Tawna Fenske’s ‘The Best Kept Secret’ Will Have You Laughing Out Loud [REVIEW]

Smokejumper pilot
His job as a smokejumper pilot isn’t the only risky thing he’s done lately. (Photo courtesy Canva)

They used to be in-laws. Now they’re just friends. She’s attracted to him but is deep in denial. And he’s keeping a major secret from her that could change their relationship forever. In Tawna Fenske’s romantic comedy The Best Kept Secret, suffice it to say things are complicated.

Entangled: Amara

Mandi is a woman on a mission, determined to bring clean drinking water to parts of the world that don’t have it. She has a son, Seth, whom she adores and shares with her ex-husband, Leo. They’ve been divorced for six years.

Like her sister, Nyla Franklin also has a heart of gold. As a nurse, she’s always eager to help anyone in need. There’s just one thing you should know about her. She believes in total and utter transparency. In everything. There’s a reason people know not to tell her anything they don’t want to spread around. It’s not that she’s a gossip, she just never wants to see anyone hurt by an omission or a secret that should have been shared.

Leo is a hunky smokejumper pilot who cares deeply for his family, including his son’s aunt, Nyla, who has always been one of his best friends. After he undergoes dental surgery, Nyla drops by to deliver soup and check on the patient. His pain meds have made him loopy, dropping his inhibitions—and his pants—and making him share the one secret he swore he would never tell another living soul.

When Leo regains his faculties, he makes Nyla promise not to share his secret with anyone, which proves anything but easy. He especially doesn’t want her to share the information with her sister, and tells her, “You know she’ll take one look at you and start dragging out secrets like she’s snaking a hairball from the drain.”

Nyla is determined to keep the secret to herself, even if she does resemble a tea kettle that is ready to blow. Watching her struggle to stifle her instincts is hilarious and results in one comedic episode after another. To raise the ante even more, her frequent proximity to Leo, a man she swears she isn’t attracted to, may have her spewing her own secrets before long!

In The Best Kept Secrets, the third novel in the “Where There’s Smoke” series, Fenske uses the friends-to-lovers trope to her advantage. The result is a novel that is filled with vibrant, authentic characters with palpable angst and explosive chemistry.

Nyla is well intentioned but flawed while Leo is charismatic and struggling. As readers, we want to see them both open the door to a relationship that seems inevitable from the beginning, but family dynamics make doing so a tricky business, and this too smacks of verisimilitude.

After all, being a good dad, sister, and aunt are all challenging roles in their own rite. While both of our protagonists learn to navigate these ever-changing waters, it creates moments that steal our hearts and make us laugh out loud, sometimes simultaneously!

While this is my first encounter with Fenske’s work, it won’t be my last. Her characters are enchanting, and her comic timing is brilliant. The Best Kept Secret simply makes my heart happy, and that makes Tawna Fenske an author to watch in my book.

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When Tawna Fenske finished her English Lit degree at twenty-two, she celebrated by filling a giant trash bag full of romance novels and dragging it everywhere until she’d read them all.

Now she’s a RITA® Award finalist and USA Today bestselling author who writes humorous fiction, risqué romance, and heartwarming love stories with a quirky twist.

She lives in Bend, Oregon, with her husband, step-kids, and a menagerie of ill-behaved pets, where she loves hiking, stand-up paddleboarding, and inventing excuses to sip wine on her back porch. She can peel a banana with her toes and loses an average of twenty pairs of eyeglasses per year.

For more information, visit TawnaFenske.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Tawna Fenske
Tawna Fenske
(Photo by Craig Sagurski)

By Tawna Fenske
364 pp. Entangled: Amara. $8.99

TLC Book Tours Tour Host

Purchase The Best Kept Secret direct from Jathan & Heather Books or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, Hudson Booksellers, IndieBound, Powell’s, Target, or Walmart.

The Best Kept Secret is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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