Synopsis from Goodreads
On the outside, Lyle Tarpin is a clean-cut Hollywood actor whose star is on the rise. Inside, he’s battling his own demons, shunning relationships and finding solace in the arms of a string of anonymous women paid very well for their discretion.
But when he’s photographed in a compromising position by an over-eager reporter, the only way to save his career is to say that the woman he was with is his fiancée. And now Lyle has to play a very public game with the only woman who’s ever managed to get under his skin.
Struggling waitress Sugar Laine agrees to spend one night with Lyle—but only because she’s desperate to save her family home. She never expects that a night of passion will turn into a pretend engagement … or that the heat between them will blossom into love.
But sometimes love has a price.
And now the only question is—can Lyle and Sugar afford to pay it?
Julie Kenner creates such multi-faceted characters with deep emotional problems that will test your heart. In all honesty the situation in Wicked Dirty wasn’t something I thought I would be able to understand, but colour me very, very wrong. I was also really impressed with the way in which Julie weaves her other characters into the story in subtle ways, although it isn’t necessary to have read her other books to enjoy the story it does make you extremely curious to get the lowdown on all of the characters.
Sugar Laine lost her small family to a drunk driver five years ago, since that time she has poured her heart and soul into renovating their family home. Channelling her grief into something positive at the same time as redirecting her future. Unfortunately, the loan she needed for the renovations has a hefty repayment plan, so much so that Sugar is in danger of losing the only thing she has left of her family. Desperate to save her home, Sugar agrees to become an escort – going against her own morale code and sense of self. I adored Sugar for a lot of reasons, her work ethic, her ability to self-reflect and her desire to help others are some of the things that stood out.
Lyle is a whole mess of problems hidden behind the facade of Hollywood stardom. He is a very private person who tends to keep everything bottled up tightly until he nearly explodes, the one way he has of dealing with the past that haunts him is to release all his pent up frustrations via sex with an anonymous escort bound to secrecy via NDA. Which is where Sugar and Lyle’s lives intersect, although it doesn’t quite go the way either of them expects.
Lyle feels an emotional connection to Sugar from their first encounter, so when a swoon-worthy kiss between them goes viral, a fake relationship between them ensures Lyle can maintain his squeaky clean image. Julie creates such a compelling relationship between Sugar and Lyle you get lost in the pages and don’t really surface again until there is a resolution your heart is happy with.
Lyle and Sugar may be fake for the public but in private they are very real. They bring out the best in each other, with Lyle confronting his personal demons along the way. unfortunately, it isn’t possible to keep hold of all of his secrets when someone is determined to expose everything Lyle has tried to hide. Remember honesty really is the best policy. What Lyle quickly realises is Sugar sees and loves the person he is underneath all of his barriers and public persona.
Sugar has her own struggles which she deals with calmly, rationally and self-assurance. I really did love her.
I feel like I’m not doing Wicked Dirty justice with my review, mainly because I really did lose myself in the story and my usual analysis got lost along the way – the only thing I saw was the movie version playing in my imagination. Which to my way of thinking is one of the signs of a very good story xx