The Particulars: Silhouette Desire #1734, 2006, Out of Print
Why Was It In The Bat Cave TBR?: I stumbled across this one at a used bookstore, the back cover copy tickled my fancy, and I bought it.
The Review: Warning: Spoilers ahead!
Shallie Malone left tiny Sundown, Montana after high school and hasn't looked back since. Well, until now. Alone, and pregnant, she gets the itch to go back home. Once there, she literally runs into Brett "Mac" McDonald. They were best friends growing up, and Mac has always nursed a bit of a crush on her. He's very happy to see her back home, and before you can say reunion, these two are shacking up together. But what will happen when Mac learns the truth about Shallie and her unborn baby?
This book gets off on the wrong foot right away thanks to our heroine. Shallie is coming home to Montana because she was forced to resign from her kindergarten teaching job in Small Town, Georgia after they found out she was unmarried and knocked up. At which point I flipped to the copyright page to make sure the date read 2006, as opposed to 1956. Can people in small towns be assholes? OK, yeah. But this one strained, especially since the author kept telling me that Shallie's belly was still "flat." And then like all the annoying brain-dead romance heroines that have come before her, Shallie does nothing about being fired. Why? Because as she tells Mac:
"I know I could fight it. And I'd probably win. The truth is, I don't want to fight. I don't want to go back there."Of course not! It makes so much more sense to run back to your home town (where you have no family whatsoever) and wait for a white knight to swoop in and fix all your problems for you. Because, you know, you wouldn't want to be proactive about not only your future, but your unborn child's future as well. Seriously, it's stupid like this that gives category romance a bad name.
As if this weren't enough to make my eyes bleed, the author then clues the reader in on the Baby Daddy. Her boyfriend started smacking her around, so Shallie leaves him. Smart girl, right? Well, actually no. Feeling unloved and unattractive, she goes out one night with some girlfriends and hops into bed with the first attractive man who pays her a compliment. Except, oopsie he's a married man! A married man who apparently has read Tiger Woods' Guide On How To Cheat On Your Wife because he didn't use a condom (I'm assuming here since birth control, failed or successful, is never mentioned). He has sex with Shallie once and she gets pregnant. How many women are in this guy's past? I spent the rest of the novel wondering how many venereal diseases could be swimming around in the heroine's blood stream. Not to mention his poor, unsuspecting wife. I sure hope that woman has good health insurance...
The hero seems like a nice enough guy - but he's very much too good to be true. He's handsome, he's charming, he can cook, he has a big fancy house and a vacation cabin in the woods, he keeps feeding the heroine decadent chocolate desserts etc. etc. etc. Frankly, the only thing I could find wrong with him is that he kept calling Shallie by the annoying pet name of "short stack." Certainly I'm all about the Beta hero, but after a while this guy got to be too much, even for me. Is there such a thing as Mary Sue heroes?
Of course the fact that Shallie doesn't come right out and tell Mac that her unborn baby is the product of an adulterous affair (even if she didn't know the sperm donor was married) blows up in her face when inexplicably the Asshole Ex Who Used To Smack Her Around decides to show up and informs Mac that he ain't the Baby Daddy - some other mystery man is.
::headdesk, headdesk, headdesk::
Not even two of my favorite tropes (friends-to-lovers and marriage of convenience) were enough to save this book for me. At which point you're probably wondering why I kept reading and didn't DNF it. I honestly have no idea. I blame it on the fact that it's a Silhouette Desire and therefore only clocks in at 185 pages. On the bright side though, it's now out of my TBR Mountain Range.
Final Grade = D-