E-Originals from Lemmon, Quincy, and Riley | Xpress Reviews

Week ending March 23, 2018

Lemmon, Jessica. Rumor Has It. Loveswept: Random. (Real Love, Bk. 4). May 2018. 212p. ebk. ISBN 9781101969472. $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Catarina Everhart’s column on relationships is going much better than her real-life one, but when her boss pairs her with a former football player for a special piece on dating, she finds the rest of her perfect little world turned upside down. Barrett Fox is a cocky egomaniac known for being the “bad boy of the NFL,” but his personal attack on a female ref was a little too aggressive. He’s agreed to a PR stunt with the local paper in hopes of rehabilitating his public image. The only problem is that he’s been set up with a prim, uptight reporter who finds his attitude toward women repulsive. What follows is the plot of every “opposites attract” romantic comedy, in which their relationship blossoms after both sides learn that a public persona often hides a more complicated individual.
Verdict Best seller Lemmon (Man Candy) sticks to the playbook in this stand-alone in her “Real Love” series but turns up the friction between the two to give their connection some genuine sizzle.—John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll., Boston

Quincy, Diana. The Duke Who Ravished Me. Loveswept: Random. (Rebellious Brides, Bk. 4). Apr. 2018. 237p. ebk. ISBN 9780399180088. $4.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Adam Fairfax, the Duke of Sunderford, is notorious for the flesh-filled exploits that have earned him the nickname “Sinful Sunny” in the gossip pages. But nothing has prepared him for the evening, in the midst of another private romp, when twin girls show up with a dour governess on his doorstep. The duke’s entire life is upended not only by his new wards but also by the governess, Isabel Finch, who desperately tries to hide her mysterious background and her surprising attraction to her infamous employer. Adam is slowly won over by his precocious wards and Isabel’s tenderness toward them. Shockingly, the duke finds himself wanting to reform for a chance at a domestic life he never knew he desired.
Verdict Quincy (From London with Love) has created well-rounded characters in this hotly seductive Regency romance that can be read as a stand-alone. Fans of the other books in this series will want to read this final installment.—Nicole J. Suarez, Frankfort P.L. Dist., IL

Riley, Alexa. Claimed. Carina: Harlequin. (For Her, Bk. 3). Mar. 2018. 352p. ebk. ISBN 9781488080623. $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Jordan Chen, security expert for the Osbourne Corp., falls in love at first sight with the beautiful Jay Rose, the executive assistant to the owner. Both are workaholics, kind of nerdy, and inexperienced when it comes to the opposite sex. Jordan is just about able to handle a friendship with Jay, one in which Jay chats compulsively during shared lunches and Jordan gazes at her while she eats a lot. Alternating first-person chapters relate their awkward efforts at making connections. Jordan’s attempts at being suave are both lame and tremendously funny. Jay’s embarrassment over Jordan’s faux pas is also amusing: their first date ends with an unexpected dip in the lake and a literal kick in the balls. However, things get pretty steamy quickly. Just as their relationship seems to be going well, Jay begins receiving anonymous threatening text messages and gifts. Her situation gets legitimately scary and suspenseful, and Jordan and his pals must come to her aid. It is refreshing to read about two virgins who don’t act coy or impossibly naïve; these two enthusiastically enter into a hot physical relationship.
Verdict While some readers of Riley’s (His Alone) latest may be uncomfortable with Jordan’s unchanging and extreme overprotectiveness, the characters’ quirks and the humorous situations that ensue make for a fun read.—B. Allison Gray, Goleta Lib., CA

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