Series: Beneath Series #1
Published by Self-Published on 29th September 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy on Amazon US • Buy on Amazon UK
My name is Charlotte Agoston, and I’m a runner. Not the ‘let’s go for a jog and slap a 26.2 sticker on your bumper’ kind of runner; I’m the kind of runner who takes off when her father is staring down the barrel of a guilty verdict that carries a 175-year sentence for perpetrating the largest fraud in the history of the world. That’s right. Bernie Madoff was an amateur compared to Alistair Agoston.
Faced with living under a cloud of suspicion and constant questioning by the FBI, I ran. I’m making a new life in New Orleans as Charlie Stone. I traded my future in New York high finance for tattoos, booze, a few friends who don’t ask questions, and one giant mutt named Huckleberry Finn. Everything is simple and uncomplicated until Simon Duchesne—former hotshot Navy fighter pilot, NOLA’s favorite son, city councilman, and rumored congressional hopeful—walks into my life.
The flashing cameras he attracts threaten to expose everything I’m hiding, but I can’t seem to stay away. Why are the most dangerous ideas always the most seductive?
In trying to get lost, I found myself. And then I found Simon. He loves me, and he doesn’t even know my real name. I’m going to break his heart, but mine will shatter right along with it. This is our story.
Will we be strong enough to face the consequences of revealing what’s beneath this mask?
Reviewed by Shannon
*I received an eARC in exchange for an honest review*
“Don’t break my heart, Charlie.”
I slid my hands up through his dark hair, hoping he could see everything I felt for him. Everything I was afraid to put into words. “Not without shattering my own.”
Beneath This Mark had Charlotte running from her life in New York after her father was found guilty of embezzling millions of dollars. She ends up in New Orleans working at a tattoo parlor and the Humane Society. She changes her name to Charlie and hides behind tattoos and dark hair hoping no one recognizes her since she is still considered a person of interest to the FBI in her father’s case. While working at the tattoo parlor she meets Simon, councilman and future congressional candidate. Basically, not a guy you want to hang around with if you want to keep a low profile. Too bad Simon doesn’t get the memo.
I really enjoyed this book. I’ve never been to New Orleans but I definitely felt like I was there in this book. The whole city came alive and made me want to see it for myself. I also loved all the characters as well, especially Charlie and her dog, Huck. Plus how cute was it that she names him after Huckleberry Finn.
The story telling ability of Meghan was the highlight to me. A lot of times in books I feel like the characters keep secrets for dumb purposes, but in this book I felt like Charlie had a really good reason especially give how high profile Simon is. Plus, I loved how arguments were not dragged across multiple chapters. The characters said what they said even at times when I wasn’t sure whether or not they would actually say anything. The ending was just crazy awesome with everything that happened as well. At times, I was unsure how it was going to play out and whether or not it was even going to end in this book. But rest assured it does end in this book and had no cliffhanger. Phew.
The one thing I am uncertain about though is the very end. Throughout the book, I loved the actions and behaviors of the characters, but the end to me just didn’t sit right. I felt like it just didn’t make sense when you consider how real and somewhat level headed their actions had been up to that point. Most people will probably love the ending. I’m just one of those on the fence about it. It’s not a bad ending. It’s just not how I imagined it ending.
Overall, it was a very good book by Meghan March with great characters and an awesome setting. I can’t wait for Con’s story. You just know there is a great story underneath all the tattoos.
He reached a hand back and tugged his shirt over his head. I drank in his tanned skin and rippling muscles. He truly was a beautiful man. He kicked off his shoes and knelt at my feet to pull off my Chucks without untying the laces. It was a staggering realization to my champagne-soaked brain that he might have noticed I never untied them. What other details about me had he noticed that no one else would? I was crazy to think he’d never find out the truth. I never should’ve let it get this far. But how could I stop myself? He was so … perfectly imperfect, and I wanted all of him. For every second I could steal.
He reached for his belt and paused. “I’m staying tonight.” It wasn’t a question.
“Okay.” I reached for the hem of my shirt and started to drag it upward. He reached out, covering my hand with his to stop me.
“But if you take that off, I’m not going to be able to stop myself from having you.”
“Good.” I yanked at his grip, trying to get the shirt off.
He squeezed my hand. “No. Not tonight. The first time we’re together, you’re going to be stone cold sober, because I want you to remember every single thing I do to you.”
My insides turned hot and liquid. A pulse thrummed between my legs. “You already told me you’d put out. No take backs. It’s not fair.”
He leaned down and brushed his five o’clock shadow against my cheek before saying into my ear, “Tough shit.”
He pulled back, and I stuck out my lip and pouted. Simon caught it between his teeth and tugged before releasing it. “So fucking tempting. You have no idea.” He spun and looked at my bureau. “Pajama pants? And I know you own them. I distinctly recall a striptease that involved a pair.”
I huffed. “Second drawer from the bottom.” He opened the drawer, pulled out a silky pink pair, and tossed them at me.
“I’ll be right back. You better not be naked.”
“You’re such a hardass prude, Mr. Duchesne.” He took a step toward the doorway and gripped the top of the frame. His tongue swiped across his bottom lip, and his hazel eyes shifted from playful to serious.
“You’re worth the wait.”
He walked out of the room, and I heard the bathroom door shut.
I clutched the pajama pants in my fist as my heart tumbled further down the path of no return. A single thought crystallized in my head: Fuck. I could fall in love with this man.