cover image Tempted to Touch

Tempted to Touch

Sophia Shaw, Dafina, $6.99 paper (352p) ISBN 9780758234773

The subtitle to this verbose romantic thriller could be "When Good Friends Make Bad Roommates." Interior designer Renee Goodchild lets her pal Angela crash in her New York apartment only to find her stuff "borrowed" and subsequently trashed. Hot investment manager Trent Skinner, who hires Renee to redecorate his townhouse, is a welcome distraction, but he has a secret: he believes Renee is trying to extort money from his cousin. When he realizes he's mistaken, he sets out to woo Renee instead. Renee's apartment is then violently ransacked, and Angela won't tell her what she knows. Shaw (Moment of Truth) writes appealing characters and realistic emotions, but the pace is undercut by a "tell, don't show" narrative approach and digressions that can go on for pages, turning a high-energy plot into a series of desperate sparks that never quite make a flame. (July)