Nine years to win her. Three years to love her. And one decision that destroyed it all.
April Duncan was raised with three clear truths: the family name is absolute, ambition and success rule over every emotion, and love always comes with strings attached. Image was everything in her carefully crafted world… until the mirror cracked.
Sean Taylor was April’s best friend, the one man who taught her it was okay to let her guard down and to rely on someone. She trusted him. She loved him. Which made his deception the darkest kind of cruelty.
Now, nearly a year later, she’s ready to leave her failed engagement in the past and get back her life and her estranged family, even if it means dating a man solely for his connections. She’ll never again choose love over loyalty.
Sean has spent his entire life breaking barriers, facing challenges, and never giving up. Until one impossible choice destroyed his future and left him no option but to flee from the woman who annihilated his heart.
Now he’s back in Bentwood and determined to make her hear the truth and rebuild the trust he shattered. But April has become a mere shell of the woman who claimed his heart long ago.
Winning her back is more than just seizing a victory, because if he fails… the girl he’s loved for a lifetime will disappear forever.
No one writes brokenness and redemption quite like Tammy L Gray. Since I first discovered her books, I’ve learned I can count on Tammy to take me on deeply emotional journeys with imperfect but utterly human characters.
The Truth Between Us is the second book in her Bentwood series and features April and Sean’s story. I first met these two “Bentwood brats” in Until I Knew Myself. Sean charmed me just like he did everyone else, despite his limited “face” time. However, I found April abrasive and difficult to relate to. So, I was very curious to see if Tammy could make her more lovable and easy to understand.
Well, April is still a difficult personality, but I developed a surprising amount of compassion for her. Having been raised in a family and lifestyle, where image is the main priority and love is a weakness, April is torn between her head and her heart, not to mention her family’s approval and Sean’s unconditional love. April’s hard exterior is a protective measure for her secretly soft heart. Vulnerability scares her and motivates many of her decisions. Because the one time she did take a risk and opened her heart to Sean, he made a decision that she viewed as a betrayal. It also caused her to lose her family.
Sean and April may appear to be completely different and in many ways they are. But Sean fights hard for April, because he sees the softness and tenderness she keeps buried. Sean is an interesting character as the joking jock of their bunch of friends, but underneath the surface is a fierce loyalty, steady character and a remarkable ability to forgive and believe the best.
As much as I admire Sean’s persistence and compassion, The Truth Between Us is really more focused on April’s journey learning to receive love. This exploration is necessary, but unfortunately it comes at the expense of Sean’s character development. I really wish there had been more explanation of Sean’s personality, history and how he became a man who loves April in the face of her rejection and anger. I have so many question still surrounding Sean. However, there is still more to come in this series, so maybe more will be revealed.
I enjoyed revisiting the camaraderie and relationships among the original five friends that make up the Bentwood brats. These friendships add another layer to the romances that are featured. These are people who have grown up together, know each others’ strengths and weakness and remain loyal even in the midst of testing the boundaries of their relationships. It also provides a strong contrast with April’s family forcing her to consider who really deserves her allegiance.
Once again, with The Truth Between Us, Tammy Gray has proven to be a writer of stories with truth and soul. She continues to expand her skill in exploring themes of family, friendship, trust, brokenness and redemption. This is why I will continue to recommend her books to everyone I know.