A playful and engaging commentary on the pitfalls of attachment phobia.

THE TWO-DATE RULE

A fiercely independent young woman meets a nearly perfect firefighter and reconsiders her personal commitment to staying single in this sexy contemporary romance.

Willa Frank may have grown up with an alcoholic single dad who struggled to support his family, but she now owns a successful business, and she’s not about to let anything threaten her success, least of all a man. To that end, she has a long-held policy that she won’t go on more than two dates with the same guy. Willa’s system seems to be working just fine until she meets Grady Billman. Approached by Grady during a girls’ night out, Willa first thinks he’s a stripper. Grady is actually a smokejumper who leaps from planes to put out fires for a living, a job that requires long periods of travel and makes him totally ill-suited for a relationship. Willa’s supposition that Grady is the perfect guy for her next two dates quickly proves problematic when date No. 1 sizzles with unique and electric chemistry. In order to circumvent Willa’s two-date rule, she and Grady devise increasingly ridiculous rationales as to why subsequent meetups don’t “count” as dates. (Hiking isn’t a date because there’s nothing romantic about exercise.) As they spend more time together, Willa begins to question her personal policies. Unfortunately, when she lets her guard down, she loses a big client and takes it out on Grady, making it unclear whether she will ever get out of her own way and allow herself true happiness. Told in the third person, the story shows both Willa’s and Grady’s thoughts throughout. As fun and flirty as the book first appears, Willa has serious anxiety caused by her difficult upbringing, and Grady has deep commitment issues of his own. Fenske, the author of Snowbound Squeeze (2020), handles these issues with insight and grace throughout this fast-paced, nuanced tale. The author also manages to include several interesting details about the life of smokejumpers without interrupting the swift flow of the action-packed plot. Complete with hot sex scenes, snarky double-entendres, slapstick humor, and quirky girlfriends, this comedic romp through modern-day dating checks all the romance boxes.

A playful and engaging commentary on the pitfalls of attachment phobia.

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64063-743-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A gentle love story perfect for anyone looking for love amid personal, family, and financial crises.

THE LOST AND FOUND BOOKSHOP

With her promotion to vice president of digital inventory at a Sonoma winery, Natalie Harper finally has the financial security she's always wanted, but a sudden tragedy sends her home to rescue her late mother's charming bookstore.

Once in San Francisco, Natalie moves back into her childhood home, an eclectic set of apartments above the bookshop, a home she shares with her grandfather Andrew, who is suffering from dementia and other mysterious ailments. Blythe, Natalie's mother, loved books, but she was not a savvy businesswoman. Natalie arrives to find unpaid bills and back taxes. Housed in the historic Sunrose Building, the bookshop certainly has stories of its own to tell: Originally a saloon and brothel, it was eventually bought by Natalie's great-grandparents, who converted it into a home and apothecary. Luckily, “hammer for hire” Peach Gallagher shows up. Strong and gorgeous, the contractor catches Natalie's eye, and he certainly is drawn to the curly-haired proprietress. But Peach doesn't date clients, and Natalie is gun-shy from her previous relationship. Plus, she's already met Peach’s adorable little girl, Dorothy. Natalie isn't about to break up a marriage, but she doesn’t know Peach is actually divorced. Wiggs skillfully manipulates the stock in trade of a master romance novelist as she orchestrates Peach and Natalie's inevitable love story. To challenge Peach, enter Trevor Dashwood, a gorgeous and wealthy children's book author, whose books have already won Dorothy's heart. Hosting a book signing with Trevor might help the store’s bottom line. Meanwhile, Natalie, Peach, and Andrew find historical artifacts hidden in the Sunrose building’s walls. Will it be enough to save the store?

A gentle love story perfect for anyone looking for love amid personal, family, and financial crises.

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-291409-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE

The much-loved royal romance genre gets a fun and refreshing update in McQuiston’s debut.

Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the American President Ellen Claremont, knows one thing for sure: He hates Henry, the British prince to whom he is always compared. He lives for their verbal sparring matches, but when one of their fights at a royal wedding goes a bit too far, they end up falling into a wedding cake and making tabloid headlines. An international scandal could ruin Alex’s mother’s chances for re-election, so it’s time for damage control. The plan? Alex and Henry must pretend to be best friends, giving the tabloids pictures of their bromance and neutralizing the threat to Ellen's presidency. But after a few photo ops with Henry, Alex starts to realize that the passionate anger he feels toward him might be a cover for regular old passion. There are, naturally, a million roadblocks between their first kiss and their happily-ever-after—how can American political royalty and actual British royalty ever be together? How can they navigate being open about their sexualities (Alex is bisexual; Henry is gay) in their very public and very scrutinized roles? Alex and Henry must decide if they’ll risk their futures, their families, and their careers to take a chance on happiness. Although the story’s premise might be a fantasy—it takes place in a world in which a divorced-mom Texan Democrat won the 2016 election—the emotions are all real. The love affair between Alex and Henry is intense and romantic, made all the more so by the inclusion of their poetic emails that manage to be both funny and steamy. McQuiston’s strength is in dialogue; her characters speak in hilarious rapid-fire bursts with plenty of “likes,” “ums,” creative punctuation, and pop-culture references, sounding like smarter, funnier versions of real people. Although Alex and Henry’s relationship is the heart of the story, their friends and family members are all rich, well-drawn characters, and their respective worlds feel both realistic and larger-than-life.

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31677-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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