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From New York Times Bestseller, Pepper Winters, comes a delicious sinful hero.
“I met the man I wanted. But then he vanished, and a new man claimed me instead. My father approved, my colleagues congratulated, and behind closed doors, I was bedded by a stranger.
Noelle Charlston lives a fairy-tale life: a doting father, a powerful job, and a future blessed with financial security.
However, two meetings with two men changes her happy existence forever. First, she meets the man who makes her heart sing. Three years later, she meets the man who makes her blood quiver.
Broken-hearted from a teenage romance, Noelle’s freedom is no longer hers. It belongs to the stranger her father believes is her perfect match. The stranger who pulls his lies over everyone he touches.
Seduced and manipulated, Noelle gives into the mysterious Penn Everett. The lies he spins, the truth he hides, the mystery he weaves—it’s all enough to slowly erode the woman she is and turn her into something else.
Until her past collides with her present.
And it’s her turn to lie.
To everyone…including herself.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from reading so many of Pepper Winters’ stories, it’s that nothing is ever what it seems…that what looks to be the truth is often an illusion…that taking something or someone at face value only leads to disillusionment and perhaps even devastation.
The world Winter’s creates in her latest release, Crown of Lies, is one of camouflage…one where deceit and truth mimic one another, making it almost impossible to separate fact from fiction. Characters seem to always be maintaining a façade, never capitulating who they truly are or what their end goal may be, which makes truly trusting anyone, even those who seem to have one’s best interest in mind.
At the beginning of the story, it’s difficult to tell who Elle Charlston truly is because her businesswoman persona was forced upon her at a young age, stripping away her freedom, controlling her every act, and making her innocence more of a hindrance than anything else. She may be an astute and highly intelligent young woman who can command boardrooms with ease, but when it comes to living outside of the business world, she’s as inexperienced as it comes, which definitely makes her a target of treachery as well as someone whose emotions can be difficult to conceal, allowing for further manipulation and deceit. What fascinates me the most about Elle is that she seems to unknowingly be playing a part in a game that she doesn’t understand how to play due to her sheltered and isolated lifestyle, and for that reason alone, her entire life will be questioned and the actions she takes will lead to startling realizations.
The intrigue of Crown of Lies stems from the mystery that surrounds two individuals who, at times, seem identical in their attributes, but then in other places in the story, they seem to be absolute contradictions. Both men are extremely secretive, and while Elle knows Penn Everett’s name, it’s clear that accepting anything about this man according to the man himself is not a wise decision.
Elle seems to be stuck between the past and the present, and while she’s only known Penn for an insignificant amount of time, he holds more power over her than anyone else, which proves to be an error in Elle’s judgment due to Penn’s manipulation of Elle’s body and quite possibly her heart.
At the end of Crown of Lies, nothing is resolved; in fact, everything seems to be spiraling out of control, and while Elle may have learned some important truths about the men in her life, that information is anything but comforting. The only idea that’s made clear heading into Throne of Truth is that the way Elle handles the situations she finds herself in will dictate if she can regain control of her life or lose it in ways she never thought possible.
Pepper Winters, once again, crafts a deliciously dark, deceptive, and suspenseful story that will constantly have readers questioning who the characters truly are and whether or not they mean to save or harm…offer pleasure or pain…keep Elle a prisoner of her own life or free her from the chains that bind her, offering a fuller life along the way. I can’t help but conjure theories about the mysterious Penn Everett, and I can’t wait to see when and how Winters unearths those truths in book 2.
4.5 Poison Apples
About the Author
Pepper Winters wears many roles. Some of them include writer, reader, sometimes wife. She loves dark, taboo stories that twist with your head. The more tortured the hero, the better, and she constantly thinks up ways to break and fix her characters. Oh, and sex… her books have sex.
She loves to travel and has an amazing, fabulous hubby who puts up with her love affair with her book boyfriends.