Chase retains her well-earned star status.

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DUKES PREFER BLONDES

Beautiful heiress Lady Clara Fairfax is getting tired of proposals from men she doesn’t want, so when she meets brilliant, compelling barrister Oliver Radford, she is intrigued, then enthralled as the two attempt to save an urchin and survive the dangerous aftermath of their benevolent alliance.

Lady Clara is the catch of the season, but so far no one has tempted her to be caught. To escape the endless line of suitors vying for her hand in marriage she has become involved in the Milliners’ Society for the Education of Indigent Females, which “housed and educated girls determined, against prodigious odds, to be respectable.” Tired of being a society ornament, she finds great pleasure in improving lives, and when one of the society’s protégées asks for help retrieving her brother from a sordid street gang, Clara approaches Oliver Radford, a barrister well-known for his powerful legal mind and his flexible social connections from all walks of life. Radford is a perfect ally for the task. However, rescuing the boy puts them all in unexpected danger from both a risky illness and a vicious enemy. At first drawn to Radford’s intelligence, which too often swings toward impatience, Clara is torn between putting him in his place and rising far above his low expectations, but once he understands that her outer beauty and fashion-plate style are simply window dressing to a bright mind and conscientious spirit, they understand they have met their matches—and perfect mates—in each other. Now all they have to do is outwit their enemies and settle into an unexpected social position, both of which are complicated obstacles to a happy future. Chase moves beyond the couture Noirot sisters in her historical Dressmakers series, and the unconventional pairing of an aristocrat and a barrister, plus an exploration of London poverty and the well-intentioned "ragged schools," adds fascinating social and historical texture.

Chase retains her well-earned star status.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-210034-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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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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