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 heartfelt look at taking second chances, in life and in love.

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BEACH READ

Two struggling authors spend the summer writing and falling in love in a quaint beach town.

January Andrews has just arrived in the small town of North Bear Shores with some serious baggage. Her father has been dead for a year, but she still hasn’t come to terms with what she found out at his funeral—he had been cheating on her mother for years. January plans to spend the summer cleaning out and selling the house her father and “That Woman” lived in together. But she’s also a down-on-her-luck author facing writer’s block, and she no longer believes in the happily-ever-after she’s made the benchmark of her work. Her steadily dwindling bank account, though, is a daily reminder that she must sell her next book, and fast. Serendipitously, she discovers that her new next-door neighbor is Augustus Everett, the darling of the literary fiction set and her former college rival/crush. Gus also happens to be struggling with his next book (and some serious trauma that unfolds throughout the novel). Though the two get off to a rocky start, they soon make a bet: Gus will try to write a romance novel, and January will attempt “bleak literary fiction.” They spend the summer teaching each other the art of their own genres—January takes Gus on a romantic outing to the local carnival; Gus takes January to the burned-down remains of a former cult—and they both process their own grief, loss, and trauma through this experiment. There are more than enough steamy scenes to sustain the slow-burn romance, and smart commentary on the placement and purpose of “women’s fiction” joins with crucial conversations about mental health to add multiple intriguing layers to the plot.

A heartfelt look at taking second chances, in life and in love.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0673-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Jove/Penguin

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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