Kenzie Owens was so much more than the parts that made up her past, and he was once again in awe of her.
Kenzie Owens hoped she could finally move on now that she left behind her abusive ex-husband and moved to Whiskey to take a job as an innkeeper. She never expected to find herself attracted to her boss’s son, especially when relationships are the last thing on her mind. As owner of the bar and restaurant attached to the Inn, Dare Collins is not happy that his parents hired an innkeeper without any of his or their family’s input. Dare has no interest in a “city girl” making changes and between his work and his struggle to get more visitation with his son, Dare doesn’t have time for an inconvenient attraction. When Dare and Kenzie end up in bed together they both know its a mistake but agree to see where things go and to keep it casual. But emotions quickly run high, especially when Kenzie’s past shows up in town.
I liked Whiskey Secrets but it doesn’t really stand out for me and I will admit my interest lagged a bit at the halfway point. However, I enjoyed the Collins’ family and their closeness; it’s clear this family relies on each other and takes care of each other. Set in the small town of Whiskey, each of the brothers seems to hold an important place in the town but overall we didn’t really see much of the town outside of the Inn, bar, and restaurant. Kenzie and Dare jump into bed pretty quickly and I’m not completely sold on their instant lust and love. After all, Kenzie flinches from a touch on the shoulder by her female boss, but doesn’t seem to struggle with Dare at all, with the exception of asking not to have her arms held.
I really enjoyed Kenzie as a heroine and I can’t help but admire the journey that she’s been on. Like many women in the same situation, Kenzie didn’t realize just how isolated and controlled she was by her husband until things came to a critical point. Now that Kenzie is away from her ex she’s determined to find the person that she was before and relearn her passions. I enjoyed watching her make friends in Whiskey, find success and happiness in her work and eventually fall love with Dare. Kenzie is the epitome of a strong and compassionate woman who isn’t afraid to put herself out there and learn from her past. Dare was also an enjoyable character, if a bit rough and grumpy at times. Him and Kenzie don’t start off on the best foot but it’s clear that Dare is not intentionally trying to be mean, he just has a lot on his mind and isn’t used to losing control of anything. Although we don’t see much change in Dare’s personality I did enjoy watching him care for Kenzie as they grow closer. I also felt for Dare’s custody situation and I wish that he wasn’t always defending his ex, Monica, because her actions don’t really make her seem like the nice person Dare keeps saying she is.
Though I felt that things flowed pretty well and the story was interesting there were times where the writing felt a bit rote and mechanical. The sentences were all correct but sometimes it felt like they were missing the substance behind the words. This was my first book by Carrie Ann Ryan so I’m not sure if the writing style is indicative of the rest of her work or not. Even with a few problems, overall, I didn’t mind the writing and for the most part it didn’t detract from the story. I do plan to try out the Montgomery Ink series of which this book is a spin off for and I also plan to read the next one in this series.
Content Note: references to past abuse
••• Book Details •••
Whiskey and Lies #1 • Romance, Contemporary • January 2, 2018
Sparks fly between a former cop-turned-bartender and his new innkeeper in the first installment of a Montgomery Ink spin-off series from NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan.
Dare Collins is a man who knows his whiskey and women—or at least that’s what he tells himself. When his family decides to hire on a new innkeeper for the inn above his bar and restaurant, he’s more than reluctant. Especially when he meets the new hire. But he’ll soon find that he has no choice but to work with this city girl and accept her new ideas and the burning attraction between them.
Kenzie Owens left her old life and an abusive relationship behind her—or so she thought. She figures she’ll be safe in Whiskey, Pennsylvania but after one look at her new boss, Dare Collins, she might still be in danger, or at least her heart. And when her past catches up with her despite her attempts to avoid it, it’s more than her heart on the line. This time, it might mean her life.