A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.
This review contains spoilers for JUST ONE NIGHT, the first book in this series. You can read JUST ONE LIE as a standalone. In fact, I think you might prefer it that way.
I still remember how blown away I was by Kyra Davis’s fantastic JUST ONE NIGHT serial. It was only three parts, but the plot was paced perfectly between them, with a relentless knife-edge tension that I rarely see in romance stories that aren’t dependent on physical threats to the heroine. So when I heard there was a follow-up book about that heroine’s doomed older sister, I was more excited than I probably should have been. Because although I did enjoy reading JUST ONE LIE, it was in spite of my elevated expectations, not because of them.
In the previous story, JUST ONE NIGHT, our heroine Kasie Fitzgerald had lived her whole life to her parents’ extreme specifications, never allowing herself to step out from behind their imposed facade of the good girl who never makes mistakes. After all, Kasie’s sister Melody made all the wrong decisions and that’s why she’s dead. Or is she? Because as we eventually discover in the opening chapters of JUST ONE LIE, Melody might be dead, but Mercy is very much alive, and trying desperately to stay that way.
Now the man who helped kill Melody, as Mercy keeps telling us, is back in her life and wants to pick up where they left off. Ash doesn’t seem like the best choice for Mercy but she can’t resist the pull, even as she’s becoming more drawn to Brad, the new drummer in her band. Which man will help Mercy heal from her tragic past, and which man will drag her back to the grave she thought she’d buried Melody in for good?
I’ll confess that although I knew this book was about Kasie’s sister, I was a bit lost at the beginning. Once I figured out what was going on, I was able to settle down and enjoy what turned out to be something completely different than what I had expected.
Because unlike JUST ONE NIGHT, JUST ONE LIE is a New Adult romance in every respect, and I was not prepared for that. Mercy made terrible choices as Melody, and continues to do so as Mercy for a major portion of this story. Ash was the guy who helped get Melody evicted from her home and life, yet she wants to him to be the one who saves her now. Brad is clearly the better choice, yet there there’s no clear path between them and real happiness either. Between the drama and a series of flashbacks and flash-forwards, it was sometimes only my need to see how all this tied back into Kasie’s story that kept me going. But once the book stopped jumping around in time and began its final approach to Mercy’s HEA, I was all in.
Although I did enjoy reading JUST ONE LIE, I honestly think I would have liked it more as a completely standalone book. The connection to the previous book set up assumptions that weren’t correct or fair. And that’s not the fault of the story, which is a touching romance about two people who eventually learn the right lessons from their past mistakes so they can be truly happy together. If you love dramatic angsty New Adult romance, JUST ONE LIE is what you want. It’s not JUST ONE NIGHT, but it’s still a good read.