E-Originals, April 19, 2019 | Xpress Reviews

Feels like an old-school comfort romance; Mann’s sexy contemporary delivers on what romance readers expect, and the Detroit setting offers a refreshing change of scenery; Bel and Jimmy are engaging protagonists even if their story is a bit thin

Week ending April 19, 2019

McArthur, Fiona. Lacey. Tule. (Outback Brides of Wirralong, Bk. 1). Mar. 2019. ebk. ISBN 978195051061. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Broken-spirited from her divorce, Lacey Jerome is back in Wirralong for the wedding of Holly and Ben (“Outback Brides” series). Policeman (and ladies’ man) Cameron James charmingly breezes in, and the two share a night after a wedding. But their time is cut short when Cameron gets word that a woman is going into labor at the train station—great thing that Lacey worked as a midwife in Perth. And as the baby is delivered in his backseat, Cameron reminds himself, out loud, why he’s sworn off relationships, women and children. Two weeks later, Lacey, back in Perth, discovers she is pregnant. Eight months later, Lacey returns to Wirralong to put a life for herself back together. No sooner is she back that Cameron returns to her side in a moment of déjà vu—only this time, it’s Lacey delivering. Cameron and Lacey delve into the emotional wounds that make them reluctant to come clean about their feeling for each other. Lacey discovers that Cameron isn’t averse to caring for a baby, and Cameron’s knack for real affection is surprising even himself.
VERDICT Both Lacey and Cameron can tug on heartstrings while being frustrating, which makes this title feel like an old-school comfort romance. While not the strongest entry in McArthur’s Wirralong books (Holly’s Heart), it will be welcome to fans.—Frannie Strober Cassano, Library Consultant, East Meadow, NY

Mann, Aliza. Breaking His Rules. Loveswept: Random. Apr. 2019. 220p. ISBN 9781984800152. $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Notorious playboy Ashton Lyle has a rule book he follows when it comes to picking up women, but all that goes out the window when he meets club owner Terra Ellis. Watching her from across the room, Ashton sees that Terra is uncomfortable with her date, so he swoops in, pretending to be an old acquaintance, which forces her date to move along. Terra is grateful for the assistance but wise to Ashton’s womanizing antics. Although Terra is everything Ashton typically avoids in his conquests, he is intrigued by this woman and can’t help but pursuing her. Terra is down for the game, knowing she won’t let her heart get involved. However, she soon learns that Ashton can fulfill her in ways that go beyond the bedroom. Despite growing close, both harbor secrets that, when they come to light, will test their budding romance.
VERDICT Although no new ground is broken here, Mann’s (Dark Hearts) sexy contemporary delivers on what romance readers expect, and the Detroit setting offers a refreshing change of scenery.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL

Meredith, MK. A Heated Touch of Action. MK Meredith. (Scripted for Love, Bk. 3). Mar. 2019. 178p. ebk. ISBN 9781732898042. $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
This is the third entry in Meredith’s “Scripted for Love” series focusing on the Cutler family (all of whom make an appearance, sometimes to confusing effect). Bel Cutler is a psychology professor whose career goal is to become an expert on all forms of love. She’s not personally seeking her one and only, but for a seminar she’s developing she wants to explore and present love in all ways and to do that she needs perfect photographs. Enter (or reenter) photographer Jimmy Callahan. Jimmy and Bel have met before, and the encounter ended with eggnog on someone’s head, so to say that Bel is not a fan is an understatement. But when Jimmy proposes a deal—his photographs for her spending time with him and relaxing—Bel reluctantly agrees (not least because of her family’s urgings). What she discovers is that there is far more to the bad boy photographer than she ever knew.
VERDICT Readers who have not read the first two books in the series ( Love Under the Hot Lights; Just a Little Camera Shy) may be confused by the multitude of supporting characters, but Bel and Jimmy are engaging protagonists even if their story is a bit thin.—Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI

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