This review may contain spoilers, so fair warning, upon reading the review.
About The Book
There are some people in life who know exactly how to push your buttons. For me, it’s Rye Peterson. We can’t spend more than ten minutes together before we’re at each other’s throats, which makes working together that much harder. Rye is the bassist for Kill John, the biggest rock band in the world, and I am his publicist. It doesn’t help that the man is gorgeous, funny, talented, and…never takes anything seriously. Avoidance is key.
But everything changes when he overhears something he shouldn’t: a confession made in a moment of weakness. Now the man I’ve tried so hard to ignore is offering me the greatest temptation of all—him.
Brenna James is the one. The one I can’t have. The one I can’t get out of my mind. Believe me, I’ve tried; the woman loathes me. I managed well enough—until I heard her say she’s as lonely as I am. That she needed to be touched, held, satisfied. And I could no longer deny the truth: I wanted to be the one to give her what she craved.
I convinced her that it would just be sex, mutual satisfaction with nothing deeper. But the moment I have her, she becomes my world. I’ve never given her a good reason to trust me before. Now, I’ve got to show Brenna that we’re so much better together than we ever were apart.
Things are going to get messy. But getting messy with Brenna is what I do best.
“I know you,” he says softly, firmly. “I’ve spent years trying not to learn you, and failing.”
Exposed was such an interesting installment of the series and its one that we have been waiting on as their story has been building over time. I never know how I am going to feel about the enemies to lovers type of trope, not that these two are true enemies, just very conflicted with each other but still have such a tight strong bond. I was fascinated by seeing how this author would implement this story and this pairing here. I did know that this author has yet to disappoint me, especially with this series so far and I ended up really loving this one. It had me in the feels and honestly most of the story I was at a 4 star until the ending, but the ending just made it a 5 star read for me, because WHEW this author really knows how to build into the emotion and pull the reader even more into the story that you will find so compelling. I was so intrigued to see how she would handle this one because when you first start this one, you know how it will probably go down, but I found some unpredictable moments that happen. This series has been so beautifully done and I am so happy to have been able to read this one and see the series come to this finale (I believe its the finale) and just won my heart so completely.
“It’s different when it matters. She matters. Of course, she matters. She’s been a part of me for so long, I wouldn’t know how to function if she were gone.”
Our story sets off with Brenna and Rye who have always seemed to be at odds with each other. Even though they work so closely with each other, there have been some misunderstandings between them and they have this angst type of relationship where to everyone they are enemies. However, there is so much more between them. Brenna once wanted Rye, but then they hurt each other and they have this relationship that seems to be always one fight after another. Rye and Brenna just can’t seem to let go of pushing each other’s buttons at the worst and best of moments. But when Rye overhears a confession of Brenna of her innermost desires, he is determined to be the man to give that to her. They make a pact together, one that they keep from the band and their family, a secret relationship that they form one that starts off with sensual pleasure but builds into something deeper and holds their hearts in a way that they don’t expect. Both Rye and Brenna have secretly desired each other, but even though this pact is supposed to be just about satisfying sexual pleasure, they find there is more between them than just physical desires. But there are secrets that need to be revealed, and both Rye and Brenna will need to be honest with themselves if they want to have a future together. Rye will need to realize he needs to take a risk and fight for Brenna. And on the other side, Brenna will need to come to terms with opening her heart and letting go of her mistrusts, and having faith in the love she has for Rye.
“My dear, I was talking about loving yourself. If you don’t do that first, you’re always going to push away those who try to love you.”
Exposed is a story that completely blew me away but in a way, I didn’t expect it to. For those that know my reading taste, then you know that the “fling” type of setups really aren’t my catnip. I do not like relationships starting out just for the sex and nothing else but somehow Kristen Callihan really made this trope work for me. From the beginning, you can see that Rye and Brenna feel something more for each other than they are willing to admit. Seeing them embrace their pleasure with each other, while also building on the deeply layered emotion with each chapter is what really made this book work so well. There is this level of feeling that just vibrates whenever they are near each other. There is also this sense of friendship that has always been there despite the angst that has also matched it over the years. Brenna and Rye truly understand each other, even when they are at odds, but the moment they decide to have a secret fling, unresolved issues come to the surface and both of them have to face up to the mistakes and misunderstandings of the past. It was also interesting to see their relationship grow in some unique ways. I actually liked that they always had a “thing” for each other but now they were able to capitalize on it. And also keeping their relationship such a secret from the band was a fun twist. Of course, Brenna’s cousin “Killian” is a bit overprotective and wouldn’t take to Rye being with her which is the reason they keep it a secret. But it was quite a delightful twist in seeing how the undertones between them come to the service to some of the others and seeing the matchmaking moments really added a lighter tone to the story that balanced out the more serious tones.
“I want to be yours. I want you to be mine. Wherever I land, whatever I’m doing. Because I…I adore you.”
Overall I found Exposed to be an underlaying, vividly emotionally portrayed story that is so sensually picturesque in its small moments. It’s a story of redemption and forgiveness, of letting go of fear and embracing the love right next to you and taking that leap of faith that rivals conflicts of life….
“This man is mine. My friend. My lover. My home. My heart.”
Author: Kristen Callihan
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Hoopla Digital
Length: 12 Hours
About the Narrators
J. F. Harding is an audiobook narrator of romance and erotica, with nearly 200 titles and counting. From MC tough-guys to lonesome cowboys, he lends his versatile voice to bestselling love (and sometimes just lust) stories from the steamiest writers.
Emma Wilder is a classically trained actor and narrator who has worked all over the world on everything from steamy romance novels to Shakespeare. She was born on the Maine Coast, and now lives outside Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband and their menagerie of rescue animals.
Storytelling Quality: 5
Story Itself: 4.5
Character Development: 5
Writing Style: 4
World Building 4
Feels + The Romantic Heart 5
Cover Art 5
Rating of the Book
Simmering cup of tea—soft warm touches and light intimacy
Warmin’ by the fire- a medium level of sexual tension, a balance of sexual and emotional intimacy, lighter on the details in the sexual moments.
Steamin’ up the room -the sexual content is more explicit in the language and tone, heavier amount of sexual scenes.
Blazing fire to the building-The prime focus is the sex scenes, scorching hot, and could burn one. Less focus on the emotional intimacy to the relationship.
Idol– Pub 2016 (339 Pages)
Managed-Pub 2017 (344 Pages)
Fall- Pub 2018 (452 Pages)
Exposed- Pub 2021 (313 Pages)
About The Author
Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a RITA winner and three-time nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named the best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.