Stewart's (Last Chance Matinee, 2017, etc.) latest is an endearing beachside romance.

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THE CHESAPEAKE BRIDE

A charming world traveler sets his sights on an intelligent architect who has no time for courtship.

Owen Parker has spent most of his 38 years traveling and resisting his great-grandmother’s urges for him to settle down. He’s lived and worked in places like Alaska, Australia, and Costa Rica, but there’s something that calls him home to Cannonball Island, a close-knit community near Chesapeake Bay, where his great-grandmother runs the local general store. Owen’s friend Jared Chandler has a diving job for him, but when the Maryland Historical Society gets wind that there may be something important lurking in the Chesapeake’s murky waters, Owen has to hold off. Also in town is Cass Logan, an architect heading up a multimillion dollar development deal to renovate the abandoned, wind- and sea-damaged homes along Cannonball Island’s shore. Unfortunately, the Historical Society’s decision to halt any disturbances to the water until scans and tests can be done has put the project on hold. After a heartbreaking but amicable divorce from her college sweetheart, Cass is thankful for the distractions the small island provides, and while she’s not exactly itching to get back into the dating game, she’s noticed Owen’s attention on her more than once. Owen and Cass are both hesitant to start a relationship; Owen is wary of putting down roots, and Cass is still coming to terms with her divorce. Living in such a small and oftentimes meddling community, Cass and Owen are thrown into each other’s paths over and over again. The romance is slow and sweet; readers who vie for more sexual tension between main characters may find this a little too tepid. However, the lack of unnecessary melodrama, angst, and over-the-top gestures makes this a refreshing contemporary romance between two adults who act as such.

Stewart's (Last Chance Matinee, 2017, etc.) latest is an endearing beachside romance.

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5435-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 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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