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New Release Review! THE BEST KEPT SECRET by Tawna Fenske (Where There’s Smoke #3)

The Best Kept Secret cover

THE BEST KEPT SECRET (Where There’s Smoke #3)
Publisher: Entangled: Amara (February 22, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback: 364 Pages

Nurse Nyla Franklin knows three things to be true. Taking care of others brings more joy than a basket full of kittens. A triple-fudge sundae can cure just about anything. And no good ever comes from keeping a secret… So when her best friend spills his biggest one ever, Nyla knows she’s not just holding a secret. She’s holding a ticking time bomb.

Mr. Always Does the Right Thing Leo Sayre knows three things to be true. Piloting smokejumpers over burning forests is the best job in the world. His best friend Nyla is the smartest, funniest, and okay, sexiest woman ever. And pain meds are apparently his truth serum. Now his post-surgery confession has everything flipped upside down and turned inside out… including his relationship with Nyla.

Secrets have a way of piling up, and it’s just a matter of time before someone lights a match. Because while the truth can set you free, it can also burn completely out of control…

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Leo and Nyla’s story was so much more than *just* a rom-com. Did I laugh out loud while reading it? Yes–so many times. I couldn’t help but feel that Ms Fenske took at least a little inspiration from I Love Lucy reruns, because many of the situations that (mostly) Nyla found herself in were just bordering on the slapstick side of humor. Funny? Absolutely! 100% believable? Maybe not…but still had me LOLing 🙂

But there was a deeper side to the story and to the characters too. First, there’s the titular secret–and whoa, is it a doozy. It definitely helped to balance out the sometimes-silliness. Then there’s the secondary secrets that pop up along the way–some big ones, some smaller ones; goodness, so. Many. Secrets. The secret that Leo and Nyla start a relationship (not a spoiler, since hello, they’re the hero and heroine of a romance novel) is complicated by the fact that they’re not just friends, he’s also her sister’s ex-husband. I’ll admit I had some initial reservations about this but honestly feel it was handled well. It’s obvious that Leo and Nyla are a much better fit than Leo and Mandi, and I liked that (eventually, once *most* of the secrets are out of the way) everyone handled it like grownps. Even Leo and Mandi’s young teen, Seth 😉

The epilogue was sweetly satisfying and provided a nice resolution to a relationship hiccup that had occured earlier (it’s not as intense as a true black moment, but it did make you wonder a bit). It’s been a while since I’ve read a Tawna Fenske book, but this one made sure that I won’t go so long again!

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Tawna Fenske author photo

About the author:

When Tawna Fenske finished her English lit degree at 22, 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, USA Today bestselling author who writes humorous fiction, risqué romance, and heartwarming love stories with a quirky twist. Publishers Weekly has praised Tawna’s offbeat romances with multiple starred reviews and noted, “There’s something wonderfully relaxing about being immersed in a story filled with over-the-top characters in undeniably relatable situations. Heartache and humor go hand in hand.”

Tawna lives in Bend, Oregon, with her husband, step-kids, and a menagerie of ill-behaved pets. She loves hiking, snowshoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, 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. To find out more about Tawna and her books, visit learn more about all of Tawna’s books, visit

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  1. Sara Strand Sara Strand

    I really enjoyed this one as well! Thank you for being on this tour. Sara @ TLC Book Tours

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