table, but now, it too is scattered amongst the broken wood and the blood bath. I follow the trail of dark crimson fluid up the stairs, my hands shaking and my breath catching. Upstairs is worse, far worse. The plush white carpet is saturated a deep shade of red; splatters and droplets are everywhere.
My heart is pounding, urging me to go, to leave, to run and call for help. My head tells me otherwise, to follow the trail of blood down the hall. The blood is smeared on the walls, as if someone was trying to grab ahold of something to prevent being dragged this way. The trail leads to my parents’ bedroom. My heartbeat quickens, and a bead of sweat forms along my hairline. The door to my parents’ room is slightly ajar, and I nudge it open a little farther, just enough so I can slip past the door.
A piercing scream escapes, and I quickly clamp a hand over my mouth. My eyes are glued to the sight before me. There’s no mistaking the familiar blonde hair attached to the crumpled body on the floor, discarded as though she is a piece of garbage that nobody wants. Just left there with a pool of blood surrounding her body. The blonde hair, the only thing I share with my mother, is drenched in the dark fluid. Another cry escapes my lips as I rush across the floor and collapse next to her, brushing the hair out of her face. My heart drops to the pit of my stomach, and I feel bile rising to the back of my throat.
I can hardly recognize my mother’s soft, delicate face; she was a natural beauty, one that everyone wanted to star in their next movie at one point in her life. Her face is mangled with large, jagged cuts that run across it. The blood is already starting to dry. Examining the rest of her body, I see she is covered from head to toe with multiple stab wounds. Under the cross-hatch of wounds, I can see faint bruises forming from the multiple contusions she has suffered as well.
“Mom,” I whisper. I scoop her body into my arms and pull her close to my body. Her head rests against my chest as I begin to rock back and forth. “Don’t be dead…please, don’t be dead.” I know my plea is useless; she is already gone. The amount of blood throughout the house and pooling around her, and the blank expression in her blue eyes is proof enough. Tears form in my eyes. “You can’t be dead.”
I cry out loud, and my body begins to shake involuntarily. “I didn’t mean what I said…I forgive you.” My voice breaks and barely comes out. I think back to the last conversation we had. Which, honestly, isn’t anything outside the norm, since we fought constantly the little time we are around each other. We had a toxic mother-daughter relationship. If there’s an award for worst parents ever, mine would win, hands down. But today, today’s argument was different. It had been the final straw in her attempt to break me down. I had yelled at her, uttering all the same obscenities and same ‘I hate you.’ I had told her that she was the worst mother in the world and that I would be better off if she would just die. I never really meant that last part. No matter how unloving, cruel, and horrible they were, neither of my parents deserve to die, at least not like this.
I shake my mother slightly, but she doesn’t stir. Of course she doesn’t; she is long gone. “Please…please… just come back.” I choke out the last three words. It doesn’t matter that I have spent a lifetime hating her nor does it matter that she took the one thing that made me happiest in the world right out from under my nose. At the moment, I could care less about all the horrible things she has said and done. Nothing, I repeat nothing, she has done warranted her death. I begin to cry, sobbing uncontrollably. I cry because however rotten she was, she is gone, and I never got to say goodbye or to take back any of the things I have ever said to her.
“It’s a shame things had to end like this.” I snap my head up and find my father leaning against the door frame. His dark brown hair is a tousled mess. He is still wearing the charcoal suit I last saw him in, minus the jacket and tie. His forehead is creased, and his dark brown eyes, the exact same shade as mine, narrow. In one hand, he is holding a large, white, terry cloth towel stained with blood. In the other is a large butcher knife dripping blood. His lips quirk up into a sinister grin that sends a chill down my spine. “You can’t really be sad, can you? Not after what she did to you…to me…to us.”
His words linger in the air.
“Y-Y-You did this?” I ask weakly.
He struts across the room toward me, and I pull my mother closer, as if I can protect her from any further harm. I glance up at him hovering over me, and my eyes flicker to the knife in his hands. My father follows my gaze and smiles. He tosses the knife onto their oversized poster bed and wipes his hands off with the towel before tossing it onto the bed as well.
“Of course I did,” he sneers. My father smiles, not showing one ounce of remorse for what he has done.
“Why? Why would you do this?”
“The bitch had it coming.” He smiles again and sends another wave of chills down my spine. “I did it for us, but more importantly, I did it for you, Elizabeth.” Then he lunges for me…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Brandy's passion for writing began long before she actually sat down to write. As a child, she has had an obsession with reading, everything from the classic stories by Jane Austen to YA Fiction by Richelle Mead. Finally, in 2012, she decided to create her own stories for people to fall in love with. Brandy bounces back and forth writing both Romance and Young Adult Fiction (which is mainly just for fun). At the beginning of 2014, Brandy signed a contract with publishing company Booktrope. She is very excited about the next chapter of her life and cannot wait to share her books and passion with readers. When she isn't writing, she can be found chasing after her husband, her four children and her black lab, Diesel. Or curled up on her favorite corner of the couch with her newest book.
If I Say Yes is an intriguing hybrid love child of the New Adult and Suspense genres. At times steamy and frustrating with a young woman trying to find her way in the world, and at other times an edge of your seat stalker mystery. There were several times where I though I had unraveled the puzzle, but ultimately I was shocked by the villain reveal. That was the aspect I enjoyed most about the book. The constant whodunit paranoia.
The main character did have a tendency to get on my nerves with her near constant back and forth indecisiveness, but on the same token, it showed the depth and severity of Liza's damage. She is literally crippled to the point of not being able to reconcile her desires with her 'list' of what will make her life whole. Rule numero uno seemed to be NO MEN. That never really works out though does it? A broken heart combined with trauma makes it nearly impossible for her to give in to Reid. Should I? No. But maybe I should? But then again no. LIZA, MAKE A DECISION AND STICK WITH IT, DAMN IT!
And oh Reid, you got me riled up a few times there too, mister. I got irked by the blatant aggressiveness of his pursuit of Liza. I know we're dealing with fiction, where we are more than allowed to suspend our disbelief, but occasionally I couldn't help but think, "This dude should get slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit and put in his place." Ultimately, as the story unfolded we started to see the man beneath the mood swings, and, come to find out, he may be just as damaged as Liza.
Character flaws are GOOD. Hell, they can make the story more interesting. Perfect people don't exist, so sometimes it's refreshing to scream at a book, "What are you doing you idiot?!" You're invested. I wanted Liza to confront her past and let her walls down, I wanted Reid to stop being such an over-sensitive jerk. And when it finally all came together, I couldn't have been more satisfied.
And just when I started to settle in, loving how this story had come to such a lovely conclusion with Liza revealing all her secrets...Reid dropped a bombshell on the LAST FREAKING PAGE! Let's just say it's going to kill my curiosity waiting on the sequel.
*Goth Girl Gabs was provided an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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