cover image Home to Me

Home to Me

Catherine Bybee. Montlake, $12.95 trade paper (350p) ISBN 978-1-54-200985-0

Bybee cushions a serious subject in a gentle tale of love and support in her endearing second Creek Canyon contemporary (after My Way to You). Erin Fleming escapes her abusive husband and assumes a new identity in Santa Clarita, Calif., but she’s afraid to think of her newfound safety as anything but temporary. Her landlady, Parker Sinclair, who series fans will be delighted to see again, quickly brings Erin into her family’s fold, despite Erin’s reluctance to reveal much of anything about herself. Parker’s boyfriend’s brother, firefighter Matt Hudson, crushes on Erin from the day he meets her and after a long, subtle flirtation, she warms up to him as well. Though Erin worries she’s not ready for a new relationship, Matt’s kindness and patience prove him the opposite of her ex. But when Erin’s past catches up to her, the happy life she’s built is thrown into danger. Despite the painful premise, Bybee skillfully avoids both melodrama and melancholy by grounding her characters in genuine emotion. Matt and Erin’s romance is sweet and spicy by turn, and readers will find it easy to root for them. This is Bybee in top form. Agent: Jane Dystel, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (July)