GUILTY PLEASURES by Deborah Fletcher Mello

GUILTY PLEASURES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Alexander and Zachary Barrett have been estranged for years due to a woman who left them both burned, but the twins seem ready to mend their relationship; Sarai, Zach’s best friend, wants to help but may complicate things when she and Alex begin to fall for each other.

Alex and Zach grew up close yet competitive, which drove them both to excel in their respective fields—Alex becoming an NBA star and Zach a champion mixed martial arts fighter. But after Zach married Alex’s college sweetheart, their relationship fell apart. Retired after a career-ending injury, Alex is opening a state-of-the-art gym in Boulder when his now-divorced brother waltzes back into his life, claiming he wants to train at his facility and heal their connection. Already wary of his brother’s intentions, Alex becomes even more confused when he discovers that Sarai Montri, a personal trainer he recently hired and is attracted to, is his brother’s best friend, has traveled from her native Thailand to support Zach's training for an upcoming match, and is living in his house. Sarai is adamant that she and Zach are just friends, but Zach doesn’t seem so clear on the point. Airing out old emotions leads to forgiveness and love for the brothers, but before Alex and Sarai can find peace together, they’ll have to deal with his parents’ initial distrust of a woman they see as playing the brothers against each other and some unexpected cultural differences—the twins are African-American while Sarai had a traditional Thai upbringing. A trip to Thailand helps smooth their path, despite an awkward start and some misunderstandings with Sarai’s father and extended family. There’s a lot going on in this book, and some of it is handled strangely or practically ignored until suddenly there’s a scene where it’s plugged in: for instance, Sarai is a former Miss Thailand, but this barely comes up until she’s suddenly at a photo shoot in Hong Kong; she also went to school in Paris but at times shows a surprising lack of cultural sophistication.

Though flawed, the book offers a sexy, satisfying romance about two people from very different backgrounds finding common ground.

Pub Date: March 29th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4967-0430-6
Page count: 318pp
Publisher: Dafina/Kensington
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2016




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