A sexy, emotionally intense romance wrapped in a fascinating family saga, this is the complete package: hot, heartbreaking,...

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HATE TO WANT YOU

From the Forbidden Hearts series , Vol. 1

After a decade of birthday hookups, a man and woman whose magical love was destroyed by their warring families face their pasts and rediscover one another. First in a series.

When tragedy and betrayal ripped apart their families, Nicholas Chandler and Livvy Kane’s romance was collateral damage. Nicholas stayed in New York to run the family business while Livvy fled, living a nomadic lifestyle as a tattoo artist. Unable to completely sever their physical connection, they continued to meet once a year for a night of passion in what Livvy calls a “repetitive cycle of pain and desire.” But when Livvy returns home to care for her ailing mother, neither disapproving relatives nor the pain of reopening old wounds can keep them away from each other. Rai (Night Whispers, 2013, etc.) approaches her characters with sharpness and sensitivity, deftly establishing Nicholas and Livvy's deep connection in the opening pages. Nicholas' disciplined compartmentalization of his life requires shutting out feelings that would force him to reconsider his choices, while Livvy's tendency to collect unruly emotional baggage is literally written on her skin. Rai is at the forefront of a new wave of romance writers for whom themes of racial and ethnic identity, gender and sexuality, and mental health are not extras but integral to the romance plot because they are necessary for building characters and their worlds. Livvy’s experience of depression in particular is authentically portrayed: “Guilt and sadness and darkness were like a fine overlay on her entire life, a veil with the power to tarnish anything good that came her way.” A tremendously intriguing cast of secondary characters across three generations includes the couple's siblings, whose stories readers will clamor for. Without ever losing focus on Nicholas and Livvy, Rai shows how porous and mutable the lines between the past and the present, the personal and the familial, the body and the soul really are.

A sexy, emotionally intense romance wrapped in a fascinating family saga, this is the complete package: hot, heartbreaking, and supremely satisfying.

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-256673-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Another success for the publishing phenom.

UNDER CURRENTS

An abused boy fights back, escapes, then returns as an attorney to his beloved hometown, but just as he’s falling in love with a transplanted landscaper, a series of attacks from shadowy enemies jeopardizes their happiness.

“From the outside, the house in Lakeview Terrace looked perfect.” Which of course means that it wasn't. We're introduced to the horrifying Dr. Graham Bigelow, who beats his wife and, increasingly as the boy gets older, his son, Zane. On the night of Zane’s prom, a particularly savage attack puts him and his sister in the hospital, and his father blames Zane, landing him in jail. Then his sister stands up for him, enlisting the aid of their aunt, and everything changes, mainly due to Zane’s secret diaries. Nearly 20 years later, Zane leaves a successful career as a lawyer to return to Lakeview, where his aunt and sister live with their families, deciding to hang a shingle as a small-town lawyer. Then he meets Darby McCray, the landscaper who’s recently relocated and taken the town by storm, starting with the transformation of his family’s rental bungalows. The two are instantly intrigued by each other, but they move slowly into a relationship neither is looking for. Darby has a violent past of her own, so she is more than willing to take on the risk of antagonizing a boorish local family when she and Zane help an abused wife. Suddenly Zane and Darby face one attack after another, and even as they grow ever closer under the pressure, the dangers become more insidious. Roberts’ latest title feels a little long and the story is slightly cumbersome, but her greatest strength is in making the reader feel connected to her characters, so “unnecessary details” can also charm and engage.

Another success for the publishing phenom.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20709-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

OUTFOX

An FBI agent is determined to catch a man who bilks and murders wealthy women, but the chase goes slowly.

Brown (Tailspin, 2018, etc.) has published 70 bestsellers, and this one employs her usual template of thriller spiked with romance. Its main character, Drex Easton, is an FBI agent in pursuit of a serial killer, but for him it’s personal. When he was a boy, his mother left him and his father for another man, Weston Graham. Drex believes Graham murdered her and that he has killed at least seven more women after emptying their bank accounts. Now he thinks he has the clever Graham—current alias Jasper Ford—in his sights, and he’s willing to put his career at risk to catch him. The women Ford targets are wealthy, and his new prey is no exception—except that, uncharacteristically, he has married her. Talia Ford proves to be a complication for Drex, who instantly falls in lust with her even though he’s not at all sure she isn’t her husband's accomplice. Posing as a would-be novelist, Drex moves into an apartment next door to the Fords’ posh home and tries to ingratiate himself, but tensions rise immediately—Jasper is suspicious, and Talia has mixed feelings about Drex's flirtatious behavior. When Talia’s fun-loving friend Elaine Conner turns up dead after a cruise on her yacht and Jasper disappears, Drex and Talia become allies. There are a few action sequences and fewer sex scenes, but the novel’s pace bogs down repeatedly in long, mundane conversations. Drex's two FBI agent sidekicks are more interesting characters than he is; Drex himself is such a caricature of a macho man, so heedless of ethics, and so aggressive toward women that it’s tough to see him as a good guy. Brown adds a couple of implausible twists at the very end that make him seem almost as untrustworthy as Graham.

This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4555-7219-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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