cover image Second Time Around

Second Time Around

Nancy Herkness. Montlake Romance, $12.95 trade paper (367p) ISBN 978-1-5039-0214

The first full-length novel in Herkness’s Second Glances series (after the novella Second to None) is a feel-good, if bland, story of blue-collar Pennsylvania meeting blue-blood Connecticut that respects both halves of the equation, sweetened by crowd-pleasing elements such as cute kids and rescue dogs. Heavily indebted bartender and community center cook Kyra Dixon is looking for a seat at fast and healthy Manhattan eatery Ceres. She’s surprised when the man making space for her at his table turns out to be her college crush, Will Chase, who’s the CEO of the chain. Will brings Kyra to his family’s annual garden party, hoping she’ll be a buffer between him and his snobbish domineering mother and help him avoid his ex-fiancé. As he falls in love with Kyra, he also finds the bravery to live his life without yielding to his parents’ expectations. Kyra and Will’s teasing banter, driven by quotations from Shakespeare, John Donne, and others, is smart and funny. Although Will’s invitations to urgent encounters in a limousine, a top restaurant, and a private sailboat feel more ridiculous than spectacular, Herkness does evoke the chemistry of a couple indulging a rekindled attraction, grounding the glitz of this otherwise typical billionaire CEO romance story. (July)