A sweet romance with a tight focus on the emotional journey.

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MOSTLY SUNNY

A social worker and a lawyer band together to help a foster family fend off a legal challenge to an upcoming adoption proceeding.

Sunny Gibson was abandoned by her mentally ill, abusive mother when she was a child. Now she’s a Manhattan social worker determined to help children trapped in the foster system. A legal challenge arises that might halt the adoption of one of Sunny’s favorite clients, and Sunny is surprised at how the situation stirs up memories of her own harrowing childhood. Could this child be connected to her somehow? Sunny enlists the aid of high-powered lawyer Julian King to help her protect the rights of the adoptive parents. Sunny is convinced Julian is the key to helping her win the case even though he has no experience in family law, which is such a fundamental flaw in the plot that the entire legal battle never makes much sense. As Sunny and Julian work together to uncover the truth about the child they are trying to protect, they develop a friendship based on mutual respect but tinged with longing. Both characters have abandonment issues and are afraid to fall in love, but they cannot resist each other, and their friendship makes a slow and steady turn to romance. Sunny and Julian eventually leave New York and travel to the beaches of Maryland and South Carolina, where an escalating number of misunderstandings seem to be a pretext for more drama rather than an organic resolution to the plot and characters. Pope (Love Blooms, 2017, etc.) creates lush, complex emotional and professional lives for both Sunny and Julian; but by the end, some of the revelations about their families and the past veer into melodrama.

A sweet romance with a tight focus on the emotional journey.

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4967-1825-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dafina/Kensington

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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