cover image The Good Ones

The Good Ones

Jenn McKinlay. Berkley, $7.99 mass market (304p) ISBN 978-0-451-49243-2

McKinlay (the Bluff Point Romance series) opens her Happily Ever After Romances with a cute contemporary. With a 14-year-old daughter to care for, divorced single father Ryder Copeland decides to take a steady administrative job in Charleston, S.C., but he agrees to one last contract job before leaving tiny Fairdale, N.C.: renovating the home of Maisy Kelly, who owns a local romance-focused bookstore. Ryder has a strict policy against dating clients, but Maisy’s bubbly personality makes it hard to follow that rule. Soon Maisy and her friends are acting more like surrogate mothers for Perry, Ryder’s daughter, than like business acquaintances. Maisy is ready to explore the possibility of having a future with Ryder, but he’s emotionally unavailable, has trouble opening up, and is focused on keeping things “temporary” so he can leave town with a clean conscience. There’s chemistry between Maisy and Ryder, character development is sufficient, and the growing relationship between Maisy’s friends and the Copelands will tug at the reader’s heart. The pace is temporarily slowed by a subplot involving the bookstore cat, but the setup for the next in the series ignites a new fire. Readers will be intrigued to see where McKinlay goes next. Agent: Christina Hogrebe, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Feb.)