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Elisabeth Naughton. Montlake Romance, $12.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-5039-0078-3

Naughton’s third Deadly Secrets contemporary romantic thriller (after Gone) is tense and intense, with a plot that’s complex enough to satisfy suspense fans but never too convoluted. Fashion designer Kelsey McClane has just finalized her divorce. When she starts receiving threats, she assumes they’re from her ex. Her protective older brother, Alec, hires his best friend, former Army Ranger Hunter O’Donnell, as her bodyguard; as Hunter investigates, it becomes clear that whoever’s threatening Kelsey knows more about her past than she herself does. Naturally, as the danger and intrigue mount, Kelsey’s attraction to Hunter increases. Naughton keeps a number of plates spinning; the red herrings are genuinely surprising, and there’s a large enough cast to keep the reader interested in more than just the central romance. Hunter and Kelsey are well-realized, and their mutual and unsuccessful fight against their attraction—driven by Hunter’s friendship with Alec and Kelsey’s desire to think of her employee as off-limits—creates a nice tension. Naughton continues to deliver some of the best work in the genre. Agent: Laura Blake Peterson, Curtis Brown (U.K.). (Mar.)