Sebastian upends Regency romance conventions in this sensual, emotional, and upbeat take on the rake/wallflower trope.

THE RUIN OF A RAKE

Two very different men, haunted by their pasts but drawn to each other, forge a future together.

The third in Sebastian’s Regency romance series (The Lawrence Browne Affair, 2017, etc.) pairs a dissolute, infamous rake with a prim merchant from the Colonies who climbed the social ladder via his sister’s good marriage and his own calculatedly impeccable behavior. “Stuffy, smug, and terribly concerned about what everybody else thought about him,” Julian Medlock is horrified that his sister Eleanor, an eccentric scientist, has allowed her London home to be overrun with revelers, including Lord Courtenay, the thinly disguised subject of a scandalous novel. When Eleanor asks Julian to help smooth Courtenay’s re-entrance into London society, he fears for both his own social standing and his ability to resist the rogue’s charms. Sebastian’s third novel, like the first two, tells the love story of two queer men in Regency England without making their sexuality central to their characters or the plot. Rather, what keep Sebastian and Courtenay emotionally distant are the pasts they cannot face and the secrets they harbor. On the surface, this is an opposites-attract story, but Lord Courtenay and Julian Medlock have both created public personas to mask deep losses and painful regrets. Sebastian’s character-driven novel is sensuously romantic yet grounded in its approach to human relationships, where sometimes concern for others and self-criticism mask selfishness and immaturity. The tone remains light, with sharp and often funny exchanges between the protagonists sprinkled throughout. Similarities between the protagonists are a little too on the nose, and a midnovel wrinkle feels out of character and unnecessary. Sebastian’s regular readers will enjoy the seamless way memorable characters from her first two novels appear here and will long for a stand-alone book that develops Eleanor’s intriguing relationship with her estranged husband.

Sebastian upends Regency romance conventions in this sensual, emotional, and upbeat take on the rake/wallflower trope.

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-264252-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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