Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Publication Date: July, 10, 2012
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Something old, something blue, something deadly…what else is new?
Secret McQueen, Book 4
It’s a nice day for a white wedding. At least that’s what Secret McQueen is hoping for, with her poofy-princess-dress marriage to a werewolf king looming closer and closer by the day. But as ever, nothing can be that easy for a vampire/werewolf hybrid for whom someone still harbors a death wish.
Summoned to the south by her werewolf uncle, who makes no bones about the fact her mate bond with Lucas doesn’t pass muster, Secret learns her furry heritage looks more like a tangled vine than a family tree. Getting her royal uncle’s blessing hinges on finding one of the missing twigs. Even with vampire sentry Holden Chancery at her side, she manages to land up to her neck in a swamp of trouble.
As an assassin’s scope zeroes in, family dramas boil up and a fast-collapsing love square threatens to bury her alive, making it to the church on time could be the least of Secret’s problems.
Contains a grumpy bride who shouldn’t be wearing wedding white, a motley crew of bridesmaids, a dangerous scenic drive in the woods and a smoking-hot trio of suitors who might be too scorching to touch.
I’ve already read Keeping Secret a few times and I’ll commence with the fan-girl squealing in a moment but there’s something I have to rant about first. If I NEVER hear Billy Idol’s White Wedding again, I’ll die happy. It was Secret’s ringtone and every time I see the cover, I hear it. I’ve had that earworm for months now and I’m really looking forward to getting rid of it if I ever can. Well, on the plus side, at least it’s not Nickelback (obligatory Canadian joke, since Sierra’s Canadian and enjoys them like I do).
The time has finally come for Secret to get it together and marry Lucas, one half of her were soul-bond who’s also King of the Eastern packs. Her uncle Callum, King of the Southern packs, is making a stink about it, mostly because he wants to make a territorial grab. He complicates things, because in the archaic world of were traditions, birth makes Secret a Princess of the Southern pack and Callum can decide whether or not she can marry Lucas. They pack up and head to Louisiana, joined by Holden, on Sig’s order to protect Secret which does not make Lucas a happy were. In typical Holden style, he didn’t care, very stylishly.
Considering what a pain in the rear he’d been in the last book, Callum was suspiciously mellow and almost fatherly in Keeping Secret. Of course he had a condition to agreeing to the marriage but he also had some good advice and gloomy foreshadowing. Secret being Secret, she blows off her gut feeling in matters of the heart and proceeds to make a muck of things with her relationships. All of that heartache is good for one thing though – the badass, scary Secret has come back out to play and she’s not afraid to get her dress a little bloody. When she whips out her katana or Sig Sauer, I swear I swoon just as much as I do when Holden shows up naked.
Secret continues to be one of my favorite UF heroines which amazes me, since these aren’t really long novels where you go full-on into characters and this is Sierra Dean’s first time writing. She’s just that awesome. Secret is brilliant when it comes to fighting strategy and completely out of her element when it comes to matters of the heart. Secret is half-were, half-vampire though, and she’s soul-bonded to two werewolves, has a metaphysical ward-bond with a vampire and they all tend to be creatures of instinct. The thing is, they know it, know about each other and are miserable about it. It never has been a comfortable thing, but it’s not sleazy and even if I have my personal preferences about who Secret should be with (*cough*), the storyline has worked pretty well as is. At the end of each book I’m supposed to be getting closer to figuring out who she’s going to end up with – just as I think I’m ruling someone out, I remember how devious Sierra Dean is and put them back in the running. I just don’t know, which is part of the fun. Secret doesn’t have any involvement with anyone that isn’t complicated, but if she has affection for you or feels responsible for you and anyone messes with you, that person better run fast. She’s loyal and deadly. Keeping Secret is Secret distilled to Everclear proof.
I’ve always been less than enthusiastic about the fur-boys, but I might have understood them a little better in this book. I was completely revolted by Lucas and what an autocratic, stick-up-his-butt, selfish jerk he was, but that’s not totally new, just to a new level. I did get a better understanding about how important pack unity and pack politics work, so while I will never say I sympathize with him, I can at least say I saw why he thinks gold coins fly out of his rear end. Desmond continues to annoy me with his beta behavior but for once, he did something that was good for Secret for the right reasons at the right time, making me wonder if he’s a better man than I thought. Nah. He’s cute in a tortured sort of way, but it’s wearing thin. I wish he’d eat somebody and prove he’s a big bad wolf or just slink off, but I’m mean that way.
Then there’s Holden. The sexy, urbane vampire is becoming more protective of Secret and it’s a little sweet, a lot hot and a little sad for me. I want her to choose him because I like him. I have no idea if she will because she never does what I want! I like how his relationship with her has been the one to develop slowly as he went from mentor to friend to protector once she became a Tribunal Leader. He’s always there but he doesn’t steamroll like Lucas and he doesn’t cling like Desmond. I’m not sure what Sig does. My sexy, enigmatic, shirtless Scandinavian Tribunal Leader likes to alternate between making Secret feel threatened and a little curious. He’s obviously interested in her for something – he goes to great lengths to protect her, guide her and help her – but is it romantic or some sort of power thing? I have zero idea.
For me, that’s one of the appeals of the series. As much as it pains me to admit it, I love never exactly being able to know where the story is going. The guessing is as much fun as the figuring out, everyone’s character growth worth characters I don’t like having good things happen to them. The plot may be loaded with danger, action and heat but it also has moments of, “holy crap, that was hilarious.” Sly, snarky and snorting humor – I’ve always grinned reading this series but I was actually laughing, yes, out loud, reading Keeping Secret.
There’s even more. Four words: Cedes, Brigit, Kellen and Shane. Secret’s sidekicks shine brightly, especially the ridiculously adorable and silly Brigit. In December, A Low Down Dirty Shane is coming out, part of a new series called Misfits and Mayhem, which I am hoping like mad is an offshoot of the Secret universe and is a series of standalones featuring all of the wonderful side characters.
My Summary: I could go on for ages about why I didn’t want this book to end and why I’m fervently hoping Sierra Dean never gets bored with Secret and keeps writing about her but I won’t. I can say this is my favorite book in the series because I’ve read them all and been on the journey with Secret and her friends, messiness and all. If you haven’t read the books, I really recommend them, but starting at the beginning will give you a huge appreciation for where the characters are now. The beauty of these books being published by Samhain is that they’re almost ridiculously inexpensive and you can buy the entire series to date for a song.