This is the first book I’ve read from Brighton Walsh, but I know it won’t be my last. Although I didn’t particularly LOVE the story, the beginning was super intriguing and overall I still really enjoyed it – what made the book for me was the author’s fantastic writing, which is spot-on for a suspenseful novel. I seriously fell in love with it – the writing was what had me hooked in the beginning and what kept me reading even when towards the end of the book things started to fall flat.
The premise of the book was seriously calling to me. A heroine who’s living a lie, on the run from a dangerous man, PLUS a second chance romance? Hell yeah, I was all in. And for the majority of the book, I dug it. I was intrigued by Evie, wondering what the hell was going on with her and why she was living as a different identity for the past five years. And when her cover is blown, Riley enters the story, enters back into Evie’s life. I was hooked onto their second chance romance. If I had to rate this book solely on the romance, it would get a perfect 5. I LOVED Riley and Evie together, because it’s clear that they’re meant to be together. They had such a sweet yet powerful relationship all those years ago, and they’re still connected even after five years.
“Anything can happen, except when you’re with me. No one is getting to you when I’m here. No one is getting through me. I’d have to be dead first.”
I fell so hard for Riley. I loved that we get his POV along with Evie’s, so we can see his inner turmoil at seeing the girl he loved as a teenager, the girl he thought died five years ago, back in his life again. He’s definitely my second favorite part about Exposed, right below the writing. Riley is protective, loyal, and sexy as hell in his determination to make sure Evie is safe – and the best part is that he can protect her, with the skills he learned during the five years he sought vengeance for Evie’s supposed death. Riley and Evie have some great chemistry and I loved the two of them together.
He was my past, the tiny flicker of light in a sea of darkness. He was my present, when everything was jumbled and uncertain, but where I’d be able to figure it out if I was with him. And I knew, with utter certainty, he was my future.
Evie was an intriguing heroine. She’s fierce, independent, and very cautious about starting anything with Riley again since she’s not sure she’ll be able to make it out alive after all is done. There’s also an aspect about her character that was heartbreaking that the author handled very well. I predicted what it was, but it wasn’t something I really wanted to be able predict. Evie is a strong heroine, though sometimes too independent, but I really liked her character up until a certain part near the end of the novel.
There are many layers to the story, what with someone after Evie, but I felt like the suspense, the action, was underwhelming. Evie and Riley spend the majority of the book holed up, hiding in an apartment, so not much happens in action-wise, though this is where their relationship regrows. So while I loved the romance, I didn’t get the amount of suspense that I wanted.
This book should’ve been perfect for me – it’s a second chance romance, my absolutely favorite trope, and the story was super intriguing, but the climax of the book was a bit disappointing, mainly because of how utterly annoyed at the heroine I was. She’s not stupid, but she does make a stupid decision at the end all in the name of ‘independence’ that had me rolling my eyes. At that point of the book, I was just not interested in the story anymore.
So would I recommend this book? Yes, because I still loved about 80% of the novel. The writing is flawless, and the characters were well-developed. Even with the couple problems I had with Exposed, I still really enjoyed reading it, and would definitely recommend it for the writing and second chance romance.
Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.