cover image Bungalow Nights

Bungalow Nights

Christie Ridgway. HQN, $7.99 mass market (416p) ISBN 978-0-373-77745-7

Ridgway’s emotional and powerful second beach-themed contemporary (after Beach House No. 9) is exemplary in its slow exploration of desire. Col. Samuel Parker, dying in battle, made combat medic Vance Smith promise that he’d take Samuel’s daughter, Layla, on a series of sweet father-daughter outings in Samuel’s stead. Vance dutifully invites Layla to a month-long vacation at a California beach house—and is taken aback to discover she’s a fully grown woman. Vance is still determined to fulfill his vow in an upright fashion, even if he has trouble resisting Layla’s charms. As the pair watches sunsets and rides a Ferris wheel, Layla falls for the injured veteran and gently encourages him to reunite with his estranged family. The smoldering chemistry, a wonderfully evocative Californian setting of orange groves and avocado orchards, and a well-earned resolution to Layla’s grief and Vance’s family angst make this tender story everything a romance reader could hope for. Agents: Andrea Cirillo and Christina Hogrebe, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Mar.)