Denial is the first book in the Careless Whispers series from Lisa Renee Jones. Fans of the Inside Out series will recognize the main character here as this is Ella's story and is a spin-off from the IO series. While it isn't necessary to read the IO series to enjoy this series, it does give you a bit of backstory when it comes to Ella and the situation she is in here. I have to say that while I absolutely loved the way the IO series started, with each new book I kept feelings as though things were being unnecessarily drug out in order to lengthen the series. Unfortunately I felt the same way here and I wasn't very happy about it. While I did find Ella and her situation interesting, I had some problems with this book and where the story is headed.
When Ella Ferguson wakes up in a hospital in Italy, she has no idea who she is or where she is. The man she finds with her, Kayden, is gorgeous and wealthy but Ella has no idea if she can trust him. Kayden has taken it upon himself to protect Ella and encourages her to try and recover her memory. She learns her name is Ella and before long bits and pieces begin to come back to her. But even though she is beginning to remember small pieces of information, neither her nor Kayden know who or what she is running from, but only that Ella is in danger. Kayden is determined to help Ella find answers while protecting her, but not everything is as it seems and the truth could destroy everything.
I have been waiting to find out what happened to Ella since the beginning of the IO series when she disappeared without a trace. While everything was going on with Chris, Mark, and Sara, Sara never gave up on trying to find out what was happening with Ella. But we really didn't get to know much about Ella until we get to see more of her here. The connection between Ella and Kayden was obvious, and the chemistry was there right from the start for these two. Kayden is very much alpha, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone familiar with LRJ's work. He is sexy and wealthy and determined to keep Ella safe while looking for answers. He has a ton of layers that we are just beginning to see, and a past that has made him the dominant man he is. Ella might not remember who she is, but we got to see what a smart woman she is. She is a fighter that was determined to get answers, and I did like her a lot.
The problem for me here was that this book was slow at times, and I felt like not much actually happened. Though Ella's situation is interesting, when there isn't much going on my interest starts to wane. In true LRJ fashion, we get more questions than answers, and while that is good to keep the reader on the edge of their seat anticipating what will happen next, it is also very frustrating at times and hard to justify when there isn't a lot actually taking place. If the story warrants several books that is one thing, but I feel like there could have been so much more done with this book and I am afraid to get too invested in another series that could be stretched out over the course of several more books and months or years to come. While I am curious to get more answers and see where things go after the cliffhanger at the end of Denial, I am not sure that I can commit to this series if it will go the way the IO series did. If you are a fan of Lisa Renee Jones and her Inside Out series, this is one that you will want to check out. But if you are looking for a complete story without cliffhangers and more questions than answers, you will probably want to steer clear.
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