E-Originals from Leslie A. Kelly and Lia Riley, plus Debuter Audrey Wick | Xpress Reviews

Week ending March 2, 2018

Kelly, Leslie A. Watching You. Forever Yours. (Hollywood Heat, Bk. 1). Mar. 2018. 384p. ebk. ISBN 9781538761205. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
In her new series opener, Kelly introduces the Winchester brothers. Reece, Rowan, and Raine were all child actors who left the business after the death of their older sister. Reece alone has returned to the industry, first as a performer and now as a producer/director. Reece is a man who likes the control that comes with being in charge. When he begins to feel a powerful attraction toward aspiring screenwriter Jessica Jensen, Reece attempts to set the pace—a plan that fails spectacularly. Jessica is an independent woman who has had to set her own course for most of her life. She is equally attracted to Reece but isn’t about to be steamrolled into a relationship. As the two navigate their chemistry, their burgeoning relationship is threatened by a dangerous stalker.
Verdict Kelly (Cold Memory) hits all the right notes here and balances the romance with suspense to very nice effect, making this a must read for readers who like a bit of danger with their love story. Recommended.—Jane Jorgenson, Madison Public Library, WI

Riley, Lia. Virgin Territory. Avon Impulse. (Hellions Angels, Bk. 3). Mar. 2018. 186p. ebk. ISBN 9780062662507. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Yoga instructor Margot Kowalski needs to focus on building her reputation so she can get enough financial backing to open her own studio. When the head coach of the Denver Hellions hockey team asks her to help their talented-but-troubled goalie, it offers the exposure she needs. That is, if she can get her client to agree to try some basic poses. Patrick “Patch” Donnelly could be the best goalie in the NHL, if only he could stop flying off the handle in and out of the rink. When this good Catholic boy from Boston is given the ultimatum to work with a holistic yoga instructor or get benched, he ends up opening his mind and heart to the sassy teacher who turns out to hold her own against his foul moods. As the two grow closer, secrets about their pasts, including the goalie’s virginity, threaten to ruin everything they’ve been working hard to build.
Verdict This third book in the “Hellions Angels” series (after Head Coach) is another love-at-first-sight tale with some social issues tacked on, in this case domestic violence. Fans of the series will once again get heat both on and off the ice.—John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll., Boston

Wick, Audrey. Finding True North. Tule. (Texas Sisters, Bk. 1). Apr. 2018. 213p. ebk. ISBN 9781948342445. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
[DEBUT] The ink is drying on Paige Fredrick’s divorce and she’s contemplating single-motherhood when she runs into her high school heartthrob Everett Mullins. Not ready to divulge her recent marital woes, she finds herself telling Everett that she is widowed and neglects to mention her young son. Everett’s from out of town, and Paige can’t see the harm in the lie if it helps her get through the day. Everett has other plans, however, and could use a break from his mother’s chemo treatments with some food and a chat with his high school crush. When her son gets sick, Paige is going to have to decide if she wants to keep the lie and let the man go or come clean with the hopes of starting anew.
Verdict In Wick’s debut, Paige and Everett are both hiding secrets that, unfortunately, aren’t given the time and space they need to make an emotional impact. Each broods internally, but how the knowledge—when revealed—affects the other and their relationship is largely missing. Paige’s relationships with her sister, Mallory, and her best friend Danica, however, are well formed, dynamic, and heart-warming and show potential for exploration in the “Texas Sisters” series and, hopefully, continued growth for Paige and Everett.—Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Cincinnati Blue Ash

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