Matisse learned the pain of lies from those he loved…
can he learn to trust again?
Matisse Boudreau is the first to admit he’s not great at understanding people. Yet, one thing he knows is true, Nora Leslie is worth whatever puzzle he needs to solve. As Matisse and his best friends settle into their relationship with Nora, things become clearer—forces are at work to tear them apart.
Nora’s been participating in a strange and mysterious psychological study, but she can no longer ignore the voice inside her screaming that Dr. Daniel Murray is more than he seems, and he does not have her best interests at heart. When Nora pieces together the tragedies that seem to be dogging her, she comes to Matisse with her fears, and he’ll use all his genius to prove her instincts are right.
With Matisse, Apollo, Cai, Seok, and Ryan all working together, they’ll discover how truly dark the intentions of the doctor are, and how committed he is to keeping Nora in his sights.
I love this series and the development of the relationships between Nora and the guys. Each is different as are the guys. Nora seems to understand the quirks of them and that is what makes this so perfect.
In this book, Nora figures out something about the study she’s involved with as Cai finally gets to come home after a bout with Scarlet fever and Strep.
There’s much more here though, Matisse has been doing some illegal motorcycle racing and Nora is pissed when she finds out. The guys also realize that Nora needs to know everything about them. This is made even clearer when Matisse’s mother calls demanding an appearance at Thanksgiving. His story is not so much heartbreaking as it is undeniably an example of selfishness on the part of his father.
This is a favorite scene.
Expecting a full-on intervention, he was surprised when only Apollo was in the kitchen. “Hey,” the larger man greeted when Matisse came through the door.
“Hi,” he replied warily. Any second, he expected to hear his friends’ feet pounding down the stairs so they could surround him and demand answers.
“Don’t look so nervous. No one else is here. Nora’s sleeping, but she wants me to wake her up when you get in. Seok’s reading, and Ryan, overachiever, is doing homework. It’s just you and me.”
“Emissary?” Matisse asked and flung his body into a chair, affecting nonchalance.
“Sort of,” Apollo answered. “I wanted to talk to you because we’re in the same boat.”
“How is that?” Impossible. Apollo—perfect, generous, kind Apollo—and him? The king of the illegal? The go-to guy for all things sneaky?
“Because there are things we do on the shady side of legal, and Nora needs to learn about them. Will, or has, in your case. Why didn’t you tell me, man?” Matisse studied Apollo’s features. His mouth turned down, and his eyebrows drew together—he’d hurt Apollo’s feelings.
“What would you have said?”
“Don’t do it,” Apollo answered quickly. “Be smart. And I’d have had no right to say it, either, considering I’m training to pound some guy into the ground of a warehouse on the outskirts of town.”
“You still would have said it.”
Apollo chuckled at Matisse’s words. “Yeah. I would have. It’s my job as your friend.”
Resting his elbows on the table, he linked his fingers around the back of his head and shook it from side to side. What a mess he’d gotten himself into. And for nothing. Literally nothing. Unless. “We’re talking about the bike races, right?”
Apollo leaned forward, his arms flexing as he folded his hands. “Should we be talking about something else?”
Matisse sprawled back in the chair and shook his head. “No.”
“Everyone wants to talk to you.”
“I’m sure they do, but it’s really none of their business.”
Apollo unfurled, standing and stretching. It wasn’t an attempt to intimidate him, but a sign of his agitation. “You’re our business, Matisse. You guys are the only family I fucking have. Don’t brush it off like it’s nothing.”
“I know.” Deflating under Apollo’s effective guilt trip, he grabbed handfuls of his hair and tugged. “I’ll wake Nora. You want to get the guys? We can play whack-a-Matisse-mole.”
Without waiting to hear his friend’s response, he trudged through the dining room back to the stairs. The closer he got to Nora’s door, the more nervous he became. He felt like a little boy about to be disciplined, and it wasn’t an emotion he enjoyed. All of today, his anxiety had been out of control. For a moment, he considered the near-empty prescription he hadn’t needed since meeting Nora.
Carefully, he opened the door to her bedroom. The light in her closet was on, muted but illuminating her sleeping form. She curled beneath the covers, arms wrapped around her pillow. Mouth open, she coughed suddenly, and sniffled.
Gently, he smoothed his hand down her back. “Cher.” She stirred, breath hitching before her armed waved him away. Despite his worry about how she’d respond to his story, he chuckled. “Nora.”
One eye opened. Then another. “Hey,” she whispered and pushed herself up. Coughing again, she lifted her elbow to her mouth to catch it.
“Sorry. What time is it?”
“No idea,” he answered. “You’re sick?”
Her eyes widened, and he could see her doing a frantic inventory of her body. She sniffed and sniffed again. “Crap. Seok jinxed me.”
“Do you want to come downstairs? Apollo told me you all wanted to talk to me.”
She scrubbed her hands across her face and took the ever-present elastic from around her wrist to tie her hair on top of her head. “Yes.” The covers flew back, and she reached for a sweatshirt at the end of her bed. “Ready.”
“I’m not,” he muttered, unable to help himself.
“Tisse.” The light pressure of her hand on his arm stopped him. “You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. I mean—the other option is telling the same story five times. In which case, I call dibs.”
He laughed, anxiety melting away in the face of her clear attempt at disarming him. It worked. Once she was in his arms, he hugged her tightly. He laid a gentle kiss next to her mouth. “You’re definitely getting sick. You have sick breath.”
“Matisse!” Horrified, she covered her mouth and pushed him out of the way to run down the hall and into the bathroom.
“Smooth.” Ryan appeared at the door. Leaning against the casing, he yawned into his shoulder. “Real smooth.”
“What? I wasn’t being mean. I was just letting her know.”
Proserpina, Ripley. Finding Truth (The Searchers Book 3). Kindle Locations (784-828).Kindle Edition.
There is much going on here, many things to resolve and not all the answers will be easy ones.
There’s Tyler who Cai needs to help, there’s the infamous Dr. Murray, relationship breakthroughs and so much more!
I really can’t wait for the next book in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Ripley!
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Ripley Proserpina spends her days huddled near a fire in the frozen northern wilds of Vermont. She lives with her family, two magnificent cats, and one dog who aspires to cat-hood. She is the author of the Reverse Harem series, The Searchers, Midnight’s Crown, and the young adult/fantasy duet, Wishes and Curses.