From USA Today bestselling author Meghan March comes the final sexy standalone set in the Beneath world of New Orleans.
I used to believe there were lines in life you don’t cross.
Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. Don’t steal.
Until I learned people don’t always practice what they preach.
I turned in my badge and gun and walked away from everything.
Then I got the call no one wants, and I’m back in New Orleans.
What I don’t expect is for her to be here too.
Another line you don’t cross?
Don’t touch your best friend’s little sister.
She’s always been off-limits.
Too bad I don’t follow the rules anymore.
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In the previous six books of Meghan March’s Beneath series, each hero seemed to have his own sense of right and wrong, clearly understanding that the world is made up of gray areas – ones that define honor, justice, and duty in a variety of ways. All of March’s alpha males, regardless of social status or childhood growing pains, found their own path to journey – one that allowed them to succeed or fail based on their own merits, their own hard work, and their own persistence. A lot of the Beneath heroes walk a fine line in order to remain productive citizens of the city they adore, but there’s also a darker side to them – one that has allowed them to make a name for themselves amidst the bright lights and splendor of New Orleans.
The last hero in the Beneath series is unlike most of his predecessors. He’s never ventured from the right side of the law, at least not enough to draw attention to himself like other members of his family. Ever since meeting Detective Rhett Hennessy, it’s been made clear that he is a man of principles…a man whose honor code guides his every action, but at the end of Rix’s story, Rhett’s view of what it means to be a police officer and to wear the badge was shattered, drastically altering his views on his chosen profession and the men who vowed to serve and protect right along side of him. And with this new insight, Rhett’s world imploded, leaving him a shell of the righteous man he used to be and forcing him to change in ways he never thought possible.
When Beneath the Truth begins, Meghan March illustrates just how much Rhett has changed since he turned in his badge and left New Orleans; he no longer has a certain set of rules to follow, which means that he’s not afraid to do what needs to be done in order to protect those he loves and to uncover the truth beneath the lies and secrets that seem to reign over the city of New Orleans, its police department and even certain members of his family.
Rhett’s altered sense of right and wrong, although difficult for him to adjust to, allows him to acquire a better understanding of why good people do bad things and why, sometimes, breaking or bending the law is actually required to get the necessary results when lives are on the line and when it’s unclear whom to trust.
Ariel Sampson is no stranger to walking a fine line between right and wrong; her skills as a hacker, while technically not legal, help her to acquire much needed information and her analytical mind is used for good, which indicates that she and Rhett share similar outlooks on life regardless of how flexible she makes the rules.
I absolutely adored Ariel’s character. She’s by far my favorite heroine of the series; everything about her shows just how real and genuine she is. She may still be the awkward and geeky girl of her childhood and teen years, but that’s what makes her such a relatable and intriguing character. The fact that she gets lost in her head, babbles a string of inconsequential information when she’s nervous, and has no clue of her beauty or appeal endears her to readers, making us as infatuated with her as Rhett seems to be.
Meghan March does a great job of building Rhett and Ariel’s personal relationship. There is rich history between them – one that illustrates how both sides feel. Because readers are given dual perspectives, we learn the truth about Rhett’s feelings for his best friend’s sister and we’re able to see just how much he has always wanted Ariel despite the fact that she’s always felt invisible to him. Rhett is a loyal, respectful, and honorable man and that’s clearly shown in the steps he takes to claim the woman who he’s wanted for much of his life, concluding that it’s time he makes a play for Ariel’s heart, body, and mind.
The two main plot lines of the story – Rhett’s search for answers and his new relationship with Ariel – seamlessly intersect throughout the course of the text; in fact, as information is uncovered and discussions illuminate the truth, everything points to answers that neither Rhett nor Ariel want to accept because the facts rock their very foundation.
Meghan March’s Beneath series is one that I will never forget because the strong writing, the dynamic characters, and the complex story lines make it one of my favorite series of all times, and March’s send off for her characters was exactly what they deserved and it left a huge smile on my face reading about the whole crew together and ridiculously happy!
