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by Elisabeth Naughton

Kirkus Samantha Parker, a chemistry teacher, and Ethan McClane, a therapist, are attracted to one another right away, but they're both harboring deeply buried secrets. Circumstance has found both of them back in small, rural Hidden Falls, but is it fate that brought them together?Initially, Ethan assumes that Sam's distance is because of past encounters with therapists, but he learns that her issues with relationships go much deeper than that. Sam has returned to her hometown to sell her late mother's house. No easy task since her mom's hoarder tendencies caused the place to fall into disarray. Realizing that she'd be there for a while, Sam takes a job at the local school, and that's where she meets Ethan. A reformed juvenile delinquent himself, Ethan has been hired to work with Thomas Adler, a bright but troubled kid wrestling with his own problems. Ethan and Sam meet, and sparks fly. After a few rocky starts, Ethan finally begins breaking down Sam's walls enough for her to let him in when they're interrupted in the middle of a steamy forest make-out session by Sam's dog, who's found a human skull. Now they're forced to deal with their pasts: Sam with the murder of her brother and Ethan with the crime that landed him in a detention center. The rest of the town can't help but wonder if the body belongs to a high school student who disappeared 18 years ago. Solid romantic suspense by a writer talented enough at weaving a yarn to get her readers ensnared in it. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Naughton launches her Deadly Secrets series with a solid contemporary romantic mystery. Samantha Parker has returned to her hometown of Hidden Falls, Ore., to teach chemistry. As a child, she witness the death of her brother, Seth, and she's still haunted by the memories, even as she's repressed some of them. She meets Ethan McClane, a psychiatrist who comes to her school to observe classes, and who knew her brother. As the two of them work to uncover her missing memories, which also relate to a long-missing teacher named Sandra Hollings, they begin to fall in love. Naughton keeps the plot nice and twisty, with multiple villains, a well-developed small-town feel, and some good setups for the future books in the series (likely focusing on Seth's siblings by blood, all of whom, like him, were adopted and had troubled childhoods). There are a few moments of genuine danger, but for the most part Naughton focuses on building tension and developing characters, with satisfying results. Agent: Laura Blake Peterson, Curtis Brown Ltd. (July) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


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