Book Review: Dirty Red (Love Me With Lies #2) by Tarryn Fisher
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
[quote]“I have done a number of things to keep this man. I have lied and cheated. I have been sexy and meek, fierce and vulnerable. I have been everything but myself.
I am who I am.
My name is Leah, and I will do anything to keep my husband.”[/quote]
Leah Smith is a catty, narcissistic, manipulative bitch, but she wasn’t always that way. Growing up in a loveless home, the only caring and support came from her younger sister. Leah was always the odd-man-out, the red-headed step-child. She fought hard for her position in life, her steel plated armor, and for husband, Caleb.
Meeting Caleb, Leah knew he was coming out of a relationship that had ripped him apart, but she was determined to fix him and make him hers. She was obsessed and in love from the beginning. Her manipulations and lies started just after their first encounter, but Leah had to have all of him. The way he affected her and made her feel was like nothing she had ever experienced.
[quote]‘The best thing about Caleb is not his perfect body, or his half smiles, or his even sexier voice…it’s his mannerisms. The teasing, the way he runs his thumbnail across his bottom lip when he’s thinking, the way he bites his tongue when he’s turned on. The way he makes me look at him when I have an orgasm. He can undress you with one look, make you feel like you’re standing naked in front of him.’[/quote]
Leah has ran Olivia out their lives twice already – once literally during Caleb’s bout of amnesia and then after by orchestrating her pregnancy, otherwise known as the keep-a-Caleb-baby. This latest manipulation should have been better planned by Leah. She really has not a maternal bone in her body.
[quote]‘On the way back from the airport, I crank up the radio and feel like a bird out of her nest for the first time. Estella starts screaming from her car seat five minutes into my bliss. What does that mean? She’s hungry? Carsick? Wet?
I had almost forgotten she was there…here…on this planet…in my life.’[/quote]
Leah’s callousness towards her daughter, Estella, and the fact that she really had no idea just how deep Caleb’s love runs for Olivia leads her and Caleb into a tumultuous battle, with Leah pulling out all the stops to keep her husband while trying to figure out what it is about Olivia that has captured Caleb’s heart. Can Leah pull out just one more lie or manipulate just a little further to keep her relationship going? Or will Caleb finally see through her and realize he really doesn’t know Leah at all?
Dirty Red is part of a series, but honestly you could get away with reading it first. The writing flickers from past to present, reliving the circumstances of Leah and Caleb’s introduction, relating the pangs with which Leah went through to work herself in Caleb’s life as a permanent fixture after his breakup with Olivia. This book/series is one of those gems you discover – a diamond in the rough. The writing, story, editing, etc. are so phenomenal that it’s unfathomable that Tarryn Fisher hasn’t been courted and/or picked up by a major publishing house. If you couldn’t tell, she is one of my most favorite indie authors.
Ugh, I don’t whether to be disgusted or to LOL…
“He won’t leave me. He thinks I’ll fall apart if he does.”
“Is that how you want to keep him? By manipulating his emotions?”
I shrug. “I try not to think about it, honestly.”
“Yeah, that’s kind of apparent. Why not just let him go? You could find someone else.”
I have the urge to slap him across the face. I light up a Slim instead.
“I won’t ever let him go. I love him too much.”
Sam smirks at me and plucks it from my fingers, stubbing it out on my granite. “Never?”
“Never,” I say. “Never ever.”
Sam points a finger at me. “That’s not love.”
I roll my eyes at him. “What do you know? You’re gay.”
Seems like its “game-on”…
“I should have let them throw you in prison, you know that.”
She turns away, walking toward her car door. Her statement infuriates me. I follow her, digging my fingernails into my palms, I breathe through my nose.
“So you could have him?” I blurt. My blood pounds in my ears. I ask myself that question all the time. I say it again. “You should have lost the case so you could have him?”
She freezes, looks at me over her shoulder.
I didn’t expect the truth. It frightens me. I open my mouth – force the words out. “I thought you loved you husband.”
She blows air through her nose. The action reminds me of an agitated horse. Her eyes rove from my shoes and land in disgust on my face.
“I love yours too.”
What an extremely apt description of love…
“Why her, Caleb?”
He looks at me blandly. I don’t expect him to answer. When his voice breaks the tense air between us, I stop breathing to hear him.
“I didn’t choose her,” his voice breaks. “Love is illogical. You fall into it like a manhole. Then you’re just stuck. You die in love more than you live in love.”
The seed of hate… Watch out for those roots!
Hate is such a prodigious feeling. It’s hot and oppressive like fire. It starts burning through you God-given reason until there is nothing left of it but a mound of ash. It moves on to your humanity next, hot tongues flicking across the few remaining threads of innocence until they melt into each other and morph into something ugly. Then, in the rubble of what you were, hate plants a seed of bitterness. The seed grows to a vine and the vine chokes what it touches. That’s where I am; the vine wrapped so tightly around my neck I can barely breathe. One hand is on that vine, the other is pressed against my chest to keep everything from falling out.
If you liked…
If you liked Dirty Red and want to know how the story began (and really, how could you not after reading Dirty Red), check out The Opportunist (Love Me with Lies #1). See my review of The Opportunist here. The next book in the series, Thief (Love Me With Lies #3), will be told from Caleb’s POV and has no listed release date yet. If you’re looking for another series with a twisty, manipulative, and angsty story line check out The Bitter End (Golden Crown #1) by Rue Volley. The second book in the series, The Twin Dragons (Golden Crown #2), is expected to be released July 13, 2013.
Dirty Red is…