A fun, if occasionally tedious, novel, equal parts heart-tugging and steamy—strictly for romance enthusiasts.

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BINDING ARBITRATION

An attorney and a baseball star must come to terms with their complicated past for the sake of their ailing son.

Libby Tucker is a beautiful, successful Windy City attorney who knows how to get what she wants. And what she wants most right now is to find a bone marrow donor for her 6-year-old son Cass, who is dying of leukemia. The boy’s father is her best hope, but Libby hasn’t spoken to Banford Aidan Palowski—aka Band-Aid—in a half-dozen years, and for good reason. When a brief hookup between these two college friends led to pregnancy, Aidan urged Libby to get an abortion. She refused, excising him from her life. Aidan took off to make it in the big leagues, believing Libby had given their baby up for adoption. Years later, Libby, who still hasn’t forgiven her old flame, reluctantly turns to Aidan—now the Cubs’ star pitcher—in a desperate attempt to save her son. Aidan agrees, but on one condition: He wants to be part of his child’s life. Libby’s hesitant (Cass believes his father is dead), but Aidan persists, manipulating his way into their life. Soon, the three have formed a charming, if sometimes prickly, family unit, as Cass quickly bonds with his father, and Aidan embraces his new role. But the relationship between Aidan and Libby is less settled. Aidan wants another chance to win “the only game, in thirty odd years, I hadn’t seen to completion.” Libby is less eager, still nursing anger and frightened of the intensity of her feelings for Aidan. Gradually, the couple learns to navigate their new relationship, but before long, tragedy strikes, tearing the couple apart again. Marx’s (The Seer’s 7 Deadly Fairy Tales, 2012, etc.) romance is full of twists and turns, some expected, and some not, with an emotionally complex central conflict, lively (though at times infuriating) characters and a carefully drawn Chicago setting. But far too many secondary characters populate this bulky novel, and half-baked subplots distract from the main story, such as Aidan’s scheming ex-fiancee, who attempts to blackmail him with a scandalous doctored photograph and then abruptly disappears. This crowded tale is at its best when focused on the shifting dynamics among Aidan, Libby and Cass.

A fun, if occasionally tedious, novel, equal parts heart-tugging and steamy—strictly for romance enthusiasts.

Pub Date: May 30, 2012

ISBN: 978-1477470732

Page Count: 484

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2012

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A classic plot plus Lauren's trademark snark and steam add up to a winning rom-com full of heart and holiday cheer.

IN A HOLIDAZE

A Christmas wish leads to a Christmas nightmare when one woman gets stuck reliving the holiday season, Groundhog Day style.

Things aren’t going as planned for Maelyn Jones. At the age of 26, she’s living with her mom and stepdad, she’s stuck in a dead-end job, and, perhaps most important, she just had an eggnog-filled holiday hookup with Theo Hollis, her family friend and the brother of her unrequited lifelong crush, Andrew Hollis. Maelyn’s spent years waiting for Andrew to notice her as more than a friend, but now she knows she’s screwed things up for good by kissing his brother. The only thing that’s going perfectly in her life is the lovely Park City cabin where her family, Theo and Andrew’s family, and her parents’ other college friends get together every Christmas. But then, on the last day of their vacation, Theo and Andrew’s parents announce that they’re selling the cabin. On the drive to the airport, Maelyn miserably wishes that she could find out what would make her happy…and suddenly, she’s back on the plane to the cabin, pre-Christmas, about to live the whole week over again. With another (and another and another) chance to make things right, will she be able to finally tell Andrew how she feels and discover real happiness? Lauren—the author team behind The Honey-Don’t List (2020) and countless other romantic comedies—is as reliable as ever with this cheery holiday outing. Down-on-her-luck Maelyn is a likable protagonist, and it’s easy to relate to her desire to fix her life (even if most readers don’t have the benefit of time travel). Her conversations with Andrew are adorably banter-filled, and her relationship with her parents’ friend Benny, an aging, wacky stoner, is sweetly charming.

A classic plot plus Lauren's trademark snark and steam add up to a winning rom-com full of heart and holiday cheer.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982123-94-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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On the day her fiance came out and left her at the altar, Faith escaped to the West Coast, where she’s had a thriving...

THE BEST MAN

When Faith Holland was abandoned at the altar three years ago, she left her hometown for San Francisco to regroup; coming home to Manningsport, she’ll have to confront her past and Levi Cooper, the disturbingly handsome chief of police she blames for ruining her life.

On the day her fiance came out and left her at the altar, Faith escaped to the West Coast, where she’s had a thriving professional life and a comical romantic life. Summoned home for a few months to work the harvest at her family’s winery and help with some crisis management, Faith realizes that some things in her small town will never change—for the good or the bad—but she knows the time has come to establish a new reality with her ex, her family and maybe even Levi Cooper, the best man who forced Jeremy to be honest with her and himself on their wedding day. It’s so much easier to blame and despise him; if she lets down her guard, she might have to deal with their short but profound shared past and her own guilt and secrets from a long-ago tragedy that has haunted her for most of her life. Higgins’ newest heart-tugging romantic comedy juggles a spectrum of emotionally powerful elements, including the death of a mother, the abandonment of a father and a sigh-worthy high school romance gone awry. With her typical engaging voice, compelling storytelling and amusing dialogue, Higgins keeps the audience flipping through pages as quickly as possible, but it is her spot-on ability to make her characters at once funny, authentic and vulnerable—vulnerable to the point of breaking, so they can heal, stronger and better and more able to love—that is her true genius and guarantees most romance fans will both laugh out loud and get teary, sometimes at the same time. Another sweet, touching must-read for Higgins fans and anyone who enjoys a perfect combination of humor and romance.

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-373-77792-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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