This RITA® Reader Challenge review was written by…me. No one signed up for this book so I read it. Oh, boy.
Now, after narrowly escaping the clutches of masked gunmen, Sabrina and her baby needed a protector. That’s when hot Texas cop Shaw Tolbert came to her rescue. As the surrogate mother to his child, Sabrina couldn’t help the sizzling attraction to Shaw that the danger stirred up…or the kiss that told her she meant more to him than she ever realized. With her attackers still on the loose, Sabrina’s priority was keeping the baby safe. But how could she keep her cool when things were so hot?
And now, my review:
How did this book annoy me? Let me count the ways.
1. Sabrina is pregnant. She’s the surrogate mother of the hero’s baby. I couldn’t figure out why she was in that position because she and Shaw have a crappy relationship at the start of the book, leading me to believe Sabrina’s an idiot.
2. The hero, Shaw, is a widower. So sometime in the last 8 months to a year, his wife died. I’ll be honest: I’m always suspicious of romances that start within a year of the death of one spouse, particularly when the widowed party is grieving through the time-honored romance-hero method of semi-permanent residency in an emotional vacuum. Totally healthy hero and father material, right? Sure!
So this is a new one: she’s very pregnant with his child but they’re just now addressing their attraction to one another, and they’ve never had sex. The problem is that the emotional leaps required to make that rearranged chain of events work are too big and too much for me to believe.
3. Shaw’s a cop, and someone is leaking information. No one can be trusted! Except the ones he trusts, except when he’s wrong. And if the scene is being told from the heroine’s point of view, she knows exactly who he trusts and who he doesn’t except when he is wrong about someone, despite not having talked to him consistently for the past 8 months or so. I’ve heard of Pregnesia, but apparently Sabrina has Pregomnisience.
4. In the flop room, where guys take time off to sleep when pulling double shifts, when everyone is working overtime to deal with this case and the crisis of not having the suspects in custody, when anyone could walk in, when they’re supposed to be watching out for one another, that right there is the PERFECT time to get busy. More than once.
5. There was so much description of how shocked she was at her body’s physical response to her attraction to the hero, I expected her gynecologist to comment on it.
6. AND THEN THE OB/GYN DID COMMENT on how there seemed to be something between them, despite knowing that he’s a widower, she’s his surrogate mother, and they aren’t together. Subtle. Classy. And totally not inappropriate at all! Except the opposite of all that. I visibly cringed during that scene.
7. Want to implicate some more people just so it’s not obvious who the villain is? Sure, go for it! But definitely leave those threads untied or insufficiently explained at the end once we learn who the actual villain is, ok? Ok.
8. One character loses a spouse in the novel’s opening hostage scene. This character is of course still at work, and of course everyone is asking him how he is. HOW DO YOU THINK HE IS?!
9. Grief: it’s really annoying and gets in the way of having surrogate babies and doing your job.
9. Sabrina is 8 months pregnant. We are told this over and over. And in that time, did Shaw show up for one appointment during her pregnancy? Nope. Holy crap, for real? I’m supposed to believe that he’s hero and father material? He’s a jackass. An emotionally vacant jackass who is neck-deep in grief over his wife.
10. Sabrina is so bizarre, and I cannot help but attribute her actions as a surrogate to selfishness than to altruism:
Some women would have stopped there. Some women wouldn’t have continued to press to carry a baby for a dead friend. But she owed Fay. She owed Shaw. And that’s why three months after Fay’s death, Sabrina had pressured Shaw for her to use the embryos that Shaw and she had created. It hadn’t been an easy fight – especially since the embryos were her DNA, not Fay’s. However, in the end Shaw had agreed, probably because he’d been too beaten down by Fay’s death to realize the full impact of having a baby with Sabrina.
Well, he no doubt knew the full impact now.
A man who was unwilling and grieving at the time of conception would be a PERFECT father. How could I question her judgment?
I respond to that scene with Keanu Reeves from Parenthood, attributing his comments to Sabrina:
11. There are some lines that are magical in their hilarity. Like this one:
But Shaw shook his head as well, and he learned forward to kiss her. It was French.
And perfect. The kiss from a man who knew exactly what he was doing.
Oh yeah, totally. Shaw knows exactly what he’s doing: hiding in the police station boning a witness who is also the surrogate mother of his child. Is that French, too?
12. There are also lines like this one:
“We have a big problem,” Rico yelled over the piercing alarm. “In addition to the car bombs, someone set a fire in the men’s bathroom.”
You know, that pretty much sums up the book for me. Flaming poo. The plot was convoluted, bizarre, exceptionally violent for some very flimsy reasons, and featured a hero and a heroine who were so emotionally immature, I feared for a newborn being in their care. The only suspense for me was whether Sabrina and Shaw would do anything to earn respect from me, or from one another, and really, they didn’t. Only the question of which one of the inept, vitriol-spewing villains actually did the deed kept me reading to the end, and kept this book out of F territory.