Series Name: Louisiana, # 2

Tanner Carmichael. He’d been my secret crush. My childhood addiction. I’d been in braces with zits when he’d dated the homecoming queen. But my one-sided love for him had been fierce and true, or so I’d believed at the time. He was my older sister’s boyfriend’s older brother. So, when I said earlier that I’d never been in love, Tanner was the exception. 

Secrets in Cypress Bayou is the perfect blend of southern romance and thrilling suspense. 

Some secrets are buried deep…

When newly minted attorney Carly Bertrand returns to Cypress Bayou, Louisiana, to be close to her family, her first priority is finding a job. She’s shocked to get an offer from her childhood crush, Tanner Carmichael, whose town roots are as deep as hers. Carly accepts, confident she can help Tanner get his new law practice up and running, and keep her attraction to him under lock and key. She’s no longer a starry-eyed teen admiring from afar.

Their first client is a woman searching for her birth mother who mysteriously disappeared decades ago without a trace. Carly and Tanner take the case and soon find themselves drowning in a swampy patch of secrets, political corruption, and danger. And the further they dig, the more it looks like Tanner’s powerful, narcissistic father is involved.

As they work to unravel the mystery, Carly’s old feelings resurface and Tanner can’t believe the shy girl next door has become such a brilliant, beautiful, and determined woman. Should they risk everything for the truth, including their hearts, or settle for safety?

I enjoyed this book! I forgot how much I like a good romantic suspense novel. I found that Susan did an excellent job balancing the story as a whole. The romance and mystery aspects of the book didn’t compete against each other in this book. Instead, they work masterfully together to create this fascinating story. I love small-town romances, but even I can sometimes get tired of how they are portrayed as being perfect. That is why I loved the town of Cypress; it has that small-town charm, but there are lots of dark secrets and unknown dangers underneath that charm. It was so interesting watching as Carly and Tanner tried to unravel the mystery surrounding the disappearance of their client’s mom and grandma. There was a lot about who they could trust, how far this disappearance plot goes, and what happened to these two missing ladies. Susan did a fabulous job adding enough twists, turns, and clues to make her readers want to turn that page, so they can find out what will happen next. I found myself trying to guess who had done it and what had happened to these two ladies. I got the who-done-it part but was wrong with what happened.

 I always love watching characters when they are in their element. Carly and Tanner are brilliant lawyers, and watching them work their cases was so satisfying. They worked well together, and it was a lot of fun watching them as the chemistry between them grew. The characters in this book aren’t that “Hallmark” perfect. They have this raw and authentic feel to them, which makes it easier to connect with them. The family dynamics that exist in this are exciting and full of drama. It was interesting seeing these families interact with each other. My favourite family member was Carly’s gran. She was that typical gran who was always feeding you and making you have everything you needed. She also seemed to have that sixth sense and knew what was happening. 

Carly and Tanner are sweet together. I loved it when Carly tried to play it cool on the outside when Tanner asked her to work with him. But on the inside, she was freaking out because of the crush she had (has) on him. I’m sure I would be doing the same thing if I ended up working with my high school crush. I was glad Susan didn’t rush these two into a romantic relationship right from the beginning. That gradual work-up to their romance allowed Carly and Tanner to get to know each as grown-ups. There is plenty of sparks and romantic tension between these two and a few moments that had you thinking that one of them would make a move.

Secrets of Cypress Bayou is a romance suspense novel that will have you up until the wee hours of the morning just so you can find out what happened next. 

Thank you Susan Sands for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.