Honeymoon Baby, by Susan Napier

>> Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Random pick from my Susan Napier stash: Honeymoon Baby. I winced when I actually took a good look at the cover and read the blurb, but by then I was already on the bus, and it was read it or stare out the window for two hours.

book coverJennifer had taken drastic measures to become pregnant, and she was saving every ounce of love she had for her baby. There was no room in her life for marriage--but now the father of her unborn child had arrived on her doorstep!

Jennifer's first problem was that her entire family believed Raphael Jordan was actually her husband--and that, at last, the happy couple could have a honeymoon! Her second was that Raphael was delighted to oblige...so Jennifer was forced to share a bed with her gorgeous, sexy, pretend husband!
If I hadn't been stuck on that bus, I probably wouldn't have got past the first 20 pages, because my first impression of the setup was that it was incredibly sleazy. Basically, the young heroine married an impotent old man and was artificially inseminated with his son's sperm. Now her husband is dead and her former step-son is livid. Sounds like a particularly trashy soap opera, doesn't it?

Of course, once you continue reading, there are extenuating circumstances. The heroine didn't actually know whose sperm she was getting; she thought she was simply using the services of a sperm bank. She (of course!) isn't a gold-digger, she just married the old guy to help out with the legal issues surrounding the inheritance, and because she wanted a baby and he offered to pay for the fertility clinic bills. Now that he's dead, all she wants is to keep to herself and run her inn in New Zealand with her mother.

The hero is problematic at first, too. He starts to rant and rave about how he feels used and raped because Jennifer's pregnant with his child without his consent, and I wanted to slap him, because no one forced him to donate his sperm to the clinic. Well, duh, if he did that, it was only to be expected that someone would be inseminated with it.

In the end, the book didn't completely win me over, but it did develop into an ok romance, once the anger and sleazyness were over. And in true Napier fashion, it wasn't a by-the-numbers book, but a pretty individual and quirky one. Points for:

- The setting, in an inn near an active volcano in New Zealand, with the volcano about to blow (not dangerous, but creating a cabin romance feel because they couldn't go out until the ashes dispersed).

- I was afraid Jennifer would end up being a virgin widow (which would have meant she was a pregnant virgin widow... the horror of it!), but she turns out to have a pretty normal past.

- Jennifer writes erotica under a pseudonym, and Rafe turns out to be her mysterious editor. I liked his admiration for her and the way he values her.

Not Napier's best, but tolerably readable. A C+.

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