E-Originals from Evans, Fox, Gray, and Kline | Xpress Reviews

Week ending May 19, 2017

Evans, Bronwen. Addicted to the Duke. Loveswept: Random. (Imperfect Lords, Bk. 1). Jun. 2017. 300p. ebk. ISBN 9780425284230. $4.99. REGENCY ROMANCE
Ten years ago, Alexander Bracken, now the Duke of Bedford, chose to test his mettle in England’s wars with the Barbary pirates of the Mediterranean. Captured by the Turks, he was eventually rescued but left captivity with a craving for opium and profound shame at the acts he was forced to commit to survive. Two years later, he rescued Hestia Cary, the daughter of his rescuer, from nearly suffering the same fate at the same hands. Now, Hestia is under threat yet again, and she turns to her savior, setting them both on a course either to vindicate their earlier bondage or repeat it, with danger approaching from all sides. Within the small confines of his ship, Alex is forced to confront his feelings for Hestia and his sense of unworthiness at her feelings for him. If he rescues her again, will it be enough finally to save him. Set on the high seas, this Regency romance makes deft use of one of its standard tropes: the debauched rake who considers himself irredeemable but dutybound to save the untouched heroine. The twist is that Alex has spent years fighting his opium addiction, while Hestia’s father forgives him for surviving what society at that time considered a fate worse than death.
Verdict It takes Hestia, who knows all and loves him anyway, to heal Alex’s heart. Regency romance fans looking for something just a bit different will adore this one from Evans (A Taste of Seduction).—Marlene Harris, Reading Reality, Atlanta

Fox, Calista. Obsession. Swerve: St. Martin’s. (Bayfront Billionaires, Bk. 4). Jun. 2017. 80p. ebk. ISBN 9781250129116. $2.99. EROTIC ROMANCE
Roxy Shea is on the run from a disastrous relationship, landing in Bayfront set to create an anonymous life where her past would never find her. Befriending Fallon and Sylvia introduces her to a new world of polyamorous relationships—never dreaming that she would find herself entangled in the ménage net. Like her friends, she soon discovers incredible passion with two very hunky billionaires. Hunter and Nick both know they want the captivating Roxy, but will her past come back to haunt them? This novella returns us to the ménage-friendly town of Bayfront, where sexy bachelors find women to share.
Verdict Fans of Fox will be surrounded by old friends in this fourth installment of the “Bayfront Billionaires” series (after Seduction). An exploration of desire and connection, fear and love, this latest entry is sure to please fans who like their reads hot and nontraditional.—Judy Taylor Garner, Strayer Univ., Glen Allen, VA

Gray, Rina. Crazy for You. Crimson Romance: S. & S. (Crush on You, Bk. 3). May 2017. 202p. ebk. ISBN 9781507204733. $4.99. MULTICULTURAL ROMANCE
Overworking her body, Charlotte Jones passes out at the nonprofit where she teaches dance. Yankees playboy pitcher Jake Ross happened to be nearby admiring her moves and rushes to her side. At the hospital, Jake poses as her boyfriend so the staff will let him in to see her. He has a multimillion dollar endorsement on the line from family-oriented company Threx, but the firm isn’t sure it wants a notorious ladies man to represent them. His publicist suggests that Jake and Charlotte continue the “relationship” ruse so that Jake can secure the contract. In return, Jake offers to be Charlotte’s personal trainer so that she can quickly lose some weight. Although she is protective of her heart, Charlotte is falling hard for Jake, even knowing it is not forever. When a stalker threatens Charlotte, Jake realizes he will do whatever it takes to protect the woman he loves.
Verdict In this series finale (after It’s Been You), Gray’s romantic setup starts out strong but falls flat with a predictable and clichéd subplot (the stalker uses cut-up magazine text to draft the threats), and readers will early on identify the culprit. Standard fare that most readers have seen before.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL

Kline, T.J. Risking It All. Avon Impulse. (Hidden Falls, Bk. 3). May 2017. 400p. ebk. ISBN 9780062651860. $1.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Gia Mancuso’s life has been turned upside down. She has to take a four-week leave of absence from her job, her sister has given her custody of her baby girl, she must run home to help her ailing father with the family business, and, of course, she runs into her ex-fiancé as soon as she gets to town. Andrew McQuaid is the one man Gia ever loved, but she believes he cheated on her—with her sister. Now she is back and has to face her old demons. Andrew has no idea why Gia left, but he should have run after her. As soon as he sees her, he knows he is still in love with her. But to win her again, he must figure out what went wrong so long ago and seek forgiveness for mistakes he’s made since then. Kline does an amazing job of illustrating the range of family dynamics. This next series entry (after Daring To Fall) will grab audiences and have them dying to know how these old flames will ignite again.
Verdict A great addition to any contemporary romance collection.—Jessica M. Strefling, U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, Washington, DC

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