The book dances on a dark edge and frolics in naughtiness but is mostly a hot "villains redeemed" fantasy romp.

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IN BED WITH THE BILLIONAIRE

An assassin is hired to take out a notorious crime lord, but she finds herself caught in a web of desire and uncertainty when it turns out that the infamous villain just might be a hero.

Seven years after her sister disappeared into the horrifying maze of a sex-trafficking ring run by an enigmatic man known as Jericho, assassin Temple Cross has been hired to kill him. It's a job she's pleased to accept, and she hopes to find out what happened to Thalia before he takes his last breath. Allowing herself to be “caught” in the slave trade gives her the opportunity to get up close and personal with Jericho, who's movie-star handsome and so sexually compelling it takes her breath away. Even more surprising, their incendiary attraction to each other keeps them both alive long enough to create an odd sympathy between them that leads to the realization that neither is what they seem, and beneath their cruel reputations and emotional armor, they are both righteous warriors whose missions have led them down questionable paths. After Temple learns the truth about what happened to her sister—and Jericho’s role in her fate—she begins to dig deeper into his secrets, and as she becomes aware of the dangerous game he’s playing, she’s more worried about his survival than fulfilling her contract to see him dead. Jericho’s many enemies are closing in, and just when Temple begins to believe in redemption, time may run out on their chance for a happy ending. There’s no question that Ashenden has a knack for redemptive characters, pulse-pounding conflict, and a roller-coaster plot, though the occasional slipped detail or not-quite-believable element pulls us out of the story here and there.

The book dances on a dark edge and frolics in naughtiness but is mostly a hot "villains redeemed" fantasy romp.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-07786-8

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 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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