HOTSHOT

When Peyton Lockhart and her sisters agree to reboot their uncle’s Florida resort, troubles arise from all quarters, putting Peyton in danger and bringing childhood protector Finn MacBain to her side.

Peyton should have known that landing a job as a food critic for a major foodie magazine with no experience was too good to be true, but she never expected she’d be harassed and threatened by her new employer. After driving from Texas to Minnesota for the opportunity, it’s not too long before she can’t get out of there fast enough. Not long after, their uncle offers Peyton and her sisters the opportunity to work at his resort, supervising a major renovation and planning a grand re-opening, with the possibility of taking over ownership at the end of the project. It’s an offer they can’t refuse and one Peyton is especially grateful for, given the stress of her recent employment fiasco. But when they get to the resort in Florida, it becomes clear that someone is out to get Peyton and is sabotaging the resort renovation. Could it be their greedy, self-serving cousin? Or could it be someone from the magazine, exacting revenge for her sexual harassment lawsuit? Whoever it is, Peyton is in danger, and when she runs into Finn MacBain—the boy-next-door hero who saved her life when she was a little girl and is now an FBI agent—he decides to look into the matter. Finn is larger than life and has always been too old for Peyton, but she’s all grown up now, and when they reconnect, sparks fly. She knows his interest is fleeting (he’s a no-commitment kind of guy) but she’ll take his help with gratitude and nurse her broken heart when it’s over. If she can stay alive. Legendary romance author Garwood delivers a novel that is at times clever, original and sigh-worthy, at other moments, silly and simplistic. Fans of romance and especially Garwood will find glimpses of her brilliance, but elements of the suspense, plot and characterization are sprawling, disjointed and disappointing.

 Uneven and oddly framed, though true believers will find enough Garwood in here to keep them satisfied.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-525-95301-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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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 clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE

The much-loved royal romance genre gets a fun and refreshing update in McQuiston’s debut.

Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the American President Ellen Claremont, knows one thing for sure: He hates Henry, the British prince to whom he is always compared. He lives for their verbal sparring matches, but when one of their fights at a royal wedding goes a bit too far, they end up falling into a wedding cake and making tabloid headlines. An international scandal could ruin Alex’s mother’s chances for re-election, so it’s time for damage control. The plan? Alex and Henry must pretend to be best friends, giving the tabloids pictures of their bromance and neutralizing the threat to Ellen's presidency. But after a few photo ops with Henry, Alex starts to realize that the passionate anger he feels toward him might be a cover for regular old passion. There are, naturally, a million roadblocks between their first kiss and their happily-ever-after—how can American political royalty and actual British royalty ever be together? How can they navigate being open about their sexualities (Alex is bisexual; Henry is gay) in their very public and very scrutinized roles? Alex and Henry must decide if they’ll risk their futures, their families, and their careers to take a chance on happiness. Although the story’s premise might be a fantasy—it takes place in a world in which a divorced-mom Texan Democrat won the 2016 election—the emotions are all real. The love affair between Alex and Henry is intense and romantic, made all the more so by the inclusion of their poetic emails that manage to be both funny and steamy. McQuiston’s strength is in dialogue; her characters speak in hilarious rapid-fire bursts with plenty of “likes,” “ums,” creative punctuation, and pop-culture references, sounding like smarter, funnier versions of real people. Although Alex and Henry’s relationship is the heart of the story, their friends and family members are all rich, well-drawn characters, and their respective worlds feel both realistic and larger-than-life.

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31677-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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