A gripping, tragic portrait of a disintegrating relationship and of a valiant effort to restore a loving family.

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AN UNEXPECTED OUTCOME

A devoted, loving couple’s marriage is tested by the lure of material success in Cyr’s (An Accidental Abduction, 2014, etc.) second novel.

When aspiring artist Haley meets architect Colby Carlisle, she’s impressed with his intelligence and his well-defined priorities. He believes that strong relationships are the “most critical, and most often overlooked, element of success” and intends to prioritize his family above his work and the pursuit of a prosperous life. Family is important to Haley, as well; her father was murdered prior to her birth, and she was raised by a loving single mother. After she and Colby marry, they move to a home near Haley’s mother’s and begin planning what they hope will be a large, close family. While Colby builds his career as an architect, Haley finds success as an artist and regularly volunteers at a local home for domestic-violence victims. Following the birth of their son, Connor, Colby gets an employment opportunity that could bring him international recognition and great wealth—if he agrees to place his career above his family. His reaction to this Faustian bargain has unforeseen and dire consequences for the life he’s worked so hard to nurture. Cyr successfully creates a realistic scenario with complex, sympathetic main characters. Colby and Haley are an earnest young couple who sincerely believe that a solid marriage and family life are more important than financial success, and the opening chapters effectively establish their bond, as well as their resolve to put each other first. The author also skillfully and subtly foreshadows the conflict that threatens to destroy the couple’s marriage; a prime example of this occurs early in the novel, when Colby wonders if they should renovate and sell their modest house in order to buy something more extravagant. Overall, the real strength of the story lies in the main characters, and Cyr does a fine job of clearly defining their motivations and showing how they change as they find success.

A gripping, tragic portrait of a disintegrating relationship and of a valiant effort to restore a loving family.

Pub Date: March 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-1507555033

Page Count: 272

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 8, 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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