A tense, sensual and conflicted love story set against an epic family drama—worth a read for romance fans.

SINFUL

Army vet Connor Flynn enlists the aid of his late wife’s best friend, Eve (p.7), to help his children feel more secure, leading to an unexpected relationship with one of his wealthy family's sworn enemies.

After losing his wife, Molly, in a tragic accident, Connor leaves his kids with her parents while he finishes his last tour, then comes home to a custody battle. Winning the case mainly due to Eve, Molly’s best friend and the children’s godmother, who testifies on his behalf, Connor is grateful to the woman who was willing to stand up for him, despite being the daughter of his father’s worst enemy. The wealthy and powerful Flynns and Grayhawks have nursed a feud for years, so when Eve is willing to move into Connor’s new home to help his kids feel more secure, he's even more humbled. But when a social worker expresses concern over Eve’s single status, Connor proposes a pretend engagement that tumbleweeds into a real marriage, causing an uproar in both families. Eve has always had feelings for Connor, which she was never able to act on since she had inadvertently set him up with Molly. At first willing to do almost anything to help Molly’s children, Eve begins to wonder if her marriage to Connor may be the path to a happiness they never dreamed possible, even with family tensions rising, her professional career as a wildlife photographer in question, and Connor’s and Eve’s fledgling but fruitful philanthropic efforts in jeopardy. Johnston creates some sizzling sexual and emotional tension in her contemporary Western, which launches a new series connected to her popular Bitter Creek Western historicals. A few details are threaded up a little too neatly in the end—especially a kind of blessing from beyond the grave from Molly—but overall, this is a smart, sexy and satisfying read.

A tense, sensual and conflicted love story set against an epic family drama—worth a read for romance fans.

Pub Date: April 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8041-7866-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dell

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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HONEST ILLUSIONS

Suspenseful, glamorous story of love, blackmail, and magic, set in New Orleans and Washington, D.C., about a family of high-class magicians practicing the time-honored profession of thievery. When magician Maxmillian Nouvelle adopts the 12-year-old runaway Luke Callahan, he gives him more than a family: He teaches him the secrets of blending what's real and what's not...giving people what they want—and also taking what they value. For the Great Nouvelle is a master jewel-thief; stealing from the undeserving rich warms his blood like the anticipation of good sex, a passion that both Luke and Max's bratty daughter Raxanne eventually share. Thirteen years pass: As Luke practices the fine arts of larceny and escapology, Roxanne grows into a flame-haired witch who turns bell, book, and candle into smoke onstage. Offstage, she trades in her David Cassidy poster for Luke; together, they set off sparks that could make an innocent bystander..go up in flames. But Luke's invincibility, like the Great Houdini's, is deceptive: Slimy Sam Wyatt—a former grifter now running for the Senate—slithers in from Luke's past, his frigid heart full of contempt for the family he once tried to seam. He threatens to frame Luke for murder and expose the Nouvelles' after-hours show unless he disappears. Five years later, a homesick Luke reappears, determined to show the disillusioned Roxanne that he's more than smoke and mirrors. Together, they set out to plot vengeance, staking everything on their most daring sting to date. True to the magician's oath, Roberts reveals no secrets, but the illusion works—in a compelling and detail-rich first hardcover. Good escape reading.

Pub Date: July 17, 1992

ISBN: 0-399-13761-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1992

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The overly complicated mystery plays second fiddle to the sexual tango between two psychic partners.

CLOSE UP

Quick returns to 1930s California (Tightrope, 2019, etc.) with another sexy but derivative thriller.

After refusing to marry the man her wealthy parents favored, fiercely independent Vivian Brazier moved from San Francisco to Adelina Beach to pursue her career as an art photographer. Her mother and sister, Lyra, who becomes engaged to Vivian’s reject, send her gifts, but her father has cut off support, so she does studio portraits and freelance photojournalism to support herself. Studying her own photos surrounding the murder of Hollywood star Clara Carstairs by the Dagger Killer leads her to believe the perp is a photographer, and her tip to the police puts them on the right path. But a chance to sell her work at Fenella Penfield’s gallery falls through, and Vivian is stunned when she uses her sixth sense to learn that Fenella is furious over Vivian’s photos of nude men. Meantime, Nick Sundridge, who works with his dog, Rex, as a private eye, is striving to harness his strange fever dreams to help his investigations. After Vivian’s narrow escape from the Dagger Killer, Nick arrives to warn her that she’s marked for death by a hired killer. He’s an emissary for Luther Pell, who is an old wartime friend of his uncle's and who runs a nightclub in Burning Cove and has connections to the FBI and other government agencies. Nick convinces Vivian that he can protect her by posing as her assistant while trying to find the killer whose coded journal of poems contains the names of his victims and the methods he’s used to kill them. Escaping when the killer tries to burn them alive, Nick and Vivian (and Rex) move to the Burning Cove Hotel, where they set a trap for their quarry while the flame of their attraction burns brighter.

The overly complicated mystery plays second fiddle to the sexual tango between two psychic partners.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0684-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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