E-Originals from Austin, Fletcher, Riley, and Wolff | Xpress Reviews

Week ending December 16, 2016

Austin, Winter. Sins of the Father. Crimson Romance. (McIntire County, Bk. 3). Dec. 2016. 191p. ebk. ISBN 9781440597251. $4.99. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
sinsofthefather121616In Eider, IA, recently minted police officer Jolie Murdoch discovers Aussie ex-marine MP Xavier Hartmann in the park next to a dead body: the father of a missing girl. After losing his leg on an IED, Xavier suffers from traumatic brain injury and doesn’t know how he ended up there. With no evidence to arrest him, Xavier is free to go, but Jolie is charged with keeping an eye on him. Although Xavier harbors secrets of his own, including his motive for coming to Eider in the first place, Jolie doesn’t feel he is capable of that kind of killing, and her romantic interest in a suspect is definitely a conflict of interest. When she makes a connection between another missing girl and their current case, she is led to the former county sheriff, who just happens to be her father, with more new evidence pointing to Xavier.
Verdict Austin (Born To Die) provides plenty of intrigue and suspense to keep the pages moving at a fast clip. The romance between Xavier and Jolie develops more slowly. Readers should address this series in order, as there is a good deal of backstory.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL

Fletcher, Kris. The Bridesmaid and the Bachelor. InterMix: Berkley. (Calypso Falls). Nov. 2016. 91p. ebk. ISBN 9781101989258. $199. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Kyrie Elias isn’t usually a risk-taker, but she would do anything to save her coffee shop from bankruptcy, which is how Kyrie finds herself impersonating her twin sister as a bridesmaid at a friend’s Las Vegas wedding in exchange for personal loan forgiveness. Unfortunately, there is one person Kyrie can’t fool. The groom’s brother, Ben Sitka, recognizes her immediately. Two years ago, Kyrie and Ben spent one perfect week together before going their separate ways. This could be their second chance, but can a small-town small business owner and a globe-trotting research scientist really make it work?
Verdict This tame romantic comedy aspires to but never quite achieves the screwball sparkle of its improbable premise. A prequel to the series opener, Life of the Party, coming in January.—Lindsay Morton, Pub. Lib. of Science

Riley, Alexa. Everything for Her. Carina: Harlequin. Jan. 2017. 384p. ebk. ISBN 9781488022661. $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Miles Osbourne is in college when he first sees high school student Mallory Sullivan participating on a quiz panel. He’s hooked (even getting a Mallory tattoo over his heart) and has the wealth to make sure that his multinational company gives her a college scholarship, followed by an internship. He even manages to get her an apartment at his complex, all unbeknownst to her. Mallory, meanwhile, has researched the heck out of the company that has supported her for five years so that she can do a great job in its accounting department; she even knows what computer programs it uses. If readers can accept that in all that time Mallory never saw a photo of the CEO, they’ll be able to accept the romance. Miles courts Mallory as soon as she begins at the firm, and no one outs him as the head honcho. It strains credulity, but the writing is competent, and readers will understand why Mallory might fall for such a controlling individual.
Verdict Multiple epilogs will be enjoyed by the reader who likes to imagine what happens beyond the “happily ever after.” This latest from Riley (Stealing Christmas) takes obsession to a new level.—B. Allison Gray, Goleta Lib., CA

Wolff, Tracy. Flawed. Loveswept: Random. (Ethan Frost, Bk. 4). Jan. 2017. 304p. ebk. ISBN 9781101884881. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Tori Reed thought she was starting to change her life around; then disaster strikes. She finds herself cut off from her trust fund and having to accept the help of Miles Girard, her best friend’s brother and someone she knows will do just about anything to get what he wants. What Tori doesn’t realize is that Miles wants her. The two find themselves drawn to each other despite their previous animosity and soon learn that sometimes people can change and grow from their past mistakes.
Verdict Readers of Wolff’s “Ethan Frost” series (Ruined; Addicted; Exposed) will enjoy this well-written glimpse into the lives of some of the series’ other characters and follow-up on Chloe and Ethan. Tori is a strong but vulnerable character that readers will enjoy getting to know.—Colleen Sargent, Lincoln Lib., Springfield, IL