cover image Summer in the City

Summer in the City

Lori Wilde, Priscilla Oliveras, and Sarah Skilton. Kensington, , $15.95 ISBN 978-1-4967-3267-5

Three friends plan separate nights out in New York City only for a citywide power outage to interfere in this uneven anthology of linked rom-com novellas. In Wilde’s cliché-ridden “Night at the Museum,” fine-art restorer Ria Preston and money manager Victor Albright flirt from a distance for months before meeting at the Met on the night of the blackout. Their nigh-on-psychic ability to immediately understand each other’s backstories, personalities, and motivations kills the romantic and dramatic tension, making their “fated love” mere narrative contrivance. Oliveras’s “Lights Out” sees sparks fly when Mateo Garza, a Lin Manuel Miranda–esque Broadway sensation, rescues his high school crush, theatre critic Vanessa Ríos, from a panicking crowd on the opening night of his show. Her bad review of his previous project provides believable conflict and raises the stakes to their killer chemistry. Art teacher Alison Cahill seeks revenge on her college ex-boyfriend, Nick Finn, by ruining his debut as a magician in Skilton’s “Mind Games.” Though a sexy magician is a tough sell, Nick’s banter and backstory with Alison will win readers over. N.Y.C.-loving rom-com fans may find two out of three isn’t bad. [em](June) [/em]