A sexy, engaging romance set in the captivating world of rodeo.

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RECKLESS IN TEXAS

When rodeo contractor Violet Jacobs hires a relatively obscure bullfighter for a short contract and gets superstar Joe Cassidy instead, she's blindsided by the blazing attraction that flares between them but intimidated by all the differences she's convinced will keep them apart.

Violet wants nothing more than to heighten her family’s profile as rodeo contractors, but keeping track of current commitments, her young son, a messy love life, and other family complications makes it hard to do. When she hires a bullfighter—the person in the ring who protects the riders—to close out their Texas season, she’s surprised when superstar Joe Cassidy, the best in the field, shows up instead. Joe is superconnected in the industry but has recently been publicly and unfairly fired by Dick Browning, an influential contractor with a reputation for being impossible to work with. Joe has come to Texas to work in a much smaller pond than he’s used to, mostly to get away from the toxic Browning. When the Jacobs family enfolds him like a son and he and Violet dance around the possibility of an affair, he wonders if the time has come to let go of his old dream of working as a partner on Browning’s ranch and perhaps stake a claim with Violet and her family. But relationships are problematic territory for both Violet and Joe, and trying to get on the same wavelength leaves them both hurt and confused and in very different parts of the country. In order to find happiness, they’ll have to figure out how to rescue each other from their shared path of mistakes and miscommunication. Dell’s writing is notable, and her rodeo setting is fascinating, with characters that leap off the page and an intriguing series of actions, conflicts, and back story elements that keep the plot moving even though Violet and Joe’s missed connections occasionally seem strained.

A sexy, engaging romance set in the captivating world of rodeo.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3194-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 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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This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

OUTFOX

An FBI agent is determined to catch a man who bilks and murders wealthy women, but the chase goes slowly.

Brown (Tailspin, 2018, etc.) has published 70 bestsellers, and this one employs her usual template of thriller spiked with romance. Its main character, Drex Easton, is an FBI agent in pursuit of a serial killer, but for him it’s personal. When he was a boy, his mother left him and his father for another man, Weston Graham. Drex believes Graham murdered her and that he has killed at least seven more women after emptying their bank accounts. Now he thinks he has the clever Graham—current alias Jasper Ford—in his sights, and he’s willing to put his career at risk to catch him. The women Ford targets are wealthy, and his new prey is no exception—except that, uncharacteristically, he has married her. Talia Ford proves to be a complication for Drex, who instantly falls in lust with her even though he’s not at all sure she isn’t her husband's accomplice. Posing as a would-be novelist, Drex moves into an apartment next door to the Fords’ posh home and tries to ingratiate himself, but tensions rise immediately—Jasper is suspicious, and Talia has mixed feelings about Drex's flirtatious behavior. When Talia’s fun-loving friend Elaine Conner turns up dead after a cruise on her yacht and Jasper disappears, Drex and Talia become allies. There are a few action sequences and fewer sex scenes, but the novel’s pace bogs down repeatedly in long, mundane conversations. Drex's two FBI agent sidekicks are more interesting characters than he is; Drex himself is such a caricature of a macho man, so heedless of ethics, and so aggressive toward women that it’s tough to see him as a good guy. Brown adds a couple of implausible twists at the very end that make him seem almost as untrustworthy as Graham.

This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4555-7219-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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