Naya’s step-brother Lachlan has been absent from her life for a decade, during which he’s becoming a darling of the Manhattan food scene. Sometime over the course of their respective parents’ short marriage (his father was married to her mother) Naya and Lachlan became romantically involved, until for some, still unknown reason, Lachlan called a halt. Naya has never understood what drove them apart all those years ago. Sure, their romantic relationship may have been regarded by some as taboo, but they aren’t blood relatives and their parents’ divorce was almost as brief as their marriage. Naya is not really concerned about that, however, as long as she can reconnect with Lachlan. Of course, it’s not as simple as that, and this tale of chemistry, family, love, secrets, betrayal, and hope unfurls as we find out why.
Clearly, the second word in the first paragraph is going to go a long way towards your decision as to whether or not you want to read Seared. The fact that Lachlan’s father and Naya’s mother were once married is not inconsequential, and while Lachlan’s father is dead, Naya’s mother is not. She is a main character in this story, which forces the reader to wrestle with their understanding of ‘taboo’ alongside the characters. I say all of this right now, because I know for some readers it will not matter how often I tell you this is an extremely well-crafted book (it’s beautiful) or how compelling their love is – the stepsibling thing is not a trope that appeals to everyone.
Thus, you have been warned.
If this trope is one you’re open to, I think this may be the best example of it out there. Not only is the drama behind Lachlan and Naya’s separation compelling, but their connection is stunning. I fell completely for these two and found myself rooting so very hard for their happily ever after. I think you will too.
What I can reveal of the plot is straightforward. Naya and Lachlan were in love many years earlier, before Lachlan coldly broke with Naya and cut off all communication. She’s never figured out why but has spent the intervening decade learning exactly who she is – sexually, physically, emotionally – and is now back in Manhattan determined to get her man. Lachlan has some damn good explanations for his behavior, but he’s still not quick to offer them to Naya due to his belief that all of his actions are protecting her. Minor spoiler: they are and they aren’t.
The idea of ‘taboo’ that I’ve been talking about, by the way, is not my judgement statement on the couple, but one they speak about frequently themselves. The PoVs of both characters tell us that the fact that they are publicly referred to as siblings – Lachlan’s father was in the public eye and Naya’s mother is a prominent woman in her home city of Mumbai – while privately behaving as anything but is a hurdle they have to deal with.
Any sort of explanation beyond that statement would risk explaining too much. I do believe, however, that you don’t really need to know in advance what happens in Seared to choose to read it. This is a sumptuous story, and if you’re willing to take the journey with these two, I have a feeling you won’t regret it.