Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: There’s a Secret Baby and Some Blackmail? Piece of Cake.

HaboThis HaBO request comes from Mary, and this is one that will either get guessed right away, or one that could be any of, like, fourteen different books. (Or, or OR, someone at Harlequin HQ will stand up and yell, “I know this!”) (Then they'll apologize because Canada.)

Over ten years ago, I read a paperback romance novel that was published before 1999 in which the heroine's wealthy Greek ex-husband blackmails her into re-marrying him.

When they first married she was an innocent young model and he was the sophisticated wealthy Greek Tycoon. He learned that he was sterile and could not have children, so he made his young wife believe that he didn't love her and was cheating on her. They divorced.

Years later when she has opened her own art gallery in a small town, they meet each other again when she agrees to attend a business dinner as a friend's date and her ex-husband is the wealthy man who her friends is attempting to enter into a business deal with that will help her small town.

Her ex-husband finds out that she had his son (whom she named Jonathon). Needless to say, the ex-husband wants her back and blackmails her into marrying him again by threatening to back out of the business deal with her friend and the town.

I really want to read this book again but I don't remember the name of the book or the author. 

I'm going to guess, even though I have no idea! I'm betting it's The Greek Billionaire's Blackmail Baby! Or, um, The Billionaire's Greek Blackmail Baby!

Actually, if it's The Baby's Blackmailed Greek Billionaire, I would be SO DOWN WITH THAT. 

Anyone recognize this book? 

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  1. 1
    Lora says:

    Haven’t read it but it sounds like a hot mess! Curious though…if he knows himself to be sterile, likely diagnosed by a specialist, why would he assume the baby is actually his? I’m just wondering if he assumes his mega Greek tycoonishness ruined her for other, non-sterile man-parts or what?

  2. 2
    Gillian B says:

    Was there an Australian side to it? as in, she had been from Australia and returned to Perth (I think?)  And there was a side plot of an Greek lady he knew, and his mother wanted the Greek lady to marry him? Or something like that?

  3. 3
    Lostshadows says:

    After reading this description, I was left wondering “Wait, why was there nothing about a cake?”

    Clearly, I need more sleep.

  4. 4
    kkw says:

    I think I read this one, only he was Sicilian.  Sorry, I jest (sort of).  I never know, though I must have read a zillion variations on this.

    Inquiring minds want to know, is Aristotle Onassis personally responsible for Romancelandia’s Greek tycoon line?  Does it predate? Has its popularity ebbed and flowed, or does it remain consistent?  Which nationality officially dominates category romance and why?

  5. 5
    JaneDrew says:

    Ack! I know this one! I cannot for the life of me remember the title, but if this is the correct one, here are more details that might help somebody else:

    1) The hero believed that he couldn’t have children, because he had caught measles years ago while caring for his nieces/nephews—the elderly family doctor later says that he only told the hero he MOSTLY LIKELY would never have children (having underestimated the power of the Mighty Wang).

    2) The heroine, under considerable pressure from her husband’s extensive Greek tycoon family to start having babies already, buys one of those kits that helps you tell when you’re ovulating and gives it to her husband as a surprise present (which, considering Item One, does not go over as well as she had hoped…)

    3) The heroine, convinced her husband is having an affair with, I think, the widow of a friend of his and/or his elderly father’s personal assistant/nurse-type (or, you know, both; basically she assumes her husband is having all kinds of affairs with everybody because he’s avoiding coming home on account of being incapable of using his words and explaining the “can’t have kids” part), flees, and on the plane to the States she meets and has a long conversation with the guy who ends up helping her break into the art business.

    3a) Obviously, the husband assumes Random Airplane Stranger = HER SEKRIT LOVER who she ran away with. And is later shocked she could have misinterpreted his many late nights and “business meetings” as possibly indicating he had had an affair.

    3b) When she finally goes back to their house, because of the blackmail, she finds her husband had built her this amazing, light-filled art studio, and has all sorts of feels about it.

    4) When the heroine finds out she’s pregnant, she happily informs the hero, assuming that this will fix the marriage (which she thinks is in trouble because she hasn’t given him a baby yet)…. only to be shocked when his response is instant-divorce. I think that she also takes the giant cash settlement he gives her and gives it to charity or something, because she is too angry to take any of his rotten money.

    5) In the earlier bits of their relationship, told in flashback, the hero goes through the traditional romance-hero-of-a-certain-vintage stages of a) trying to seduce the heroine, b) getting furious that she isn’t sleeping with him because he assumed that “model = sluttiest slut in all of sluttington,” and then c) realizing that she isn’t sleeping with him because she is a model of virginal purity and thus actually deserves his respect and an offer of marriage.

    (of course, all things considered, I could totally be identifying a completely different “Greek tycoon finds ex-wife with surprise baby; blackmails her into reunion” story…)

  6. 6
    Lisa J says:

    I’m sure I’ve read this one or a reasonable facsimile.  I’m guessing Anne Mather, but I can’t tell you which one.

  7. 7
    tealadytoo says:

    I think it’s Jacqueline Baird’s “Shattered Trust”.

