cover image Larkspur Road

Larkspur Road

Jill Gregory. Berkley Sensation, $7.99 mass market (304p) ISBN 978-0-425-25089-1

Stock characters, clichéd plot points, and a secondary story ripped from the headlines do not serve Gregory well in her second Lonesome Way romance (after Sage Creek). Tired of red tape, former FBI agent Travis Tanner returns to his small Montana hometown to start a security company; reconnect with his 10-year-old stepson, Grady, and get the boy back on track academically; and maybe strike sparks with his high school honey, Mia Quinn. But Mia, an elementary school teacher who is Grady’s best hope, comes from a long line of jilted women and has enough on her plate: her prickly great-aunt needs help but won’t acknowledge it, and her secretive teen niece is an uninvited summer houseguest. Gregory’s storytelling lacks nuance—compare sugar-sweet Mia to Travis’s ex-wife, who ignored her son and made him get rid of his pet hamster. The niece’s overdramatic story line reads like a cautionary article from Seventeen and exemplifies the book’s inauthenticity. Agent: Ellen Levine, Trident Media Group. (May)