cover image Playing for Keeps: A Heartbreaker Bay Novel

Playing for Keeps: A Heartbreaker Bay Novel

Jill Shalvis. Avon, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-274188-2

Shalvis’s seventh Heartbreaker Bay contemporary (after Hot Winter Nights), set in the Cow Hollow neighborhood of San Francisco, is a perfectly acceptable but formulaic romance. Sadie’s a woman of many talents: tattoo artist, dog whisperer, and survivor of a difficult childhood. One stormy night, a three-legged dog appears and she rescues the pup with help of the man she calls Suits, aka Caleb, a young, wildly successful entrepreneur with a passion for taking care of his loved ones. They’re oil and water, yet irresistibly drawn together. Sadie wants to see what’s under Caleb’s designer threads, while Caleb is fascinated by the pierced, aloof, tough artist. Lollipop, the rescue (who’s more likable than any of the human characters), keeps them in contact, and soon a slow-burning romantic and sexual connection develops. From the adorable meet-cute through interfering families and misunderstandings, the novel delivers sweet fun with warmth and joy, but no surprises. Agent: Robin Rue, Writers House. (Jan.)