Sunset Reads: Damian & Layla (Sunset Reads #2) by D.C. Triana
In Sunset Reads: Damian & Layla, by D.C. Triana, we return to the publishing company, prospering under the blissfully married Cristina and Will. But in this volume the focus is shifted from them to their friends: Cristiana’s friend from childhood, Layla; and Will’s Special Forces colleague. Layla has fallen for Damian, and he shares her feelings; but instead of creating a relationship Damian abruptly leaves, breaking Layla’s heart.
Years have passed and FBI Agent Damian has returned as a new threat has risen against Will and Cristina. Gus Schwartz, a computer genius, and his company Skyline Enterprises has been revolutionizing industries, along with ransacking their financial accounts. They need compelling evidence to prove that he and his employees are purposefully committing these crimes and Damian will be going undercover to infiltrate the crew at their latest job, Sunset Reads. Damian is eager to help out his friend, but surprised to discover she has just been appointed Public Relations Director. He is as equally surprised to discover that he still has feelings for her and that she in return wants nothing to do with him.
Layla had hoped to never see or spend another minute thinking about Damian, but finds that will be an unrealistic goal, as he will be working in her department. To make matters worse, she becomes the center of this ring of intrigue; finding herself dodging bullets, becoming a Mata Hari, and forced into having constant FBI protection. With all of this happening, the question isn’t will they save the company: but will they survive?
I really didn’t enjoy this novel as I felt it paled In comparison to its predecessor. In Sunset Reads: Will & Cristina; there was a lot of development into the lives of the characters, along with the “life” of the company. We became attached to the characters and the company as we followed their stories, growth, and how the company and publishing world affected them. Cristina was a writer who went through many difficulties, finding a home with Sunset Reads and with Will’s mother. For Will, he had to contend with an abusive stepfather, his drive in Sunset Reads being a way to protect his mother and preserve her legacy. We see how he has to woo Cristina to win her favor; along with having to woo the public in order to have the company prosper. Because of this direct connection, the threat to them and Sunset Reads is felt as acutely with the reader as it is with the characters.
This was not the case with Sunset Reads: Damian & Layla. We are not given a lot of background into who these characters are or their paths that made them the people they are today. They fail to be relatable, so when their situation gets suspenseful or stressful it isn’t as evoking of emotions in the reader.
Damian and Layla also have no direct connection to Sunset Reads, so the level of urgency isn’t the same and their attention isn’t as focused in protecting it. For Layla, she has barely begun working at Sunset Reads, we never see her actually doing her job, or see what threat these hackers and grifters pose against her directly. The same applies to Damian who is supposed to be investigating as ordered by the FBI and in order to aid his friend; but hardly even focuses on the situation; choosing to spend his time investigating Layla’s body. The “threat” against the company is hardly present in the story, mostly being a tool to throw Layla and Damian together or to incite their feelings.
This book doesn’t really build a relationship between Layla and Damian as they go from dislike, Layla of Damian, speedily to desire and then “love”. There isn’t a lot of growth in them or why the relationship will work now when previously Damian stalled it. The emotional relationship is not really seen, the emphasis being on the physical relationship instead.
As a companion in the series Sunset Reads I found it to be lacking. I expected a more rounded tale of characters and plot, giving this one out of five stars.