A well-paced novel that may appeal to fans of Fifty Shades of Grey.

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Good Girl

A financial offer leads a young woman into a relationship with a mysterious businessman in this debut erotic romance.

Gabriella Rossi grew up in a large, loving family of five sisters in a once-thriving New Jersey town. Their lives revolve around their beloved father and the family’s pizzeria; however, their father is in poor health and the restaurant is floundering. One afternoon, a limousine gets a flat tire in front of the pizzeria. The limo’s passenger, Noah Bentley, comes inside and strikes up a conversation with Gabriella. She’s intrigued by the sexy stranger; he expresses interest in purchasing the pizzeria, and she makes plans to see him again the following afternoon. When they meet, he presents her with a shocking offer: $1 million if she spends the next six months “pleasing him.” Despite her misgivings, the promise of financial security leads her to accept the deal. Ensconced in his lavish New York penthouse, she struggles to adjust to his expectations, and the more she resists, the more determined he becomes to win her affections. She soon finds herself drawn to the successful, but complicated, entrepreneur, and as their battle of wills intensifies, they discover the risks and rewards of falling in love. Frank’s novel boasts an intriguing premise, and its strengths lie in its pacing and love scenes, which are erotic but never seem gratuitous. Although the story of Gabriella and Noah’s initial meeting and his offer unfolds in just a few chapters, their romantic relationship proceeds at a more deliberate pace. This approach is effective and allows Frank to explore the opulent lifestyle that Noah’s wealth affords. As their relationship develops, both Gabriella and Noah reveal closely guarded secrets from their pasts; these moments are well-handled and offer some deeper character development. Despite these successes, though, Frank stumbles a bit with Noah’s characterization; his behavior, including sending Gabriella to bed without dinner for disobeying him, is occasionally overbearing and inconsistent with his more romantic gestures.

A well-paced novel that may appeal to fans of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Pub Date: June 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4917-9772-3

Page Count: 328

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2016

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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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