Series: What He Doesn't Know Duet #1
Published by Self Published on 3/14/18
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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On the northeast side of town, there is a house.
The house was once magical, filled with love and joy and plans for the future.
Inside its walls are many things that belong to me — my books, the china from my mother on my wedding day, the beautiful cage once home to two birds, now empty, just like me.
And a man.
A man who also belongs to me.
A man I no longer wish to keep.
A man who, no doubt, has not slept, though the sun is rising. Because the house where he waits is where I laid my head to rest every night for eight years. Until last night.
No one who knows me would believe Charlie Pierce, the quiet, bookish girl who never made waves is pulling out of the driveway of a man who isn’t her husband.
But they don’t know me at all.
I don’t even know me.
They say there are two sides to every story, and I suppose in most cases, that’s true. But the one I live inside of? It has three.
On the northeast side of town, there is a house.
But there is no longer a home.
THIS BOOK IS A WHIRLWIND OF FEELS. You won’t know what to do with yourself when you finish. It destroyed me in the most delicious way. It’s angst and heartbreak, an unforgettably turbulent ride that leaves you with a pounding heart and a thirst for more. There is no way to describe the feels it induces. ANOTHER LEVEL. EVERYTHING an angsty read should be. Chaotic. Heart-wrenching. Beautiful. I am DYING to get your hands on this one. DYING to have you read, and see what you think. It’s INTENSE.
Purchase Bk #1 – What He Doesn’t Know
Purchase Bk #2 – What He Always Knew
6 “There is Nothing Better Than This” Stars!
“The ring on her finger was a symbol of her commitment to another man.
That alone should have sobered me.
That alone should have been at the forefront of my mind, but it wasn’t.
Charlie Reid was married, she was Charlie Pierce now, and still, it didn’t matter.
I loved her, anyway.”
Wild. Chaotic. Turbulent. Heart wrenching. That’s what this book is. I’m breathless after finishing. And I’m saying this right now, What He Doesn’t Know is hands down one of the best and most intense reads I’ve ever read. I am BLOWN AWAY by the ride I went on! As a fan of Kandi’s previous books, I can tell you that this is undoubtedly her BEST BOOK TO DATE—best writing, best plotting, best every. single. damn. thing. I went into it knowing my heart was going to bleed, knowing I would be left raw, teetering at the edge of a cliff and needless to say, both those things happened in spades. Now, I feel so fucked up, so destroyed and consumed and giddy and elated. I didn’t even sleep last night. I obsessed over every detail. This story was an adrenaline rush, a gut punch that began with a powerful prologue and ended with a jaw-dropping cliffhanger! And I knew, God did I know, that this was going to HURT SO FUCKING GOOD. And it damn well delivered.
Steiner holds nothing back when it comes to angst! From the moment we meet Charlie and Cameron (our married couple) to the second Reese reappears in Charlie’s life you feel the tension start to kindle. Charlie (our heroine) holds secrets in her lifeless eyes that compels the reader to pay attention. You feel pulled toward the messy drama, knowing Cam and Charlie’s relationship is broken yet at one time it wasn’t. At one point this married couple was blissfully happy and full of life and possibility. Then you meet Reese and see that he and Charlie go way back, all the way to childhood. There’s a bond there that’s already been cultivated by time and memories. As the chapters progress and the story unfolds, you be come tethered to the what’s happening. I swear, it’s addictive. I couldn’t read fast enough. I almost wanted to look ahead to see what would happen next I was so buzzed over this trio of characters. I lived for the feels, was entrenched by them.
And holy books, are those emotions POWERFUL. CHAOTIC. One minute I raged, the next I cried, and then I felt guilty for getting angry and upset. It’s emotionally complex. Understanding the breakdown of Cam and Charlie’s relationship leaves you devastated and conflicted. Charlie is a lovable character who breaks your heart. She’s been frozen out by her husband and the moments of rejection are a palpable, living thing—something I think every woman can relate to.
This story is juicy, told from different pov’s. It’s got endless twists and turns you’ll NEVER SEE COMING, moments that’ll leave your jaw hanging open. This is a tale of sticky boundaries and blurred lines. A story of broken hearts and mistakes. A book of black and white and grey areas in life. If you are a person who loathes when people cheat in novels, this isn’t your book. LINES ARE CROSSED! It’s wicked, messy, heartbreaking. People aren’t perfect. They do things that might not seem right to you but feel right to them. Most times the road to happiness is paved with stones from hell. I believe that. Always have.
Overall, the first part of this duet slayed me. I am overwhelmed with emotion for it. I feel like this review is long-winded, scattered, and intentionally vague but I really don’t want to tell you major details. I went into it this untainted by opinion and I came out of it absolutely spellbound and desperate for more! It is without a doubt a top recommendation. My most FAV read of the year (right next to The Smallest Part). And I really hope you take a chance on this masterpiece. It’s truly unforgettable.
“They say there are two sides to every story, and it was in that moment, in that dark, desperate snapshot of my life that I realized I hadn’t asked him for his.”
