Center delivers another satisfying, romantic read with a swoonworthy hero and a delightful main character.

THE BODYGUARD

When a professional bodyguard is assigned to cover a famously reclusive actor, sparks fly.

Hannah Brooks is an Executive Protection Agent, better known as a bodyguard. Although many people picture bodyguards as big, burly men, Hannah stays undercover and unnoticed as a 5-foot-5 female agent, often blending in as a nanny. And although Hannah could easily incapacitate or even kill a threat, her job is to “anticipate harm before it ever materializes—and avoid it.” She spends most of her work time traveling the world, which is just how she likes it—that is, until her mother dies, her boss makes her take some time off, and her fellow agent boyfriend dumps her. Now she’s stuck at home in Houston, grieving and lonely, wishing for a job that could take her far away. So when her boss assigns her to an actor who’s visiting his ailing mother in nearby Katy, Hannah’s not interested. Sure, Jack Stapleton is one of the sexiest men alive, but he’s not even sure he needs a bodyguard despite having a very persistent stalker. But Hannah’s boss has no intention of letting her off the hook, so she ends up protecting Jack as he stays with his family on their ranch. Jack hasn’t been in the public eye since his brother died a few years ago, preferring to hide out in the remote mountains of North Dakota instead of making blockbuster films. Now that he’s back in Texas, he doesn’t want his mother to know he has protection, fearing the stress might adversely affect her treatment, so he convinces Hannah to pose as his girlfriend. As Hannah gets to know Jack and his family, she realizes that there’s more to him than she thought—but how much of their connection is real, and how much of it is acting? Center brings her signature warmth and wit to this movie-ready premise, blending a heartwarming romance with quirky side characters and even a little bit of action. Hannah, who worries that she’s inherently unlovable after getting dumped, is an endearing and vulnerable lead underneath her serious, tough-girl exterior.

Center delivers another satisfying, romantic read with a swoonworthy hero and a delightful main character.

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2502-1939-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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