Author Lynda Filler has created more than a fictional expose of sex for money. Lie to Me explores the world of young men in Puerto Vallarta who have found women and men willing to pay for the pleasure of their company. Caught up in this is Layla Duncan, a writer for a women’s magazine. Fascinated by the men who trade sex for money, she decides to write an article about their lives. As she interviews men, young and middle aged, she finds herself developing friendships with her subjects. They become more than names on a page as their personal lives are exposed.
Initially she plans to interview several men and write a short article. But, as her involvement becomes deeper, she thinks there is enough material for a full-length book. Pressed by her magazine publisher to get the article finished, Layla realizes she has more than enough material to write a book; a book she believes needs to be written. As some of the men reveal intimate details of their lives, details that are sometimes heart-breaking, Layla begins to see them more as people than statistics for an article.
Complicating things even more is her growing relationship with Mateo, a man younger than she is. What begins as a sexual liaison, slowly develops into a romantic affair. While she tries to deny her burgeoning emotions, Mateo also goes through changes. Neither expects to fall in love, and both try to deny their feelings. Damaged by past relationships, Layla fights the emotional passion Mateo arouses in her. Meanwhile, Mateo struggles to come to grips with his past and how it influences his response to the sensual Layla. Finally, he turns to a counselor to explore the reasons for his behavior. Layla takes a break from her fast-paced life in Puerto Vallarta, cutting herself off from all her connections. She applies herself to working on her book. On her return to her home she finds a lot happened in her brief absence. The death of a friend, the realization she can’t run from her emotions, and a confrontation with Mateo are the catalyst for a turbulent and exciting outcome.
“Lie to Me”, although fiction, is an insightful look at the men behind the façade of confident sexuality. These characters in Filler’s book are gay, straight, couples, husbands, and fathers. She puts a human face on them, elevating them from mere sexual objects to real people with fears and concerns like the average man on the street. Reserving her most in-depth descriptions for the character Mateo, she weaves a tale of pain and buried anger. As Mateo’s story unfolds, it’s impossible not to root for the young man. Along with Layla’s deepening affection for Mateo, there is a hope that the damaged couple will find their way to a solid relationship.
Filler has created an exciting, sexy, heart-breaking book. Her characters are vibrant and engaging. The story is solid and builds in intensity. The conclusion is perfect, if somewhat predictable. All in all, this more than just a romance or an erotic novel. It is an exploration of human experiences and the need we all have to love and be loved.