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Being Me (Inside Out Trilogy, #2) - Lisa Renee Jones

Reviewed for Sara at www.harlequinjunkie.com

Review copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Being Me is book 2 in the Inside Out Trilogy. I read somewhere that the suggested order of things should be: If I Were You, theInside Out Novellas, and then Being Me. But I can promise you that you do not HAVE to read the novellas. They are really great and they give you Rebecca's story/journey but I wouldn't say they are required reading. Also, if you haven't read my review for If I Were You, please click here or here so that we can all be on the same page. Go ahead, I'll wait... ;)

At the start of Being Me, we pick up EXACTLY where we left off in Book 1 with Sara having been plunged into darkness while inside Rebecca's storage unit and Sara's sensing that someone else is in the building with her. Once that is resolved (hell, no, I won't tell you what happens!), we continue on with Sara and her journey. Being Me is similar to Book 1 in that sometimes it feels like its two separate books, smooshed together. On one hand, we get to the bottom of Rebecca's disappearance and Ella (Sara's friend and neighbor) is still missing and it doesn't seem like she's on a simple honeymoon anymore. On the other hand, Chris and Sara's relationship progresses and Sara's deals with the trauma of her past. Yes, we learn the BIG SECRET that Sara has been thinking will cause Chris to hate her (but let me tell you - its a letdown). This secret has had such a huge buildup over Book 1 and into Book 2 that I thought it was going to be monumental, life changing. I mean, if its bad enough that Sara thinks Chris will hate her for it? And that she's felt she had to lie about it? She had to have killed someone, right? But no. Her ex-fiancee was a dick (and that's as much as I'll tell you about it) but we already knew he was a dick! Oh and he shows up at a function where Chris and Sara are and its AWESOME! Sure, Sara is the weak, pathetic cow we know and love but its still fun to see Chris in all of his alpha male glory!

I feel like Sara still doesn't know herself in this book. And it felt like she doesn't even realize that she doesn't know herself. Maybe its because her thoughts are pretty much one contradiction after another: I think I love him but do I really? And if I do, does he love me? No, not with my secret. So I shouldn't love him. But I kinda do. But I should just end it because this will only end badly. So I should break it off before we begin... I mean, holy crap, lady! Then, when she and Chris hit a rough patch, she does what all weak, pathetic women do and stops eating, making me like her even less! Don't hate me yet... I get it, I do. When you're upset, your stomach is in knots and you just aren't hungry and/or you forget to eat. I've been there; I totally get it. But a STRONG woman would pull herself out of it because she knows that she needs to take care of herself. What kind of a "heroine" lets herself just waste away? Not any kind of heroine I want to read. But the final nail in the Coffin of Liz's Dislike for Sara was when Chris returns after their falling out. She just caves! She yells at him for how much he hurt her and then BOOM her blouse is undone. Oh. My. Gawd. Puh-lease! I wanted her to stand her ground and say "No, you can't seduce me until we work this out RIGHT NOW" but she doesn't. It's ALL about gettin' that thick man-shaft all up in her lady bits and here's me, gagging...

Since we're on the subject of Chris (a little), let's leave poor Sara alone and talk more about him. I still like him. I like that he's rich (sorry, but I'm NOT rich and I wish I was, so sue me) but I like him even more because he's tortured! I know, I know! That sounds so sick and twisted! But its true! And even though we find out about Sara's secret torment, Chris's still remains elusive. I can't even begin to guess. He's really, REALLY tortured by the memory of something and it seems really bad! So of course, you know me, I'm again thinking that he's had to have murdered someone! But we don't know! Gah! Not even a hint or a sliver or a slice or a taste! Nothing! Its driving me insane!I swear, I'm going to read Book 3 just to find out what the heck it is! LOL! Anyway, even though we don't get Chris's secret, we DO get to know him better. He's so generous with Sara, which is expected from a rich hero but its still sweet. He clearly cares for Sara and he shows it in many ways. Not just in his words, but in his actions as well. Again, I don't want to give away more than I already have so I won't go in to detail about it. We also see a lot more of Chris's dedication to that children's hospital and its so sweet and moving. I dare you not to fall at least a little bit in love with Chris in this book! But Chris's demons threaten his relationship with Sara so at the same time, you sort of want to strangle him for being so dense!

Together, Chris and Sara are TNT: totally hot but completely unstable. Its difficult to judge them fairly though because we only see things from Sara's POV. I know that Sara has her doubts about herself and her secret - until its revealed. Then, she has (legitimate) doubts about her relationship with Chris when his first instinct in to run or close himself off when things get too intense/emotional/difficult. I think that's what pissed me off so much about Sara. She can see that he has this secret that defines him and he isn't revealing it (yet). She knows that they don't have a great chance at surviving (as a couple) if he doesn't let in. But instead of standing her ground and telling him this, she decides to have sex with him. Y'know, because sex always SOLVES problems as opposed to making them, or worse burying the issues even deeper.

So I guess that's my main problem with Sara and with this book in general. I mean, I love the mystery and the setting of the San Francisco art scene. I love the side characters, especially Mark, Sara's boss. I really dig Chris. The book is scorching hot and full of Sexy Time! There are even aspects of Sara that I like. But overriding all of that good stuff (and returning to my point at the start of this paragraph!) is that all emotional development is set aside for the sake of sex. That's how it felt to me, anyways. And that would be just fine if this was straight erotica. But it isn't. This is erotic romance and I, for one, expect more. I think I can sum it up by using one of the thoughts that Sara had that had me grating my teeth. This is a scene where Sara is about to have hot, angry sex with Chris and she thinks to herself, "My body doesn't care how angry and hurt I am." And that, folks, is where you lose me.