The Twisted series by Ana Huang is a TikTok sensation and Twisted Lies is the fourth and last book of the series. It is a long, dark, spicy, slow burn romance and I didn’t want to put it down. Each story in the Twisted series is based on a different friend from a group of women that were college roommates – this is Stella’s story.
Stella Alonso has just been fired from her job at D.C. Style, a fashion magazine. Her boss felt her Instagram fashion feed was in competition with the magazine. Stella is a lovely person – she has been paying for her old nanny to stay in a dementia care facility, so she desperately needs to make money. Stella’s friend and manager, Brady, suggests she find a fake boyfriend because couple content is hot right now. They see Raya, a competitor of Stella’s, numbers go way up when she starts dating Adam, another influencer. Stella figures if celebrities can date for publicity, so can she. She doesn’t have time for a real relationship, so she starts looking for a fake fiancé.
Christian Harper is her billionaire landlord who lives in the apartment above her and has been having her water his plants in exchange for discounted rent. He is attracted to her although he is in denial about his feelings for her and hides them well except when his predictable jealousy is provoked. It’s actually sweet that Stella doesn’t realize how attracted he is to her. When he finds out about her fake dating plan, he offers an arrangement that will benefit them both: She will attend business functions with him in exchange for being her fake boyfriend.
Christian is a mysterious and powerful tech genius who is CEO of his own cyber security firm. He is hunting for a traitor in his own company who is helping a competitor steal his clients. He is also possessive and morally iffy when it comes to protecting Stella. When a stalker from Stella’s past reappears, Christian tells her it would be best if she moved in with him while he’s searching for the stalker because his apartment is like Fort Knox.
You may worry that this Christian has serious Christian Gray vibes. Worry not. His offer to Stella is one she welcomes and is genuinely helpful to her. Stella is terrified because the stalker had somehow gotten into her apartment and left a note. She knows she’ll be safe in Christian’s apartment, especially since he is a security expert and staying with him means she doesn’t need to put any of her friends or family in danger.
If I have one issue with this book, it’s that there’s more graphic violence than I like. For example, when an obnoxious guy gropes Stella at an event, Christian drops her off at home then unbeknown to Stella, he goes back to stab the guy in the hand. He wants to stretch out the torture longer but looks at the clock and realizes he needs to leave so he can pick up Stella’s favorite salsa for their taco dinner and so he ends up shooting the guy. If this kind of man isn’t for you, I doubt you’ll like this book. It worked okay for me – Christian is bold and determined and has his own code of ethics – he will take down anyone who gets in the way of Stella or his business.
Christian and Stella also end up traveling the world for Stella’s work. I enjoyed traveling along with Stella and Christian to beautiful locations around the world like Hawaii and Italy where Stella conducts her photo shoots with Christian going along to protect her. I also loved how supportive Christian is of her work and how he encourages her dream to become a fashion designer. Their emotional connection grows as does the sexual tension between them. It does take a long time for Stella to agree to make their relationship real but then, watch out, because it gets pretty damn spicy.
Christian has some secrets, hence the title Twisted Lies, and he is afraid if Stella finds out about them, he will lose her. The author does a good job of showing Christian’s background which helps us better understand why he is so cold, aloof, and dangerous. When they go to Stella’s home for a dinner, I cheered as Christian stood up to her parents when they hector her to get a real job. He tells them how creative, successful and kind she is. It’s wonderful to watch Stella, with his support, grow stronger throughout the story.
The book stands alone pretty well but I still wish I’d read the previous books in the series first. This is the last book in the Twisted series and I’m happy to report there is a new book out, King of Wrath, starring Dante, a friend of Christian’s.
I recommend this book to readers who like spicy romances with characters that are dark, dangerous… and a little twisted.
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Kayne Spooner is a retired science teacher, dog owner, and proud grandma who lives in beautiful Colorado. While she's an avid reader of all genres, romances have always swept her off her feet. Kayne gravitates toward stories with humor, swoon-worthy love interests, and memorable furry sidekicks, although really, if there's a happy ever after, she's here for it! She loves sharing her passion for books with the romance community and connecting with fellow readers. https://www.instagram.com/kspoonerfish/.
|Review Date:||December 16, 2022|
|Book Type:||Contemporary Romance|
|Review Tags:||twisted series|
I’ve enjoyed these Ana Huang books—especially TWISTED GAMES, a bodyguard-royal romance that is totally my catnip. Another thing I enjoy about the books is that the characters are generally of different ethnicities, but their ancestries are not their most defining element. I found this to be especially true in KING OF WRATH where the heroine is Chinese-American, her best friend is of Filipino ancestry, and the hero is Italian. N/A is not one of my favorite romance genres, but I think Huang does it just right.
I will check out Twisted Games. Thanks for sharing.