cover image Wild Heat

Wild Heat

Lucy Monroe. Grand Central/Forever, $6 mass market (336p) ISBN 978-1-4555-7548-0

In the first of her Northern Fire series, Monroe (the Children of the Moon series) introduces Cailkirn, Alaska, the small town Kitty Grant’s ancestors founded nearly 200 years ago. Eight years after Kitty escaped Cailkirn, she returns to rebuild her life, following her divorce from an abusive husband who sent her spiraling into anorexia. Tack MacKinnon runs a hiking tour company that caters to tourists from cruise ships. He was heartbroken when Kitty broke off their longtime friendship and got married (though her spouse remains in California), and now he’ll do anything to protect his heart while helping her recover her health. With immediate chemistry between them, he uses casual, hot sex to bribe her to eat. Tack’s insistence on pretending to be just friends hamstrings the development of romance; the jealousy and misunderstandings are never balanced by tenderness. The repeated introduction of flat protagonists for future books gives the novel an unsatisfying episodic feel. Agent: Ethan Ellenberg, Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency. (May)