RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: Her Secret, His Baby by Tanya Michaels


Title: Her Secret, His Baby
Author: Tanya Michaels
Publication Info: Harlequin 2013
ISBN: 978-0373754670
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Her Secret, His Baby This RITA® Reader Challenge 2014 review was written by Ppyajunebug. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Short Contemporary Series Romance category.

The summary:

Surprise! You're a Daddy!

Life's been full of surprises lately for rancher Garrett Frost-and not in a good way. His mother has just dropped a bombshell about his past, so Garrett takes some time away to come to terms with family secrets. And who should he run into but Arden Cade, the beautiful photographer who shared a single night of passion with Garrett six months ago. He is even more shocked when he discovers she's pregnant-and he's the daddy.

To make matters worse, Arden hadn't even planned on telling Garrett about the baby. Despite her lies, Garrett is determined to be a good father. He's not the type to cut and run, and he can't deny that he's falling for Arden all over again. But he'll have to find a way to forgive her betrayal…and make peace with that skeleton in the family closet.

And here is Ppyajunebug's review:

I’ll admit that I decided to review this book for two reasons:

1. It had the latest deadline
2. The title

I’ve always had a weakness for romances with slightly silly titles.  But since there were no billionaires and their secret virgin mistresses on this list, I went for one about a cowboy and his secret baby.  Which, in hindsight, wasn’t the best idea since I’m not a big fan of cowboys or secret baby plots.  But I was surprised to actually enjoy parts of this book.

Photographer Arden Cade is still reeling from the deaths of her nephew and sister-in-law (who happened to be her best friend) when she agrees to work a wedding on the aforementioned best friend’s birthday.  She spends the wedding struggling with her grief, and decides to drown it out by hooking up with the hot best man, Garrett Frost.  It’s a great night for both of them, but Arden doesn’t feel like dealing with complications and leaves a note the next morning before high-tailing it out of the hotel room.

Six and a half months later, Garrett takes an impromptu trip to visit his best friend, who lives in a small town a few hours away from the ranch Garrett runs with his father.  Or, at least, with the man he thought was his father.  You see, the reason for trip may not have been so much “Let’s go see my best friend and his new wife” as “My mother just told me I’m actually the product of a brief affair with my parent’s best friend and also he needs my kidney”.  Garrett just needs to get away and clear his head before he can decide whether to undergo major surgery or not.  Unfortunately things are about to get a lot more complicated when he runs into his long-lost one night stand at the grocery store…and she’s pregnant.

I enjoyed part of this book quite a bit, and other parts not so much.  In the good column, I liked Arden and Garrett as characters.  Arden was fully intending to be a single mother and wasn’t in the least bit ashamed of the choices she made in her life, which I loved.  Garrett doesn’t spend too much time being pissed off at her for not telling him, and seems sympathetic to her reasons.  The two play off of each other well and do a lot of talking before they decide to eventually pursue a relationship.  They have actual discussions about logistically raising a kid while living hours apart from each other, and act like adults about the whole situation.  There was some parts too that I found genuinely funny, particularly involving Garrett’s obsession with cows.

In the not so plus column, a lot of the other characters felt very one dimensional and like they were playing stock roles.  There’s Arden’s two brothers- one a playboy, one a grieving widower.  There’s Arden’s supportive best friend, who may be the first female character I have ever seen use the word “virile” in an un-ironic manner.  There’s Garrett’s best friend and his wife, who only pop up a few times and with some slightly bizarre characterization (the wife is obsessed with birds for some reason?).  I know this is a short novel, so there isn’t as much room to flesh out secondary characters, but they tended to draw me out of the book every time they appeared.  The writing too sometimes veered into being too sappy and too rushed, particularly toward the end. There were also some choices that really threw me off, like a date where the set-up for the location was longer than the date itself.  I also spent a considerable amount of time wondering how lucrative it really could be as a photographer in a small Colorado town, but that was probably just me.

In the end, I give this book a B-; I enjoyed the main characters and I’m glad I read it, despite it not being quite my cup of tea.  For people who enjoy small-town contemporaries, especially featuring cowboys, I would definitely suggest picking it up. This book is also part of a trilogy, with the subsequent books focusing on Arden’s brothers.  I don’t think that I’ll be picking them up, but they all have good reviews on Amazon, so I encourage you to check them out.

This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Kobo | All Romance eBooks

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