cover image JUST THE WAY YOU ARE


Christina Dodd, . . Pocket, $6.99 (374pp) ISBN 978-0-7434-5617-3

Shining with all the humor of her historical romances—but with a sassy edge that reflects the story's modern setting—Dodd's (My Favorite Bride, etc.) first foray into the contemporary arena is nothing short of a success. Separated from her siblings since her parents' death seven years earlier, Hope Prescott works as an answering service operator and dreams of getting a job that will finance her search for her family—not to mention socks without holes. While calling in for his messages, Zack Givens, a Boston CEO notorious for his cold manner, accidentally leads Hope to believe that he's his butler, and her scorn for the rich and heartless as well as her warm, caring manner encourages him to continue the charade. Upon meeting Hope in person and realizing that she has a heart of gold, Zack's focus turns possessive and sexual, and his stratagems revolve around getting her in bed and then showering her with wealth. But secrets from Hope's past and Zack's distrust conspire to ruin their happiness. Zack's poor estimation of Hope's moral strength may disturb some readers, but his bewilderment and agony when he realizes his mistake will soften hearts. Aside from one farcical side trip—when Hope is kidnapped by a crime lord—Dodd's surefooted story is lively, sexy and certain to expand her readership. (June 3)

Forecast:Though this novel has considerable crossover appeal, its cover doesn't cry out "hip" or "contemporary." Word will spread quickly among those in the romance community, however, and sales will likely match (if not exceed) the heights of Dodd's popular Governess Bride books.