ARC Review: Keeping Secrets by Lisa Eugene

22 Oct 2015

Book Title: Keeping Secrets
Author: Lisa Eugene
Series: Standalone
Release Date: October 22nd, 2015
Genres: Dark Romance
Is that how a little girl sits?
No, Daddy.
How should a little girl sit?
Shoulders back and tummy in.
And how should a little girl look?
Always neat and pretty
That’s my girl.

Twenty-four-year-old Alexa Kennedy is beautiful, sharp as a whip, and at the top of her medical school class. She’s also been waging a war in her head for as long as she can remember. Depression. Hatred. Self-loathing. These feelings feed the pain inside her, fueling her quest for a perfection that she can never achieve.

In one life-changing moment, Dex Blakewell crashes into her world. Dex is funny, gorgeous, and irresistible. He chases away the darkness and fills her with light and laughter. An unusual friendship blossoms, making no demands or expectations.

Friendship turns into an unexpected love and a delicious passion. Alexa realizes that the only thing tethering her to sanity is their connection. But even Dex’s strength can’t keep her demons at bay forever.

When life overwhelms, the outside world starts to mirror her inner turmoil. And when Dex discovers she’s been keeping horrible secrets, will she finally shatter or find a way through the darkness? Will the promise of love be enough to save her from self-destruction?



The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. - Lao Tzu

There's a few things I can always count on with a book written by Lisa Eugene.

One, original plot. Her stories never seem to fit those cookie-cutter Contemporary Romance tropes we see day after day.

Two, she always incorporates something medical within her plotlines. More times than not, the H/h suffers from a certain condition - be it medical or mental impairments. Probably my favorite book written by her is Grayson which depicts a hero suffering from schizophrenia. I freaking LOVED that book. In using medical plotlines, I'm amazed she always seems to get it right in every way possible- medication, daily hospital grind, whatever. And being in the medical field myself, it's imperative to the success or failure of a book for me that author gets that stuff right.

Three, she incorporates a fairly complex journey of such, usually with a fair amount of emotional angst that isn't resolved with a snap of the fingers. It's realistic. I thrive on that in my books- realism and gut-wrenching attachment to the characters and their story. You know, that feeling deep within your gut where you put yourself inside the story and your heart bleeds right alongside them.

So...without further ado.

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Keeping Secrets, once again, didn't fail in giving me those elements I search for in an enjoyable read. The heroine is Alexa and she's a very driven fourth-year medical student. She's on her last year and she'll officially be an MD. When I say driven, it's to a fault. When getting second-highest grade on a practicum is a semblance of failure- it's that kind of driven. When a sudden phone call from the hospital alerts her to a critical (favorite) pediatric cancer patient, she finds herself flying through the streets to get to him in time. She did not bank on wrapping her car around a fancy sports car- and the driver being a very livid (albeit hot as hell) man. And so their story begins...

Dex is a successful financial advisor when he meets Alexa and pretty much his only goal is getting his priceless car fixed. But her practically fleeing the scene in pursuit of a sick patient leaves him to search for her. He didn't anticipate their bad first impression to turn into a fantastic friends-to-lovers story.

Keeping Secrets has all the elements of a friends-to-lovers trope but couple that with an emotional journey that would test the strongest of loves. Alexa and Dex had it all but Alexa was hiding a medical condition that risks not only their future together but her life. So here's the love/hate I have with this story. I was so angry with Alexa for lying to Dex over and over about her condition, yet the author, I believe, was being true to not only her character but the condition she truly has. My guess is 99% of people suffering from it lie to loved ones habitually. I'll spoiler tag her condition as it could possibly be a trigger for some readers. [highlight to see spoiler -- Alexa is bulimic. Severely bulimic for several years. --- highlight to see spoiler]

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I loved loved loved Dex in this book. He was so supportive of Alexa when I think most men would've run for the hills. When I'd first experienced Alexa's battle, I had a hard time with her yet when push came to shove and life stresses caused her condition to become life threatening, my heart broke for her. In fact, I cried. I'm not a crier in books but it's so so clear this author has some personal or professional knowledge of this battle. Because of that, of the clarity of everything, it left me truly raw inside. Yet everyone deserves a Dex. That man was a saint and he was the balm to my Alexa's heart.

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Keeping Secrets was an all-around full circle love story of two people who meet under the worst circumstances, both having secrets they're hiding, yet their love and commitment to each other shines through. It was a tearful, trying journey but, rest assured, Lisa Eugene gives us a heartwarming happily-ever-after. I loved the epilogue.

** Clarification - I'd been told this was a dark erotic romance. I kept waiting and waiting for it. Apparently that's in the eye of the beholder. There's nothing necessarily dark or graphic in this book. The subject matter related to her condition can be a bit raw, however, NOT dark by today's standards. There is zero actual violence yet the circumstances of how she was raised by a very controlling ruthless father (see quote in blurb) may bother hearts-and-flowers seeking romance readers. Feel free to message me for questions as I don't want to spoil plot. ** 

Advanced copy received by author in exchange for my honest review.


Lisa Eugene began writing as a way to mentally escape from the hectic medical world where she has been a practicing nurse for over twenty years. She loves to incorporate her medical background into her steamy, romantic reads. Her books are fast paced, emotional roller-coasters---and her fans always enjoy the ride.

When she's not plotting her next dangerous, fast-paced, sexy adventure, you can find her juggling a full time job, playing soccer mom, or curled up reading a good romance. Lisa loves hearing from fans; be sure to connect with her on Twitter at @lisaeugene43, or at

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