Title: The Lie
Standalone Novel
Author: Karina Halle
Release Date: February 15, 2016

Their love led to a lie.
Their truth led to the end.
Scottish enigma Brigs McGregor is crawling out from the ashes. After losing his wife and son in a car accident - and, subsequently, his job - he's finally moving forward with his life, securing a prestigious teaching position at the University of London and starting a new chapter in the city. Slowly, but surely, he's pushing past the guilt and putting his tragic past behind him.
Until he sees her.
Natasha Trudeau once loved a man so much she thought she'd die without him. But their love was wrong, doomed from the start, and when their world crashed around them, Natasha was nearly buried in the rubble. It took years of moving on to forget him, and now that she's in London, she's ready to start over again.
Until she sees him.
Because some loves are too dangerous to ever rekindle.
And some loves are too powerful to ignore.
Can you ever have a second chance at a love that ruined you?
The Lie is a second-chance romance with a dark, forbidden twist.

"Our love was wrong. 
A lie we told ourselves. 
And it cost us the world."

The Lie is a raw, palpable romance plagued with devastation, heartbreak and uncertainty. It's a powerful story of longing and ferocious love written in Halle's lush, fiery writing style. This is a taboo story, a forbidden romance, a heartbreaking tragedy, a second chance wrought with passion and sensuality and stellar characterization, all swathed together by Halle's exquisite writing. This story is magnificent. Truly. I want to weep because I loved it so much, loved these characters so deeply, and because I'm moved and awe inspired by what this author can create with some choice word placement. It's amazing to me that we're all given the same 26 letters in the alphabet to use each day yet Karina Halle is able to mix them up in such a way that this devastating, unforgettable piece of magic was born.

Within a handful of paragraphs upon starting this book, several things became abundantly clear. First, this story would gut the hell out of me. Brigs McGregor has a tragic story to tell and it was going to hurt. Second, Karina Halle's writing, I swear, is far more stunning than I remembered, and I remember it being pretty freaking beautiful. Her sentences, her words, are simply breathtaking. Third, I'd decided that if, between the stunning cover, the captivating prologue, and the superb writing that seemed to just wind and melt and flow from the pages, this didn't turn out to be one of my absolute favorite stories from this author, I'd be stunned. And yes, I'd decided all of this midway through chapter one.

This is a story that forces the reader to see rightness in all the wrongness. It doesn't make excuses for impropriety, it doesn't try to justify betrayal. It's simply an authentic, honest depiction of humanity. It's a story of love and chemistry born in the most unexpected circumstances. It's about decent people doing the decent thing and it still not being enough to prevent the catastrophic effects of colliding hearts. You may only see selfishness in this type of romance, but all I see is sacrifice. You may think that this is a black and white story of emotional infidelity but I see a story of honor and respect. You may believe this is a story of lies and deception, but all I see is truth. So much truth. 

Halle's scintillating writing style and ardent storytelling set all of her books apart for me. She's one of the most versatile romance authors I've ever read. The pithy prose and the crisp voice exclusive to this author juxtaposed with the profoundly magnetic characters and their emotional journey in The Lie makes for a story a reader will undoubtedly get lost in. I certainly did. You should never open one of Halle's books expecting it to feel similar to one you've read before and that's never been more true than with The Lie. The previous books in this series are all unforgettable love stories in their own right, but they feel much more modern compared to this book. The Lie has such a unique tone, fitting for such extraordinary characters and an even more extraordinary love story. The Lie feels more classical, transcendent, timeless. The Lie is everything an epic romance was ever intended to be and I won't soon forget it.

Jessica's Rating:

