I've spent the last few weeks devouring romances from some of my favorite authors as I try to uncover the secret to what makes a romance resonate.  Who better to teach me a thing or two about romance than the wonderful Simone Elkeles?  I've read and loved PERFECT CHEMISTRY and its sequel, RULES OF ATTRACTION, but fellow muse V suggested I read LEAVING PARADISE, her own favorite Elkeles novel.

So I did.  In one sitting.  Then at eleven pm on a "school" night, I immediately ordered and downloaded the sequel, RETURN TO PARADISE and started in on that one.

Simone Elkeles is an inspiration.  She writes characters that feel alive, with real flaws, real character, and real emotion.  She is a master at writing the bad boy with the heart of gold, and Caleb Becker is no exception.

In LEAVING PARADISE, Caleb is released from a juvenile detention facility where he did time for a hit and run drunk driving accident.  He comes home to a find his family is every bit as damaged as he is, if not moreso.  He finds solace in an unlikely heroine, the victim of the hit and run accident that sent Caleb to prison, Maggie Armstrong, who is still recovering from her physical injuries. 

Against all odds, Maggie and Caleb help each other cope with the aftermath of the accident.  They share a unique understanding of the shadows cast across their lives by the events of that night.  Maggie and Caleb have to learn to forgive each other before they can start to heal themselves, and you'll be rooting for them long after you turn the last page.  Or if you're like me, you'll be shopping in the Kindle store a few seconds later to snag the sequel.

Simone Elkeles has a gift for writing emotionally engaging romances, filled with humor and intelligence.  It's a winning combination that you won't want to miss.
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