5 “This was Everything” Stars!
I know a lot of romance readers hate love triangles but this book is the PERFECT demonstration of precisely why I love them so much. I love anything that makes me FEEL THINGS while I read, anything that rips at my heartstrings, that creates a tug of war in my mind and, love them or hate them, that’s what a good love triangle guarantees. Kandi Steiner creates a wholly immersive, heartbreaking scenario with What He Doesn’t Know and the reader can’t help but be swept away in Charlie’s battle between two men who both hold keys to her heart. I’ll say it again, I love a good love triangle. But more, I love EXACTLY what Steiner crafts here in this angsty, complicated, heart wrenching storyline. What He Doesn’t Know delivers the ULTIMATE twisty dynamic, a web of lust and pain where I truly did not know what to hope for, what I wanted to come of this love triangle, what path I hope Charlie will take.
Cameron–What can I say, I’m like a mouth to a flame for a man who keeps the heroine at arms length, who hurts her without reason but who has potential to redeem himself. I longed to understand what was happening in his mind, why he grew so distant. And I think the romantic in me that craves seeing a stoic, removed man brought to his knees is what kept me silently rooting for him to fight for what was his.
But Reese–the forbidden fruit from Charlie’s youth who’s just come home and brought her life full circle. Well, I couldn’t help but root for him in this situation too. He is devoted and charming and sweet and he’s everything I should want for Charlie. He’s everything I wouldn’t blame Charlie for wanting for herself. He’s everything good and warm and fulfilling for a woman who’s been emotionally neglected and he’s exactly why I was fully connected to the torturous tug-of-war going on in Charlie’s heart.
My heart feels battered and bruised after reading this book. This brutality, this frustration, this unbelievably heart wrenching turmoil demands that the reader feel just as torn as our girl. It’s so painful to read this story but I was ADDICTED. Addicted to the heartache. Addicted to the war. Addicted to both of these men and completely consumed by them both. What Steiner crafts here KILLED ME but it hurts so damn good. I could not get enough. I couldn’t get enough of these men and the starkly different ways they love. I REALLY couldn’t get enough of Kandi Steiner’s lush writing style. I was as lost in this storyline as I was in her stunning words. I’ve only read a small handful of books from this author but this one takes the cake. This is a beauty, a torn and tattered beauty of a romance and knowing that it’s only the beginning is so deliciously thrilling for me. I know there’s more angst to come, more heartache, more push and pull. And as much as I know it’ll hurt, there’s nothing I crave more in a good love story than that deliciously brutal pain. I need more now. I’m terrified and excited and completely intoxicated by this story. I can’t wait for what’s to come.
I didn’t dare say another word, not when I had her in my arms like that. The comfort I felt just from her being there, from her warmth pressed against mine, from her being tucked into my chest like that — it was more than I deserved. It was more than I knew I was allowed to have from a woman who wasn’t mine, but I took it greedily, like a hot meal offered to a starving man.
“And you?” I asked after a moment, pulling back only enough to capture her gaze with my own. “Are you living happily?”
She blinked, taking another step back — enough to break our hug. She crossed her arms again. “I didn’t come out here to talk about me, Reese. Tonight isn’t about me.”
“It could be,” I countered. “You made me feel better, maybe I could do the same.”
“I feel great,” she said with a smile that was almost convincing. To anyone else, it would have sealed her lie with a perfect little bow — but it didn’t fool me.
The doors flew open then, and Mr. Reid’s voice bellowed my name. He had his arm around a guy my age, and he immediately launched into his name and role at Westchester and why I needed to know him.
I barely registered any of it, because my eyes were still locked on Charlie.
She kissed her dad’s cheek, clueing into the conversation well before I did, then she offered me one last smile and flash of those doe eyes before she slipped back inside.
The rest of the night was a blur of handshakes and dances, of stories shared over dinner and jokes shared over bourbon. Charlie and I did a sort of dance around each other, never existing within the same space for long before one of us was swept off somewhere else. But I was aware of her, and she of me, just like we always had been.
I wondered, distantly, if I would ever find a woman to make me feel the way Charlie made me feel. Would my future wife know what to say on the hard nights, how to bring me comfort only by existing. Charlie didn’t even have to have the right words that night — she just needed to be there. To exist.
With her, with the way I felt for her — that was enough.
She’d always been enough for me, even when I’d had to sit on my hands to keep from touching her when we were younger. Five years had separated us then — five long, cruel, forbidden years. I didn’t have the power to change those years, to warp time, to make it okay for a twenty-one-year-old to fall for a girl still in high school.
But as Charlie and Cameron said goodnight to everyone, I realized those years weren’t what separated us any longer. I held her a beat longer than normal when she leaned in for a hug, thanking her for what she’d given me that night, and then I shook Cameron’s hand, all the while wondering if what I’d heard about him was true.
And I realized it then.
He was what separated us now.
And he was only a man.
About the Author
Kandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa with her husband. Kandi works full time as a social media specialist, but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer.
Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies).
When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order.