Witty banter and sexual chemistry blend together to concoct a compelling romance story.

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PRETENDING HE'S MINE

A sober, no-nonsense workaholic welcomes an entirely new worldview when he invites his best friend’s free-wheeling and energetic sister to live with him.

Dedicated Hollywood agent Julian Hart is caught in a deep conflict. Even as his entire career revolves around the success of his top-billing client and best friend, Carter Williamson, he nurses an inconvenient attraction to Carter’s sister, Ashley. When he bails her out of a tough spot by letting her stay in his home, he doesn’t realize he’s bitten off more than he can chew. Ashley has had an effervescent crush on her brother’s friend since she was a teenager, which bubbles up when she begins to share Julian’s living space. When the two find themselves pretending to be a couple at a family reunion because Ashley is tired of the censure she faces from her family due to her singlehood, they finally acknowledge their mutual attraction. But Julian’s preoccupation with Carter’s career complicates their equation, especially since Ashley has consistently lived in the shadow of a brother she loves and respects. The second installment in the Love on Cue series puts a refreshingly modern and funny spin on the traditional idea that opposites attract. Ashley and Julian are opposites in almost every way: He is deeply committed to his career, while flight attendant Ashley has a gift for music that she's too afraid to pursue. Her sparkling energy electrifies Julian into acknowledging his internal conflicts while Julian’s steadfastness inspires Ashley to take herself more seriously. The journey of the characters seems more real because Sosa deftly weaves several socially relevant threads, like whitewashing in the entertainment industry, into the fabric of her story.

Witty banter and sexual chemistry blend together to concoct a compelling romance story.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-269040-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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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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