Brady Marshall has made a career of playing it safe. When he decides to do something rash and becomes a Navy SEAL, he thinks he's finally escaped the rigid structure of the high society life his parents forced down his throat. All he does is trade in one set of rules for another. He follows military protocol to a T, but it still results in the death of an entire team of Navy SEALS and puts his best friends directly in harm's way. He’s struggled to stay afloat and not drown in grief, guilt, and booze, but he's losing that battle quickly. When his baby sister flees her abusive husband and shows up on his doorstep with his young niece in tow, he has no choice but to clean up his act. He will stop at nothing to protect them and never let them down again, even if it means taking a job that goes against everything he believes in. If protecting a pop star princess who thinks she's better than everyone means he can keep a roof over their head, what other choice does he have?
Layla Carlysle has lived a life of luxury. She's been a star since the young age of fifteen, and every record she releases shoots straight to the top of the charts. She has people surrounding her every single day telling her how amazing she is, how beautiful she is, and how lucky she is, but she’s never felt more alone in her entire life. She wants nothing more than to break free and do what she really wants to do: write her own music, sing her own songs, and find a way to finally be happy with her life. The only thing standing in her way is her mother, Eve Carlysle. Eve has controlled every single aspect of her daughter’s life and will stop at nothing to achieve fame and fortune, even if that means using her daughter to get there. When an overly-amorous fan’s letters become increasingly more sinister, Brady will have to suck up his opinion of how the other half lives to take the job seriously. The pair will need to learn to trust each other and put aside their differences before the letters become a reality and someone’s life is in jeopardy.
Brady has been to hell and back, and he refuses to let anyone else get close to him again. Layla has never lived her life for herself, and the emptiness is threatening to break her for good.
Sometimes our lives are already planned for us, but because of you, all of that could change in an instant.
I could keep going because this book checks all the boxes for me. Because of You is the second book in Tara Sivec’s Playing With Fire series, which is one of my all time favorites. This book tells Brady Marshal’s story.
Retired from the Navy, ex SEAL Brady has a very bad run of luck and finds himself medicating his demons in the bottom of a bottle. He is at rock bottom, his business if floundering, the electricity is cut off in his office, he cant pay his sister who works for him, and his savings is dangerously low. Against his wishes he is forced to take on a job at his private investigating firm, that he has repeatedly declined. Brady is hired to investigate a string of letters that are sent to Layla Carlysle, a seemingly spoiled, young, beautiful, wildly famous pop star whose catchy songs are plastered all over the radio.
Brady soon finds out that there is more then meets the eye, and that the perfectly calculated appearance of Layla is nothing but a lie. As Brady investigates the possibility of a stalker, he digs further into the lives of Layla, her mother Eve, and her bodyguard and best friend Finn. Brady is forced to take on a more hands on approach with Layla as it becomes clear that the letters are not harmless, and that her life is in danger.
Brady and Layla leave terrible first impressions with one another, instantly disliking yet being attracted to the other. They walk away thinking the other is a terrible person, but upon spending time together, they realize that both of them are so far from the truth. They are drawn to each other, and in a world where Layla is forced to be someone that she isn’t, Brady sees through the bullshit to who she really is. As Layla and Brady fall in love, Layla’s life is torn apart by jealousy, anger, and a lifetime of lies leaving her half dead and her relationship with Brady destroyed.
I loved this book. Layla is a complex character. Her mother has perfectly crafted her public image into that of a pop princess. Always done up to the nines with flashy clothes, selling out arenas, and singing and dancing her heart out to hit after hit. She is rich, spoiled, arrogant, and with acception of one incident, her closet is free of skeletons. However, its all smoke and mirrors, the real Layla is a puppet to her mother who maliciously controls every single aspect of her life, down to what she looks like and wears. She has no friends other then Finn, who has been by her side since they were kids, and whom she has a completely platonic relationship with. Layla is tough but sensitive at the same time, and she has a wealth of untapped talent. She is a lonely, sad, miserable girl until she meets Brady. He is perceptive enough to see that everything about Layla is a lie, and as he gets to know her he discovers a strong, caring woman trapped in a life that she doesn’t want. The chemistry between Brady and Layla was amazing. The hanky panky in this book was hot…like really freakin page scorching, tingle making, hot. I also felt all of their emotions, the good and the bad.
I love this series, and this book was just as fantastic as A Beautiful Lie, but went in a completely different direction. Because of You is a love story between two people that on paper should not be together. Its exciting and had mystery and suspense mixed in with extreme deceit, romance and an emotional love story. I highly suggest this book! Book three in this series releases in January 2014, and will follow Brady's sister Gwen and Austin.
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