A sheer delight.

READ REVIEW

YOU MAY KISS THE BRIDE

A well-born but penniless orphan is compromised by a wealthy gentleman and comes to realize that all the luxuries in the world aren’t enough reason to enter into a loveless marriage. Her plans to escape are foiled, though, when she begins to question her feelings—and his.

Livia Stuart has endured years of neglect from her guardians and derision from her neighbors— especially the spoiled, unkind Cecily Orr—which she has tried to rise above. When rich, handsome Gabriel Penhallow arrives to court Cecily at his pompous grandmother’s behest, he winds up kissing Livia at the ball where everyone’s expecting him to make an offer of marriage for Cecily. Of course, they are discovered; after Gabriel stiffly does his duty and says he'll marry Livia, it isn't long before he finds himself confused by his strangely ambivalent feelings toward the matter: “Green eyes blazed up at him, and he had to remind himself that blue eyes were better than green, and it was a foolish, regrettable kiss that had stolen from him his safe and predictable future. If she hadn’t been so tempting, everything would be perfect right now.” From that moment on, Gabriel is determined to maintain the legendary Penhallow control while Livia struggles with the idea of marrying the arrogant Gabriel. She wants to be loved and accepted, though she’d die before she’d admit it to him, or even herself. As they dance back and forth, aware of their blazing attraction but hiding behind their masks of manners and pride, they meet—and create—obstacle after obstacle to finding true affinity. Author Berne offers a masterful Regency debut that explores pride and prejudices with a tone that seems much less modern than that of many recent historical releases and two main characters who epitomize traditional Regency sensibilities (but for two love scenes) as they sort through what they want and how to get it. Livia becomes the sun shining in on a stuffy, wounded family whose initial dread at the thought of her joining them transforms into happiness as she turns out to be their salvation.

A sheer delight.

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245178-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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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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