Review: No More Masquerade (Secrets of Stone #2) by Angel Payne & Victoria Blue

Title: No More Masquerade
Author:  Angel Payne & Victoria Blue
Publisher/Year:  Waterhouse Press 3/6/18
Length:  200 Pages
Series:  Secrets of Stone #2

Overview

Behind every good man…is the love of an even better woman.

Those were just pretty words before I met Claire Montgomery. Before my fairy queen burst into my life, I wasn’t able to recognize the bastard in my morning mirror. But her love has given me the strength to face the imposter—even embrace him. With Claire by my side, I’m the king I always wanted to be, the Killian Stone I always dreamed of becoming.

Which means, for once, I want the mask guarding my secret to stay right where it is.

If you want the grown-up fairy tale…learn to love the dark side.

Profound sentiment. I wish I could get on board with it, but the prince in pinstripes has other ideas. Life has been a dream since Killian burst into the ball offering the perfect fit—his heart and mine. But the treasures he bestows have become his armor, hiding the man I yearn to know. I refuse to open his little velvet box until he opens himself, letting me see every last dark hallway of his soul.

My Thoughts

I was really excited to dive right back into this series since the ending of book one gave us enough to be happy and have the ‘feels’ but on the same note, gave us just enough to know that the dam was about to break and everyone would have to deal with the fall out.

There’s SO much that happens in this second book that it’s really hard to keep up with things. Everyone’s identity that you thought you knew isn’t the case – every secret possible will be dug up and relationships are tested beyond belief.

We start off this story with Killian and Claire really making an effort to be together – splitting time between Chicago and San Diego because of their respective jobs. It’s been months of back and forth and it’s taking a toll. We know that things will have to change, it’s just a question now of what the impetus will be for that.

Enter Killian’s money and romance and an extended vacation in Europe for Claire’s birthday. Seems like the perfect trip for a number of reasons. Quality time, a chance for Claire to get the answers that she needs from Kil and a chance for them to take their relationship to the next level. Things don’t go as planned when there’s stress between them because of Killian’s internal fears and then the worst happens – a fire at Keystone manner, leaving two men dying, and the story changed forever.

Killian’s real father is the first to pass and all the secrets that he was fighting to hide from Claire come out. Then Josiah Stone passes, and in his last moments, he reveals that Margaux isn’t who she says/thinks she is. This makes for world war 3 and well, more families and relationships torn apart.

The story goes way way downhill from there because everything Killian worked for is gone, Trey goes to the media with all their family secrets, Claire is pushed away and there’s no happiness to be found anywhere.

I’ll admit that while these bits of the story were exciting, there were many many bits that dragged for me and i had to trudge through in order to get to the point where i hoped things would turn around. It takes a lot of misery, some well placed pep talks and a homeless man to make things turn a corner, but where we end this second installment is a place that really isn’t close to where we began. Business is failing, relationships are still unstable and no one really knows who they can consider family and loyal. I honestly can’t wait to see where book three takes us, i just hope that it doesn’t have the same lull this one did which almost forced me to pause reading. Enjoy!