Title: Wicked Heart
Series: Starcrossed Bk #3
Author: Leisa Rayven
Release Date: May 3, 2016

Liam Quinn is talented, gorgeous, and one of the biggest movie stars in the world.
He's also the only man Elissa Holt has ever truly loved.
After being out of her life for six years, he and his gorgeous fiancé are set to star in the new Broadway show Elissa is stage managing. The only trouble is, when late night rehearsals bring Elissa and Liam together, the line between what is and what could have been gets blurred, and one moment of weakness will lead to a scandal that echoes around the world.
Elissa knows that falling for Liam again would be a tragedy in the making, but as any good romantic will tell you, love doesn’t always follow the script.
From the very first pages, from those brutal words "He's engaged," the knots in my stomach began to twist. This book would hurt. This book would deliver all those feelings I both dreaded and craved, loved and hated, feelings exclusive to this series. The dynamic between Liam and Elissa would be their own, but would parallel Cassie and Ethan in the very best ways. Their heartbreaking history comes full circle when they're brought back into each other's lives through their work in the theatre. The similarities end there, however. While Elissa Holt is a stage manager in the theatre, Liam Quinn happens to be the most famous movie star in the world. And on his arm is his equally famous fiance.

Dare I say these words aloud, but I think I was more taken by Liam Quinn than I was by Ethan Holt. And I was seriously freaking slain by Ethan freaking Holt. True to form, Leisa Raven paints an exquisitely detailed picture of Elissa and Liam's story through glimpses into the past and through the excruciating state of the present. Despite how brutally painful this story is, in both the past and the present, there is simply no denying how delectable Liam Quinn is. He's charming and flirtatious and swoon-worthy and funny. Every word, every delicious look, every nuance of his intriguing personality instantly captivated me. Liam is the personification of a magnetic leading man.

The chemistry, the connection, the raw primal attraction between Elissa and Liam is a palpable thing that climbs from the page and claws the reader. It is impossible not to feel every lick of need and want and pain and lust and undeniable love between them. It is beautifully tortuous, this love story. I laughed out loud as often as I swooned. My heart strings twisted and panged as thoroughly as my stomach knotted. This story is wrought with humor and sarcasm and snark that is so perfectly timed, steam and sensuality so thoroughly built, romance so exquisitely eked. Part of me wishes I could read books like this everyday because it embodies all that I love in a novel. But the other part of me doesn't think my heart could handle that kind of stress.

Leisa Rayven demonstrates her wicked, twisted side with this story. It's cruel the way she so closely weaves humor and heartbreak. The flirty, witty banter between Liam and Elissa is so tightly juxtaposed with painful reminders of where these characters actually stand, that this book is just one festering ache. This story is so exquisitely executed, you'll momentarily forget how badly you've been injured by the truth, you'll find yourself laughing at the obvious comedic aspects of this story, leaving you painfully and unexpectedly blindsided by the fact that this story is slowly killing you. This devastating story is made that much more painful because of those moments of joy, of happiness, of peace, of hope, of laughter, because they are such a stark contrast to the sadness and longing and loss that is ever present, even in the most beautiful moments. This is a story about a woman forced to work each day with the man she loved and lost, a man she first lost to fame and celebrity and then lost to someone else. And even in those moments where their chemistry is so obvious, so delicious, so perfectly right, the blunt reality is that he isn't hers, he chose someone else, he doesn't love her back.

Leisa Rayven is such a smart writer, her sharp wit and remarkable character development shines bright in this book. Wicked Heart is high drama, high emotion, high angst, but it's funny, and romantic and delivers such a satisfying ending. While I tend to bring up Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet often, I don't feel it's necessary to read them before reading Wicked Heart. This story can absolutely be read as a standalone. But honestly, you'd be doing yourself a huge disservice by not running to read them all immediately. The Star-Crossed series is unequivocally one of the most unforgettably romantic, evocative, sexy, tumultuous, well-written series I've ever read IN. MY. LIFE. The way Rayven crafts a story, the way she molds the past with the present, the build with the devastation, the love with the loss, is unparalleled. Breathtaking. Masterful. Unforgettable. Unsurprisingly, Wicked Heart is one of my favorites of the year.

Jessica's Rating:

Writing has always been a passion for Leisa, and even though she originally intended to be an actress, it wasn’t long into her time at drama school that she began writing plays.
Those plays were bad. Very bad. Well, her friends thought they were good, but that’s because they were always cast in them and any opportunity to be on stage was met with an obnoxious amount of enthusiasm.
Since then, she’s honed her craft, and several of her plays have been produced and toured throughout Australia.
These days, playwriting has given way to fiction writing, and Leisa’s debut novel, BAD ROMEO, was published through Macmillan New York in December 2014. The sequel, BROKEN JULIET was released in April 2015, and the final book in Leisa’s Starcrossed series, WICKED HEART, will hit bookstores and kindles on May 3rd, 2016.
The Starcrossed series has gained hordes of passionate fans all over the world, and the books have now been translated into eight foreign languages. Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet have also featured on international best seller lists in Brazil and Germany.
Leisa Rayven lives in Australia with her husband, two little boys, three cats, and a kangaroo named Howard.
(Howard may or may not be her imaginary marsupial friend. Everyone should have one.)