"Forever" by Nora Roberts; Silhouette (480 pages, $7.99)
Don't get excited - this isn't a new release by Nora Roberts. It isn't even a new re-release.
"Forever" is a book that combines two of Roberts' oldies but goodies - "Rules of the Game," and "The Heart's Victory." The two-in-one was released last summer, but is popping back up now.
And why not? They're both sports stories that are good summer reads.
"Rules of the Game" features a major league baseball player, Parks, and his soul mate, Brooke. Brooke has to work with Parks and is determined not to date players. But Parks convinces her to make an exception with him, and a whirlwind romance ensues.
But Brooke has her issues. This is very annoying at times. Fortunately, Parks is patient enough (and in love enough) to work through them with her.
The ending is dramatic, but perhaps a bit contrived. It was written in 2002, but still reads well 12 years later.
"The Heart's Victory" is the story of retired race car driver Lance and Cynthia, whose nickname is Foxy. Cynthia grew up on the race circuit, since her brother is a race car driver. She had a crush on Lance, but he broke her young heart.
Years later, Cynthia is back on the circuit because of her job, and Lance is a car owner. This time, she's not too young for Lance and he takes advantage of that. But for some reason, Lance ends up holding part of his feelings back and keeps things to himself. It makes for a very rocky start to a marriage.
This story was written in 1988 and it too holds up well.
HOW IT STACKS UP
Overall rating: 4 of 5. Nora Roberts was awesome even at the beginning of her career, and these are old-fashioned romances that are easy and fun to read. Each has an annoying character - Brooke in "Rules of the Game" and Lance in "The Heart's Victory." But they end up breaking bad habits at the end.
Hunk appeal: 10. Athletes make great heroes. Lance is a bit annoying with his secret agenda and not being honest about his feelings, but he has the powerful stature that makes him appealing. Parks is probably closer to a 10-plus. His patience with Brooke is admirable.
Steamy scene grade: XXXX. Some things never change.
Happily-Ever-After: Good. In "Rules of the Game," the ending is rather dramatic, but it manages to open Brooke's eyes. In "The Heart's Victory" Lance finally tells Foxy the truth which allows them to embark on their happily-ever-after - finally!
ALSO THIS WEEK
"Undercover Marriage," by Terri Reed (2014, paperback) 3 of 5. Finally, the bad guys who are responsible for an illegal adoption ring are caught and stopped in this Harlequin "Witness Protection" series. Josh and Serena have been working on the case for a while, so when they are assigned to go undercover as a couple desperate to adopt a baby, they agree. But both have personal reservations. Both have had feelings for the other for years, but neither knows they are reciprocated. And both are still mourning the death of Serena's brother, Josh's former partner. But as secrets unravel and the bad guys are finally stopped, Josh and Serena manage to find their happily-ever-after - with each other.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Lezlie Patterson is a former columnist for The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C. Readers may send her email at email@example.com. To read more of her romance reviews go to lezlie-romance.blogspot.com.