cover image SAY NO TO JOE?


Lori Foster, . . Zebra, $6.99 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-8217-7512-7

In the latest entry in Foster's Winston Brothers series (following Wild), two protagonists take on danger, parenthood and their lust for each other, but the fact that the violence and sex occur in the presence of children may make some readers uneasy. Two years after the death of a distant cousin, Luna Clark agrees to take over guardianship of her cousin's children. Luna enlists the help of bounty-hunter-turned-bodyguard Joe Winston, a virile hunk who's delighted to flee a series of attacks on his life and seduce curvy Luna. But Joe's stalker follows them to Visitation, N.C., where they meet the children for the first time and discover a town rife with agendas. Family bonding occurs instantly (a fact that may surprise real-life moms), though mysteries like the kids' true father and the source of Joe's danger take longer to resolve. The frantic foreplay that preoccupies the couple throughout would be harmless fun in Foster's less child-driven books. But no matter how much Joe and Luna praise their own parenting skills, scenes like the one in which the kids discover them arousing each other in the kitchen at 10 in the morning are little short of creepy. The author's loyal fans may enjoy the book's high sexual content, but this sketchily plotted effort is far from Foster's best. (Aug.)