E-Originals, April 5, 2019 | Xpress Reviews

Highly recommended for all readers of contemporary romance, even those who haven’t read the earlier series titles; the attraction between Kerry and Caleb is believable and steamy, and the happy ending will be welcomed; Hansen crafts a stirring feminist take on the impacts of a military career

Week ending April 5, 2019

redstarCole, Alyssa. Can’t Escape Love: A Reluctant Royals Novella. Avon Impulse. Mar. 2019. 192p. ebk. ISBN 9780062931887. $1.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
In the continuation of her “Reluctant Royals” series ( A Princess in Theory; A Duke by Default), Cole brings us the story of Reggie and Gus. Reggie, the twin sister of Portia from Default, is in the midst of taking her pop culture website to the next level, leaving her with a case of insomnia. Enter Gus, the guy with the soothing voice who can help Reggie catch some ZZZs. A deleted online archive of Gus’s puzzle-solving site has Reggie forced to contact Gus directly to ask for his voice recordings. Having been contracted to conduct an escape room around a popular anime show that Gus knows nothing about, he agrees to help Reggie if she will help him. What was supposed to be a brief online acquaintance turns into a lovely story of how two people with their own challenges manage to navigate those obstacles to find a way to be together.
VERDICT Highly recommended for all readers of contemporary romance, even those who haven’t read the earlier series titles.—Sarah Sheehan, Manhattan Coll. Lib., Riverdale, NY

Flockton, Nicole. Next Door Knight. Tule. (Man’s Best Friend, Bk. 2). Mar. 2019. 166p. ebk. ISBN 9781949707922. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Kerry Williams has her plate full with a new house, a new job, and caring for her recovering father and hasn’t had time to meet any of her neighbors. Her dog Willow, trained as a therapy dog, runs away at the worst time but makes it possible for Kerry to acquaint herself with her grumpy yet handsome neighbor Caleb Bradshaw. Caleb, still physically and mentally healing from an injury while serving in the security forces division of the air force, blames himself for the death of his K-9 partner. Kerry and Caleb are attracted to each other but are struggling with very different forms of heartbreak. Can Willow unite them?
VERDICT Flockton (Blind Date Bet) puts Willow front and center in this heartwarming romance. The attraction between Kerry and Caleb is believable and steamy, and the happy ending will be welcomed by readers. This work can be enjoyed as part of the series or as a stand-alone.—Nicole J. Suarez, Frankfort P.L. Dist., IL

Hansen, Melanie. Keeping a Warrior. Carina: Harlequin. (Loving a Warrior, Bk. 2). Apr. 2019. 264p. ebk. ISBN 9781488036248. $3.99. MILITARY ROMANCE
Cultural Support Team member Devon Lowe is exceptional at her job and is joining a U.S. Navy SEAL unit to continue that vital work. However, her trust in men was betrayed by those who should have had her back, and the assault is still fresh in her mind. But Devon will not let that define her or keep her from going into war zones as an advocate for those who have none. Pararescue specialist Rhys Halloran remembers Devon and has admired her from the first. Coming off a recent breakup, he wants to prove that he can be trusted for all the right reasons. Rhys’s slow-burn regard for Devon makes their rapport easy. As Devon opens herself up, it’s appreciated, because Rhys knows something happened to her. The sex is super-hot, and Devon is vocal about what she likes and what she doesn’t. Rhys isn’t interested in casual sex, a key factor in their growing affection. Influences of #MeToo are present; triggering episodes include rape, land mine and IED explosions, and child casualties. Hansen’s deep knowledge of the military makes this read well for general fiction fans, too.
VERDICT Hansen (Loving a Warrior) crafts a stirring feminist take on the impacts of a military career. She explores what happens when “brothers-in-arms” trust is broken and how people from would-be defining pasts can find true love.—Frannie Strober Cassano, Lib. Consultant, East Meadow, NY

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