The Comfort of Secrets (Review & Excerpt)

by Christine Nolfi


Cat Mendoza needs a win. After a business failure and years of dating the wrong men, she’s ready to turn things around.

First she must convince the residents of Sweet Lake, Ohio, that she’s taking her responsibilities seriously. As the events director of the newly restored Wayfair Inn, she has the support of her best friends, Linnie and Jada. But everyone else—including her overprotective mother and the well-meaning Sweet Lake Sirens—can’t help but chime in with advice about her plans, her apparently too-tight clothes, and her undeniable attraction to Ryan D’Angelo, the charming ad exec hired to promote the inn.

Cat knows she should keep Ryan at a distance, but she’s drawn closer by the heartbreak he tries to hide. Will uncovering his secrets derail the new life Cat hopes to achieve…or will she gain something to cherish forever? (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon)

The Comfort of Secrets is the second book in the Sweet Lake Series, but it can also be read as a stand-alone.

Cat Mendoza has been promoted to event director of the Wayfair Inn that she runs with her two best friends, Linnie and Jada. Despite her good ideas, she can’t handle the ad campaign without help and prefers to ask some advice to an old friend, who has offered reduced rates. Due to her friend’s pregnancy, she will have the chance to work directly with a successful person in the industry, Ryan D’Angelo.

But from their first meetings, it’s evident they need to define some rules, to put business’ priorities ahead of their mutual attraction.

Ryan is a handsome man, but the scar on his face is only the first visible sign of a turbulent past, which has left more invisible scars in his life. Even if he’s now an adult, some psychological fears follow him since his childhood/adolescence, and in order to live a pretty quiet life, he and his mom need to maintain a low profile and hide everything linked with their past, including their family name.

Meanwhile, the eccentric and hilarious Sirens unite all their positive energies to help Cat and the Wayfair to succeed. But, what they have not considered is a touching discovery that will change the future of one of their leaders.

Reading this book I’ve had the chance to enjoy another brilliant book of Christine Nolfi. She always surprises me not only with bright, compassionate and always well-described characters but also with her books’ positivity.

In this one, we can observe how Cat’s feelings and her optimism, will encourage Ryan in facing his past and all the memories shut down from his mind for so long. In The Comfort of Secrets, the importance of love, family, friendship, and solidarity are the keys to the happiness.

In my opinion, this book is a very charming and hilarious read. The storyline will captivate you from the very first pages, and you will enjoy the funny jokes between the Sirens.

Thank you, Christine, for this compelling read. It deserves five out of five stars.


Read an excerpt from The Comfort of Secrets


“If I start to feel anxious, we’ll turn around. Head back to four walls and a roof, where I’ll nurse my ego in shame.”

“You’re too hard on yourself.”


“Let’s stay by the lake. I’d rather not take you anywhere near the forest. No reason you must conquer all your fears in one day.”

Her protective tone nicked his ego. It also moved him deeply. “Sounds like a plan.”

Tomorrow was the first of October, and Ohio’s temperate autumn remained glorious. Clouds banked on the horizon in a slowly drifting parade of white. The recently mowed grass was fragrant, the calming scent punctuated by the distant activity of the construction crew, their pneumatic tools buzzing and hammers pounding. Overhead, the afternoon sun beat down on Ryan’s shoulders, making him glad he’d left his sport coat inside.

Cat lofted open palms toward the heavens. “Want to hear a fun fact?”

“Sure.” A first glimpse of the lake rose up,  a sparkling blue necklace tucked behind the green hills.

“Trees talk to each other. Not like people, obviously, but they do communicate.”

The forest lay to the left, a dark swath of shadows. Grimly, Ryan became aware of the muscles in his back tensing.

He swung his attention to her. “How do trees communicate?” he asked.

“Through their roots, one tree to the next. They aren’t really separate life forms.”

“Life forms? Paging Spock.”

“These are fun facts of the natural world, not Star Trek.” Grinning, she pushed against his shoulder. “Root systems intertwine from one tree to the next like a great net. Isn’t that a beautiful image, a net finer than spun gold hidden beneath the earth? They use chemical interactions to talk through their roots. If a portion of a forest is under attack from insects, it’ll send a signal to the healthy trees. Then the healthy trees make defense enzymes to ward off the invasion.”

He liked how she became freer the moment she tasted fresh air, her gestures more fluid, more animated. Cat was endowed with a voluptuous body with strong athleticism added in. No doubt she’d spent a happy childhood climbing trees and swimming in the lake. The notion soothed him for the briefest interlude. She’d never witnessed violence, or hidden  inside a  closet in the  hope she’d disappear.

“They use enzymes to warn each other?” He wished to prolong the conversation for the simple joy of listening to her voice. “You aren’t making this up as you go along, are you?”

“Don’t believe me? Ask Siri.”

“Guess I’ll believe you. Mostly because the story’s too kooky, even for your imagination.”

“There’s no harm in a well-developed imagination. We can’t improve our lives without the vision to imagine a better way.”

“And a Magic 8 Ball to check the odds.” “Back to teasing me?”

“A desperate strategy.  Keeps  me  from  thinking  about kissing you.” It also kept his attention from being drawn to the trees looming up behind his back.

The declaration, unplanned,  put heat in Cat’s gaze. “Stop, okay? We agreed not to flirt.”

Read more from The Comfort of Secrets

Publication Date: July 18, 2017
Series: A Sweet Lake Novel, Book 2
Print Length: 318 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Language: English

Discover the Sweet Lake Series:

Sweet Lake (Book 1) – Review & Excerpt

The Comfort of Secrets (Book 2) -Review and Excerpt

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