cover image Bad Romeo

Bad Romeo

Leisa Rayven. St. Martin’s Griffin, $14.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-06327-4

Rayven’s debut adult contemporary romance shows some skill with prose, but gets lost in its own tangled plot. Cassie Taylor, a young actress making her debut on Broadway, learns that her emotionally constipated ex, Ethan Holt, has been cast as her leading man. Their torrid college affair began when they played Romeo and Juliet together, and Cassie doesn’t want to give Ethan another chance to break her heart. But Ethan is determined to show Cassie that he’s changed, and that onstage chemistry can lead to offstage happiness. As their relationship in the present progresses, a separate thread portrays the painful self-destruction of their previous connection. Rayven creates a plausible snapshot of two overdramatic, psychologically damaged people unable to get over one another or to make their relationship work, but both Cassie and Ethan are so wounded, vicious, and unpleasant that the theoretically happy ending is completely unbelievable—and undesirable. Agent: Christina Hogrebe, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Dec.)