The Singles Table

Sara Desai. Berkley, $16 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-10060-8

Desai does it again in her latest San Francisco–set rom-com starring the lively, eccentric Patel family (after The Dating Plan). Zara Patel, an impulsive, celebrity-obsessed personal injury lawyer with a penchant for playing matchmaker, loves romance—for other people. Her parents’ devastating divorce has made her both crave intimacy and flee from it. So when she finds herself powerfully attracted to Jay Dayal, a rigid Air Force veteran, at a mutual friend’s joint bachelor-bachelorette paintball party, her response is to shoot him in the butt. As an apology, she offers to matchmake for Jay, who agrees, wanting to please his single mother, who’s urging him to date more—but the strong chemistry between Zara and Jay quickly leads them to abandon this plan in favor of sizzling-hot sex. However, when Zara’s first celebrity client demands she go after Jay’s security startup for failing to protect him from a threat, the clash of professional and personal ambitions threatens the relationship neither of them claim to want but both desperately need. Zara and Jay are a refreshingly self-aware pair, and it’s eminently satisfying to see them not just address their business conflicts but seek professional psychological help, Zara for her fear of abandonment and Jay for PTSD. Desai’s fans will be delighted. Agent: Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary. (Nov.)