Apr 12 2016 8:30am

First Look: J. Kenner’s Dirtiest Secret (April 19, 2016)

Dirtiest Secret by J. Kenner

J. Kenner
Dirtiest Secret (Dirtiest Secret Trilogy #1)
Bantam  / April 19, 2016 / $16.00 print, $7.99 digital

Dirtiest Secret is the first book in a new trilogy from New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author J. Kenner. The book more than lives up to it’s tantalizing title, offering a tale of taboo love and a dark past.

Dallas Sykes is a young wealthy man that the world views as a careless playboy who goes through money almost as quickly as he goes through women. Jane is the woman from his past that he’s still hung up on, just as much as she’s hung up on him.

As much as they want to be together, they can’t. And they have tried, very hard, in the years since their traumatizing kidnapping when they were just teenagers. It was an event that changed and shaped them both and while they took comfort from one another in captivity, afterwards, their relationship wasn’t one that could ever continue.

Jane turned to writing and repressing everything that happened and her feelings for Dallas. Dallas, meanwhile, turned to debauchery and… vigilantism? It turns out there’s more that these two have in common after all; they both want to address the issues of child kidnapping; how to deal with it, how to expose it, how to end it. And so Dallas created Deliverance.

Now, Deliverance was in full swing, and at the height of it’s power. A lean, nimble machine. A goddamn thing of beauty that thrived in the shadows.

Deliverance was about rescuing victims, yes. But it was also about justice. It was also about revenge. And everyone on the team knew that. There was no sugar-coating. No happy trappings of procedure and rules. Deliverance found the bad guys. And it did what was necessary to punish them and bring the victims home.

Jane, on the other hand, writes about kidnappings and has become quite successful. The tension comes, not just from their own tempestuous relationship and the impossibility of fulfilling their desires, but from Jane’s own harsh stance against vigilantism in child kidnapping situations. Of course, she doesn’t know that Dallas is involved with Deliverance. Not yet, at least. For the time being, the two are wrapped up in their own forbidden feelings for one another.

He leans towards me, and for a moment I am lost, floating free on desire and possibility and the fantasy that this could be real and right. But it can’t— I know it can’t— and I lurch back, then try to pull my arm free, though he holds me in place. I let out a little gasp as he takes my other arm and yanks me even closer, so that there are only inches between us. So that I can feel his heat. So that I can imagine his touch.

And then, so help me, it’s there. He still clutches one arm, but with his other hand, he reaches out and brushes my lower lip. I whimper, wanting this. Hating this.

And how does Dallas feel about Jane? His feelings are just as tied to her, he is just as unable to turn away from her.

“Do you have any idea how much I want to touch you?” His voice is low, as if he’s talking to himself more than me. I can smell the alcohol on his breath, and wonder how much he’s had, and how far he might go. “Can you even imagine the things I want to do with you?”

I make a whimpering noise and he moves closer to me, his green eyes like emerald fire. “Being together came close to destroying both of us once already,” he says. “But I don’t fucking care. You are the memory that gets me through my days, and the fantasy that saves me in the night.”

Are you intrigued, yet? It’s hard not to wonder, from the very start of this captivating story, what is going on. What is keeping these two, who are so clearly drawn to one another, apart?  The more you learn about these two star-crossed lovers and their dark past together, the more you realize that this is a far edgier and far more provocative story than you first expected.

The tension and the hurt and the secrets grow and expand and draw you in and before you know it, you’ve finished the book and are anxiously awaiting the next installment (due out, thankfully, this summer).


Learn more about or order a copy of Dirtiest Secret by J. Kenner, available on April 19, 2016: 

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

Buy at iTunes

Buy at IndieBound




Marilyn Porter is an avid reader and compulsive blogger. Follow her fangirling at her Tumblr and say hello on Twitter.


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