cover image Too Hot to Handle

Too Hot to Handle

Victoria Dahl. HQN, $7.99 mass market (320p) ISBN 978-0-373-77746-4

Merry Kade joins her best friend, Grace Barret (heroine of Close Enough to Touch), in Jackson, Wyo., for a fresh start. Merry, called the Merry Slacker because of her propensity to drift from job to job, is hired by tourist-hungry locals to restore a ghost town, Providence, and open it as a museum. One snag: the carpenter she asks to help her with the job, Shane Harcourt, owns Providence and doesn’t want to see it ever become a tourist attraction. He decides to work for Merry so he can spy on her and subvert her efforts. Supposedly sweet Merry comes off as overly needy, and it’s never clear why she has so many issues. The love scenes are steamy as Shane fulfills Merry’s fantasies, but there is very little to bring them together outside of bed. The wise-cracking trio of Grace, Cole, and great-aunt Rayleen are mere shadows in this sequel—a fact that will disappoint returning readers. Agent: Amy Moore-Benson, AMB Literary Management. (Apr.)