Beautiful and worth staying up late to finish.

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A history-loving heroine saves her first love from a downward spiral in this emotional contemporary romance.

Jessica Creswell first meets Callen Hayes when she is 11 and he is 12. Lost and trying to find her way home, she finds Callen hiding in an old train car with noticeable bruises on his face. From then on, they become fast friends, meeting in secret. But after Callen gives Jessica her first kiss, he disappears from her life. A decade later, Callen is an award-winning composer, though he feels that his success is waning. Instead, he’s drowning himself in women, alcohol, and various other vices. Jessica and Callen’s reunion in Paris is disappointing, considering he’s drunk and doesn’t recognize her. Whatever Jessica had hoped would happen between them is written off as a lost cause. The third time’s the charm, though, when Jessica and Callen meet in France’s Loire Valley. Jessica is there for work, while Callen is hoping some relaxation will kick-start his creativity when it comes to new compositions. Callen isn’t the boy Jessica remembers, but she’s determined to help him conquer his demons like she did when they were kids. The tension between Callen and Jessica stems from what could have been, and it builds into a delicious will-they-won’t-they romance. Jessica has a love of French history and Callen is obsessed with music; it’s a treat watching each character nerd out over their interests. Sheridan (Archer’s Voice, 2018, etc.) accomplishes a feat with the realistic issues plaguing the characters: Callen harbors trauma from being physically and verbally abused by his father, while Jessica’s relationship with her dad is strained due to his constant infidelity to her late mother. Feeling much like a modern fairy tale, the well-crafted romance and beautiful French setting will take readers by surprise, with each page hitting the perfect note. Sheridan is one to watch.

Beautiful and worth staying up late to finish.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5387-2739-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Forever

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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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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