MacLean's latest shines with the intensity, wit, and emotion for which she's celebrated.

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THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN

From the Scandal and Scoundrel series , Vol. 1

After Sophie Talbot creates a scandal, she tries to escape aristocratic society by stowing away in the Marquess of Eversley’s carriage—but she winds up in even more trouble.

Since her father went from being a coal miner to a rich businessman to an earl, Sophie has become increasingly unhappy. Unlike her sisters, who take glee in creating scandal and flaunting the mores of Victorian society, Sophie hates feeling like an outsider and detests the hypocritical aristocracy. But when she goes too far, pushing her brother-in-law the Duke of Haven into a fish pond after she catches him in a compromising position at a garden party, she asks the rakish Marquess of Eversley, nicknamed King, to give her a ride back to Mayfair. When he denies her request, she pays one of his grooms for his livery and hitches a ride on the back of the carriage. But it turns out that the carriage isn't going to Mayfair; when it heads out of London, Sophie is stuck on the road with an angry King and no way home. Changing her plans, she asks King to deliver her to the small town where she spent her childhood, claiming a lost love is waiting for her. Skeptical but intrigued, King agrees, but nothing goes as planned for the antagonistic pair, who snipe at each other along the journey yet somehow turn to each other in times of trouble, even while a sense of pride keeps them from admitting their growing regard and attraction. When King finally takes Sophie back to his home in Cumbria, where he'd been headed all along to see his ailing father, a series of miscommunications drives the couple apart, risking their happy-ever-after. MacLean’s elegant writing, brisk storytelling, and clever dialogue are frosting on the cake of Sophie’s compelling romance, and they'll hook the reader into this new series about the risqué Talbot sisters, who must forge a path through a hostile social structure.

MacLean's latest shines with the intensity, wit, and emotion for which she's celebrated.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-237941-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 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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