A whirl of a sweet story that serves as a solid bridge between installments of an unusually diverse contemporary romance...

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FINDING YOUR FEET

An unusual romance between an asexual woman and a transgender man who find themselves thrown together during Toronto’s Pride Week.

In a rare impulsive move, Evie Whitmore decides to visit Toronto at the invitation of Gaybeard, aka Sarah, a friend she met in a Tumblr fandom. Evie plans to relocate to Toronto from England in a few months’ time to start her master’s degree and is curious about life in the Queen City. In a fairly thin plot, Evie winds up being partnered with Sarah’s friend Tyler to train for a dance contest during Toronto Pride. Despite a rocky start, which seems designed mostly to throw up an artificial barrier, Evie and Tyler share an irresistible magnetic draw. Over an intense week of training, as their comfort with the routine reflects their growing comfort together, they come to respect and like one another. Professional dancer Tyler, a biracial trans man, is in recovery from a toxic relationship, and novice Evie, who's asexual, or ace, is trying to figure out how to be her apolitical self in the midst of a group of committed queer activists. It's common in romance for dance to serve as a way to express feelings, but Tyler's choreography itself is fundamentally nonbinary (picture the famous scene in the film Dirty Dancing both with and without the gender roles reversed). In this, her second Toronto Connections novel (Blank Spaces, 2016), which stands alone but is even more effective as a sequel, Lennox continues to explore contemporary romance through the lenses of gender and sexual orientation. By portraying a mostly queer community, Lennox is able to center LBTQIA experiences in all their diversity. But, although Evie's sexual identity requires some explaining, these characters are not defined by their gender and sexual identities. Readers will enjoy getting to know Tyler and Evie as complex, whole persons.

A whirl of a sweet story that serves as a solid bridge between installments of an unusually diverse contemporary romance series.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62649-488-6

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Riptide

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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A romantic suspense that skillfully balances both elements.

THE DECEPTION

A successful businesswoman hires a smooth-talking bounty hunter to find a lead on her sister’s murder.

Kate Gallagher was the only one available to identify her younger sister Chrissy’s body after she was found dead, having run away from home two years earlier. Since Chrissy succumbed to drugs and turned to sex work to survive, her murder isn't taken seriously by the local homicide department. Kate is filled with grief and regret at not having been there for her sister, and she’s determined to find her killer as a kind of penance. Jason Maddox is the charming man Kate almost hooked up with at a local bar. He also happens to be on the payroll of the most successful investigation company in Dallas. He’s all too eager to help Kate out and spend more time getting to know the blonde he danced with at the Sagebrush Saloon. At first, Kate and Jason vow to keep things professional until the case is solved; there’s obvious attraction that they’re willing to pursue at a later date. But the increasing sense of danger mixed with Kate and Jason’s close proximity proves to be too heady of a combination. The tension never lets up as the pair visit seedy bars and interrogate unsavory characters. With a steamy romance and undeniably hot chemistry, the main characters are well matched. They’re both driven, slightly stubborn, and enjoy the adrenaline rush of catching criminals. Martin (The Conspiracy, 2019, etc.) doesn’t skimp on graphic, violent details as Chrissy’s murder leads her couple to something much bigger: human trafficking. Though not for the faint of heart given its weighty material, this is an un-put-down-able page-turner that’s sure to satisfy fans of romance and thrillers alike.

A romantic suspense that skillfully balances both elements.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-335-00769-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin HQN

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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