cover image Just the Way You Are

Just the Way You Are

Beverly Barton. Kensington/Zebra, $7.99 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-1-4201-3558-9

The late Barton (1946–2011) deserves to be remembered for her long career and not for this weak contemporary romance set in the Deep South, where reputation and family are everything. Mary Beth Caine’s worthless fiancé, Bobby Joe Weston, cheats on her during their engagement party, a blow only mitigated by a sexy stranger’s attentions to Mary Beth. Even when he turns out to be Bobby Joe’s older brother, Parr, Mary Beth can’t dial down her attraction to him. Alma, the Weston matriarch, begs her to give Bobby Joe another chance, and Parr backs off reluctantly. The lopsided love triangle is tedious. Mary Beth and Bobby Joe don’t share passion, respect, or companionship. In contrast, the chemistry pops when Mary Beth is with Parr, who alternates between seducing her and pushing her away. The only likable character is Alma, who is staunch in her love and loyalty and deserves her own happy-ever-after. Agent: Richard Curtis, Richard Curtis Associates. (Feb.)