The Particulars: Contemporary romance, Silhouette Desire #1961, 2009, Out of Print, Available digitally!
Why Was It In Wendy's TBR?: I picked it up at RWA 2010 in
The Review: Danger, danger Will Robinson! Thar Be Spoilers Ahoy!
I cannot tolerate a steady diet, but Lord help me, sometimes I find myself getting sucked into a book that features a barely housebroken, asshole Alpha hero. I'm not proud of it people, but it flips the ol' Guilty Pleasure Switch. Sort of like eating chocolate cake for breakfast. You know it's bad for you. You don't do it every day. But damn, sometimes you just can't help yourself and it tastes so darn yummy!
Connor North and Victoria Sutton meet at the impulsive wedding of mutual friends. He's the best man, she's the maid of honor. It's pretty much loathe at first sight. He's just been dumped by his girlfriend (who cheated on him with his business partner - ouch!) and she's worried her already-once-divorced BFF is making a rash decision. Sure enough the wedding goes off without a hitch, fast forward in time, and Victoria is babysitting lil' baby Dylan while Mommy and Daddy take a special anniversary trip. Then Connor shows up on her doorstep with Very Bad News. Their friends have died in an accident, and according to the will - he and Victoria are to share joint-custody of Dylan. Which should be a neat trick since they can't stand each other.
It's hard to know where to begin, but let's start with Connor. What we have here is a pretty proto-typical Alpha Billionaire Hero. He's tall, dark, handsome and surly. Frankly, he's lacking in enough people skills I wonder how the heck he got to be a billionaire, but whatever. Honestly, he's a jerk - but the author gives me enough to work with that I don't think he's a complete lost cause. It's a darn thin line though. Just sayin'.
Although if I'm honest, it's Victoria that's the bigger fly in the ointment for me. Yes, Connor is a jerk - but when her BFF tells her why Connor is behaving like a jackass - a normal person would have cut him a teeny bit of slack (he loses his girlfriend, his house and his business partner all in one fell swoop - seriously, of course the guy is behaving like a jackass!). But oh no, not good enough for Victoria.
Now all of that sounds fairly unpleasant, but honestly? I was rolling with it. And don't ask me why, because I can't tell you. I'm chalking it up to "author skill." Also, I find the Alpha Asshole a bit more tolerable when the author pairs him with a heroine who gives as good as she gets. And yes, Victoria does irritate, but at least she's not cowering in a corner in the wake of Connor's jackassery.
No, where this story really stumbles for me is with baby Dylan. The author puts a lot of emphasis on "biology" here. See, the BFFs were infertile. So Connor donated sperm and Victoria donated an egg. Needless to say, neither of them knows this about the other. So the minute the BFFs are dead, there's a lot of possessiveness about Dylan flying around. More than once Victoria refers to him as "her baby." Uh, no. No he's not. You donated an egg. That does not make you the child's mother in any real sense of the word. Likewise, Connor uses the word "seed" more than once, which just....ugh. Admittedly, this is a hot button for me. Just because people have the ability to make babies doesn't mean they're parent-material. Plus, I know babies are helpless, and it's normal to feel protective of them, but dang - the possessiveness was just icky. It was like Connor and Victoria were using the baby in some sort of twisted power struggle.
And that's ultimately what really hurts the story for me. If that had been dialed back (or not included at all!), I'll be honest - I flipped the pages on this story easily enough to land it in C territory. Even considering the jackassery. But as it stands? Well, I can only look past so much.
Final Grade = D+