Without even thinking, I end up in Natasha’s neighborhood, on her street. I pull the car over and stare at her building. I can drive off. I can go blow off some steam with Lachlan. I can drive and scream and wish to god that things were different.
But I don’t want to do it alone.
I get out of the car and head to her flat.
I knock on her door, wondering if she’s even in, if she might still be sleeping. It’s still early on a Saturday and we don’t see each other on the weekends without it being work related, such as seeing a classic film at the cinema. I hadn’t planned to talk to her until Monday, her last week of work as my research assistant before going back to London.
My heart pinches at that thought.
She’s leaving me.
What the hell am I doing?
But then the door opens slowly and she’s staring at me with wide eyes, her hair piled on top of her head in a messy bun, a fluffy robe around her body.
“Sorry,” I say quickly, immediately feeling bad. “Did I wake you up?”
She yawns. “Kind of, but I should be getting up anyway. What’s, um, up?”
I rub my lips together. “I…I wanted to know if you wanted to go for a drive?”
I shrug. “I don’t know. Far away. But not too far. I have to be back by twelve-thirty for Hamish.”
“What time is it now?”
She rolls her eyes. “And you were wondering if you woke me up. I should still be sleeping for at least another two hours.”
I nod, embarrassed at my enthusiasm. I’m being inappropriate. “I should go.”
I turn around, but she reaches out and grabs my arm, holding tight. “No, don’t,” she says. “I want to go with you. Just give me five minutes, okay?”
I turn to look at her and she’s flashing me a persuasive smile.
“I’ll be in the car,” I tell her.
Somehow she’s true to her word. In five minutes she’s jogging down the steps of her building, dressed in jeans and a tank top that shows off the tawny warmth of her summer tan. She hasn’t touched her hair at all; it’s still up in that bedhead bun, and there isn’t a bit of makeup on her. She doesn’t need it. She looks joyful. She looks absolutely beautiful.
“You’re fast,” I tell her as she slips into the passenger seat.
She giddily drums her hands across the dash and beams at me. “I’m fast when I want to be. I love this car. Where are we going again? Oh right, somewhere far away. Can we get coffee first? I’m dying.”
I can’t help but grin at her as I turn the key. The car starts on the first turn. She’s my good luck charm. “You don’t seem like you need coffee.”
“I always need coffee,” she says emphatically. “You know this. So where to?”
“I honestly don’t know. You pick.”
“Do you have a map?”
“Of Scotland?”
I nod at the glove compartment. “In there.”
She opens it and it falls open with a clunk. She takes out an old faded road map and starts looking it over.
“Anything strike your eye?”
“I’m looking for Loch Ness.”
“That’s too far.”
“Okay, is there like another lake with a swamp monster?”
“Nearly all the lochs are in the Highlands.”
Arrrrrrrrrr in the Highlands,” she says playfully, imitating my accent.
“Okay, maybe no coffee for you.”
“Don’t be cruel, Professor Blue Eyes.” She goes back to studying the map but the mention of my nickname makes a small fire build inside me. And not one of anger.
She points on the map. “Here. Balmoral.”
“That’s where the Queen lives.”
“I know. I want to say hello.”
“It’s a two-hour drive,” I point out.
“Well, then we better get cracking,” she says. “The Queen is expecting us.”
She’s definitely full of spirit today. It seems to latch onto me and I ingest it like a tonic. She’s erasing all the humiliation and pain from the morning.
We head out of the city, taking the A-90 to the M-90 and speed north. After we get her some coffee and we share a couple of sausage rolls for breakfast, I warn her that we literally will see the estate and have to head back. But she doesn’t mind.
And honestly, neither do I. I crank the old radio on the car to pick up an oldies station playing a special on Otis Redding. The day is warm and gorgeous, and even though we’re going fast, our windows are down, enjoying the wind and the sun on our skin.
About an hour into our drive, Natasha turns to me and says, “Tell me the truth. Why did you come to get me this morning?”
“Was it that unusual?” I ask without looking at her.
“Yes,” she says. “The last time you came to my house without me knowing…”
“Back then I was following up on an email. I wanted to know if you were all right,” I tell her before she can tell me anything else about that night.
“And now I want to know if you’re all right,” she says gently.
I glance at her. There’s a softness in her eyes that undoes me. I grip the wheel hard, conscious of my every movement and how they might appear to her. A good man, after the night she kissed me, the night I kissed her right back, would have never been alone with her again.
But I’m not a good man.
I’m a man who is slowly but surely falling in the wrong direction.

With her USA Today Bestselling The Artists Trilogy published by Grand Central Publishing, numerous foreign publication deals, and self-publishing success with her Experiment in Terror series, Vancouver-born Karina Halle is a true example of the term "Hybrid Author." Though her books showcase her love of all things dark, sexy and edgy, she's a closet romantic at heart and strives to give her characters a HEA...whenever possible.

Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her fiancĂ© and rescue pup.


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