    This is the blurb:
    Four years before, Abby’s life had been destroyed when she and her unborn son had been cruelly rejected by her husband. Now divorced, she’s finding success running her own art gallery in a small town. Only Nick seems to be back in her life, and when he takes one look at three year-old Jonathan he sees that there can be no doubt that the child is his son, something he had not believed for one second years before. He wants his son. Knowing Abby’s loyal heart, he threatens to financially ruin her friends and community, unless she remarry him. Abby knows that Nick needs an heir as his grandfather is ailing and instead of turning control of the family empire rightfully to Nick, he would turn it over to Nick’s sister and her children. So she agrees to the marriage making it clear that when the old man dies, she will be free to take her son and move on. Nick spells it out clearly that their marriage, however long it is, will be a full and normal one.

  8. 8
    tealadytoo says:

    Well, make that a paraphrase of the blurb. . . .

  9. 9
    denise says:

    this sounds so familiar, but I’ve read so many with similar story lines, sometimes they blur… but the synopsis and paraphrase above make me want to read it!!!

  10. 10
    Lovecow2000 says:

    Then there’s the one where the tycoon divorces her because she’s on the pill even when she’s not. After insta-divorce, she runs off to the states, licks her wounds, opens a gallery, but has to confront alpahole ex on behalf of her sister b/c he’s trying to ruin their dad’s company.  He blackmails her into a remarriage, she suffers, but his grandfather is her allie and helps to transform his douchiness. They vacation in the Greek islands to assess his hotels or cruise ships, there’s some sort of rug buying it goes on until he realizes that he jumped to a conclusion and could have avoided the whole mess by communicating not divorcing.

  11. 11
    Amit says:

    It sounds like one of Lynn Graham’s books.

  12. 12
    Dread Pirate Rachel says:

    What I want to know is, who are these models who aspire to open an art gallery in a small town? Having lived in several small towns, my impression is that they don’t have a huge demand for art galleries, so I want to know: Who are these women who look at some hamlet in East Jesus, Nebraska, and think, “This. This is the bastion of art and high culture where I will build my gallery.”

    At least a bakery would have a snowball’s chance of surviving.

  13. 13
    cleo says:

    @Dread Pirate Rachel – I think a certain type of touristy small town, with the right location, can support a few art galleries, but in general I agree with you.  Pretty much all Romancelandia versions of the art world have little or nothing to do with the actual art world, at least in my experience.

  14. 14
    LML says:

    Is anyone else thinking that perhaps The Bitchery should get together and write its own book along this line?  It would be just right for Elyse to review.

  15. 15
    Suzy says:

    This has to be a Lynne graham. She is the queen of the secret baby trope and the angsty deluded Greek heroes. Look at her back titles and I am sure you will come up trumps!

  16. 16
    Rebe says:

    This sounds like Pregnant by the Greek Tycoon by Kim Lawrence. Here’s the Goodreads description: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1661763.Pregnant_by_the_Greek_Tycoon?from_search=true

    I thought it was a Lynne Graham book, too, but it reminds me of the Lawrence book.

  17. 17
    RachelNZ says:

    I really think it’s got to be a Michelle Reid, but I can’t identify which. If not, then I’d go with Lynne Graham too.

  18. 18
    tealadytoo says:

    Still pretty sure it’s Shattered Trust by Jacqueline Baird. Kid named Jonathan, check.  Gallery, check.  Economic blackmail, check.  HP, but of course.

  19. 19
    Ova says:

    A round robin romance sounds like fun. It also sounds like there are a whole mess of books with this exact same plot, right down to the art gallery.

  20. 20
    Persnickety says:

    @kkw The Greek thing seems to predate Onassis, at least partially. It might have something to do with Prince Phillip ( at least in the UK) I have a 1956 mills and boon (harlequin for the UK) featuring an air stewardess and a wealthy Greek business man.  I bought it with the intention of deconstructing it and blogging it so we here, but haven’t gotten around to it yet!

    And the plot- this sounds familiar, but there are so many like that. I know the one with an Australian connection is a Michelle Reid or Melanie Melbourne one, part of a series with brothers or cousins. 

    And romancelandia infertility and infertility specialists- nothing like the reality. I eye roll the mysterious male factor infertility that cannot be named ( low sperm count?) as that is more fixable than most.

  21. 21
    Celia Marsh says:

    I could swear I read this as well, not like it doesn’t have a totally unique premise.  Pre-1999, maybe a Penny Jordan?  (Though I think I do remember one the australian one as well—maybe there’s a larger market for rural art galleries in the AU outback than in the US midwest?) 

    God, this is like trying to remember WHICH Betty Neels book was about the doctor and the innocent young nurse.

  22. 22
    Celia Marsh says:

    ALSO, there is a book out there with the awesome title “The Greek Billionaire’s Baby Revenge” but sadly the revenge does not seem to be on the part of the baby.  It does have some of the worst done goodreads formatting known to mankind, which makes determining the plot strangely difficult: 

    His mistress…Working for Nikos Stavrakis was exhilarating—until one night, when he made love to Anna…. His baby…

    Anna believes Nikos is unfaithful, and flees. Nine months later, she is left nursing a tiny baby…. His wife?

    Nikos is furious when he discovers Anna’s taken his son. He vows to seek retribution! He will make Anna his bride, and teach her who’s boss!

  23. 23
    Ruby says:

    It has to be Shattered Trust by Jacqueline Baird. I must have read that book a million times in middle school.

  24. 24
    Anike says:

    I think it’s a book by Diana Palmer. Can’t remember the title though.

  25. 25
    Lisa Charlotte says:

    Hmmm…because here in east Nebraska we have a shit load of art galleries, artist lofts, community art centers, art, art, art. We gotta do something when it’s cold and the wind is howling across the plains.

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