The Lies I’ve Told by JL Berg ~ Sarah A’s Review

From USA Today bestselling author J.L. Berg comes a brand new By the Bay stand-alone novel…

Everything was going according to plan…

After years of working my way up the corporate ladder, it was finally my time to shine. I was about to receive the promotion of a lifetime.

But just like that, my life was destroyed with a single career crushing email.

Now, I am headed back home to North Carolina, under the ruse of an extended vacation to help run the family inn while my sister is on maternity leave. After all, what is family for? Plus, a few days at the beach could definitely help uncomplicate this crazy life of mine.

Enter Aiden Fisher.

Aiden is a guest at my sister’s inn. He’s wicked hot, a huge flirt and has one of the sexiest British accents I’ve ever heard. But beyond all that, I see a darkness in his soul, as if he’s carrying a great weight upon his shoulders.

I find myself pushing back my trip home to Florida in hopes that maybe I’ll look into those hazel brown eyes and finally see truth shining back instead of lies. That maybe he’ll stop running and tell me the truth for once.

But you know what they say about liars? It takes one to know one and I’ve been telling the biggest lie of all – I’ve fallen hopelessly in love with Aiden.

And isn’t that the scariest truth of all?

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I’ve loved all the book in this series, and this is not an exception.  They’ve each been packed with stories of overcoming circumstances, healing from life-changing surprises, and heartwarming love stories.  The Lies I’ve Told was an emotional roller coaster from the off, and those rises and falls didn’t slow down until we reached the fabulous finish line of the book.

I was surprised by how fond I was of Millie in this book since she seemed a little too snobbish and aloof in the first two novels for me to care for.   Once she was off and running in The Lies I’ve Told – back in her childhood home – she seemed to be an entirely different person, devoid of the mask she’d had to wear when she was a cog in the fashion machine she’d been in for so long.  That girl, the one who’d been so badly burned, was a thing of beauty.  She was so much stronger, smarter, and caring than I had given her credit for.  She definitely won me over.

Aiden broke my heart.  From the undisclosed bombshell that had been dropped on him just before the story began, to his childhood, to the unmeasurable losses he’d suffered so early in his life, he was broken in a way that called to my soul.  There were a few times when he made some impossibly frustrating choices, but in light of all he was dealing with, it was hard to hate him for those decisions.

The connection between Aiden and Millie jumped off the page.  Their bond was electric, and it sparked and danced with every interaction they had.  They both had been missing something from their lives for so long; it was lovely to get to see how they each filled the missing pieces of the other’s soul.  Witnessing them each begin to realize what they’d been missing, and how much richer and more rewarding life could be with the right person to share it with was moving.

The only wish I had for this story was to have seen more of the first night they spent together.  It seemed like such an important part of the story, but beyond a few little flashbacks we never really got to see how or why it was so monumental to Aiden.  I think it would have reinforced the depth of his feelings for her.

The Lies I’ve Told is the third book in JL Berg’s By the Bay series.  These books are interconnected standalones and, while they do not need to be read in order, the experience is much richer if you read all the book in the order intended.  The Lies I’ve Told is written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Millie and Aiden.

JL Berg has done a wonderful job of crafting the world of her By the Bay series.  Each new book adds more layers of love and connection to this series.  I’ve loved each of these books for different reasons.  She packs an emotional punch with her writing and had made me crave each new story she releases.

My eyes bolted open as sunlight from the windows glared down at me. 

Where am I?

I sat up, quietly stretching as if I had all the time in the world. 

Because I did, right? 

No job. No responsibilities.

Responsibilities…

Shit! 

Breakfast for the guests! 

I bolted out of bed, frantically searching for my clothes. Where were my clothes? I tried to think back to the night before, but it was blurry.

Hazy.

And then the hammering in my head began. 

Shit, how much did I drink last night? 

“Where are you running off to so early?” 

The deep British accent had me stopping in my tracks.

Last night…

I turned on my heels, tugging on the short shirt I had on, wishing it were suddenly a dress. Or a robe. 

Or anything longer than a shirt. 

Aiden’s eyes perused my body with a wide grin on his face as he casually tucked his hands behind his head. I tried not to notice the way the muscles in his arms flexed.

Or the fact that, besides a carefully placed sheet, he was basically lying naked before me.

“Oh my God,” I whispered. My fingers raked through my hair as I tried to remember the night before. “We didn’t…did we?” 

The question had him immediately sitting up in bed, causing that well-placed sheet to shift. 

I gulped as all of him—and I did mean all of him—came into view.

Oh Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. 

I turned around, my cheeks flushing as heat spread through my body. He wasn’t just naked. He was naked and very much awake.

“You don’t remember?” he asked as I listened to the bed groan as he stood. 

“No,” I admitted. “Do you?”

I heard the telltale sign of jeans being zipped, giving me the courage to turn back around. Sure enough, he was decent.

Well, as decent as a shirtless, hot-as-fuck Brit could be. God, I thought his muscles had muscles. 

“Um, no,” he answered, but there was a hint of sadness to his eyes as he reached down to grab his shirt off the floor. 

I let out a tiny whimper of protest as the black T-shirt slid down his body.

He really was beautiful.

I shook my head, trying to keep focused. “Oh, that’s great. Just fucking great. So, what happened here exactly?”

He pointed to the pile of clothes and the mostly empty alcohol bottle on the nightstand, that sadness drying up as he let out a breath and straightened, his features hardening. “I think that’s pretty clear.”

My arms folded across my chest before I realized that only brought my shirt higher up my waist. Aiden didn’t miss the extra peek of flesh either as I watched his grin widen. 

“Nope, I don’t believe you. I don’t do one-night stands. Ever.”

“Ever?” he echoed, surprise written all over his stupid face.

“Yes. Ever. Why is that so hard to believe? Do I look like the one-night-stand kind of girl?”

“Well, right now. Sort of.”

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

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I’m a California native, who lives in the South – Virginia to be exact. I still prefer sushi to fried chicken, avocados to okra, and I absolutely loathe humidity. I do love watching the seasons change though. My husband and I have been here for over a decade, and I still get giddy like a school girl every time it snows. It’s magical!

I’m married to my high school sweetheart, and we’ve been blessed with two beautiful daughters and two rescue pups I like to call my “coworkers”. I’m obsessed with chocolate, minions, anything Harry Potter and I love to watch re-runs of Friends and Gilmore Girls!

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