Wham. My heart slammed against my ribs as it sped up about twenty beats per minute.
The heat and delicious woodsy citrus scent radiating from his body did good things to me. Things that made me want to do very bad things to him. I wasn’t a seventeen-year-old virgin anymore. I knew my way around a man, but I had to admit, the hipsters in Cali had nothing on a homegrown Louisiana man like Rhett.
When he spoke, he leaned in so close that I could feel his breath on my ear. “You missed that shot on purpose.”
My gaze jumped from the sexy five o’clock shadow shading his jaw to his piercing green eyes.
“Wha-what are you talking about?” I smacked myself mentally when my old stammer kicked in. Of course he would cause it.
“That shot. You missed on purpose. I saw you adjust at the last minute. Why?”
I swallowed the saliva pooling in my mouth and decided to take the safest exit from this situation. Lying.
His eyes narrowed on me. “You’re lying and you’re terrible at it, just like you’ve always been.” He reached up and pressed his thumb to my left eyebrow. “You get a twitch right here.”
Oh my God. Rhett Hennessy is touching me. And what’s more . . . he knows my tell. He noticed me!
The fifteen-year-old inside me did a terrible cartwheel at the realization. Okay, more of a round-off. With a tumble in the grass to finish. Whatever.
But outwardly, I was trapped in that green gaze until he decided to let me go—or until I came to my senses.
I cleared my throat and sidestepped him. “Whatever you say, hotshot. I need another drink.”
Focusing on putting one four-inch heel in front of the other without biting it, I escaped to the table and reached for the whiskey glass I’d left behind, interrupting my brother and the waitress. They both stared at me as I chugged the contents.
I’d always wondered what it would feel like to have Rhett’s attention, and now I knew. In a word, it was . . . unnerving.
“How’s the game going?” my brother asked.
“Fine.” Keeping my answer short meant he couldn’t tell that I was lying. Heath wasn’t nearly as observant as Rhett.
Thanking the Lord that Heath obviously hadn’t been watching, I shrugged. “I guess.”
He glanced toward Rhett and then back to me. “The sister I know and love doesn’t lose at pool. Ever. Even to Rhett Hennessy.”
I lowered the glass to the table and straightened my shoulders. “Like they say, things change.”
He nodded slowly. “That may be true about most things, Flounder. But you’re a pool shark and we both know it.”
Before I could respond, Heath’s attention jumped back to the waitress. I took another ten seconds to gather myself, also known as drinking offensively in my mind, before I crossed the floor to face off against my former obsession.
“You all right, Red?” Rhett asked.
“Don’t call me that. And I’ve never been better.”
His gaze dipped to my feet and dragged up my body. “I can agree with that statement.”
Whoa. Who is this guy with the innuendo? A glance at his empty whiskey glass told me he was drinking heavily as well. Was this the booze talking? Or was Rhett Hennessy not just noticing me, but noticing me?
Either way, I had to play it cool. Or at least pretend to play it cool, since it seemed I might fall short.
“Your turn, hotshot. Better not miss, because I’ll clear the table next time,” I said, but my cocky attitude backfired.
Rhett didn’t miss. He sank his balls and then the eight, ending the game almost as quickly as it started. He returned his cue to the rack and turned to face me, all traces of the earlier heat banked, his expression shuttered.
What the hell just happened?
Meghan March has been known to wear camo face paint and tromp around in woods wearing mud-covered boots, all while sporting a perfect manicure. She’s also impulsive, easily entertained, and absolutely unapologetic about the fact that she loves to read and write smut. Her past lives include slinging auto parts, selling lingerie, making custom jewelry, and practicing corporate law. Writing books about dirty talking alpha males and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees is by far the most fabulous job she’s ever had. She loves hearing from her readers at firstname.lastname@example.org.