I was extremely disappointed in this book. Cute cover, cute premise, but the story . . . not so much. WARNING: spoilers ahead. Don't read on if you don't want to know how the book ends.
Courtney, driven career woman in Denver, with a mother and three married sisters with children who think she should get married and have babies, too, and don't appreciate her work, meets Mark, successful, wealthy London businessman when his grandfather (her boss) tricks her into meeting him. One night stand, she's pregnant, he's madly in love with her. She agrees to a marriage of convenience for the baby's sake, with Mark flying back and forth from London when he can.
Courtney feels she can't trust Mark because of the trick his grandfather played even though Mark knew nothing about it, but the marriage of convenience lasts about two minutes, then she's sleeping with him again, insisting that the marriage probably won't last.
Mark wants her to quit her job and move to London with him, but when she suggests he quit his job and move to Denver with her, he says "that's not fair."
He makes unilateral decisions like the time (during one visit when he's staying with her for a week) she (now CEO of his grandfather's company)is at work dealing with the sabotage at several of the company's stores and comes home to find he has offered to take care of the baby and toddler belonging to one of her sisters while the sister and her husband go on a five day cruise. She gets angry and tells him he has no right to make such a decision without consulting her, but is stuck with the children; he promises to take care of them while she works, but two days later has to leave for London on business.
She keeps reminding him that she wants to be included in the decision making and he keeps saying okay, but about two week later he does the same thing again - agreeing to take care of another sister's baby while the sister and her husband go on a cruise. I think at that point if it had been me, I would have served Mark with divorce papers and hired a professional nanny, at the sister's expense, to take care of the baby. What does Courtney do? She takes one look at the baby and "melts" and says "of course we'll take care of her." Egad!
Courtney whines that she can't trust Mark and that he doesn't include her in decisions, and that the marriage won't last, and she'll never give up her job, but her actions don't match her words. It's very annoying to see her say one thing and do another.
And then when she has her baby it takes her about two minutes to decide that she wants to be a stay at home mom after all, the baby is the most important thing in her life and she loves Mark and she'll move to London where they will live happily ever after. Puke.
Here's the switch around, on the next to last page of the book. "I think I always felt like an outsider, so different from my sisters and mom, my ambitions out of step with their domestic values. I came to see home and family as synonymous with losing my identity. That was so silly of me. Now I've found my real self with you." Again I say, puke. She just set female equality back about fifty years.
She's whiny and has no backbone (even though she's supposed to be a hard-assed business woman), he's domineering and I didn't like either one of them.
If I were writing for the Book-a-minute site the description of the book would be like this:
Courtney: I'm a driven high-level business executive and I will never get married.
Mark: You are going to be the mother of my child. I want you to give up your job and marry me and live happily ever after.
Courtney: Okay, now I realize how silly I was.
Love Spell Contemporary Romance
"The Great Baby Caper is a delightful romantic romp. Courtney Kelly was definitely going places. She had beauty and brains, talent and ambition. She was clearly on track to become the new CEO of Bootle's Baby Bower, the upscale string of baby boutiques owned by M. Billingham Bootle. Unfortunately, her eccentric employer had declared that the coveted promotion would go to whichever of his four candidates was first to accomplish his or her assigned task in the wacky scavenger hunt he'd devised -- and Courtney's task was to find the most eligible bachelor in the New Orleans French Quarter and marry him by morning. Finding a suitable matrimonial prize who was willing to pose as her fiancé was a lot easier than Courtney expected -- but she was shocked and outraged when her wacky boss made it clear he expected her to go through with an actual wedding. And when she discovered she'd been tricked into selecting M. Billingham Bootle's all-too-handsome, charming, and sexy grandson, Mark, and that he'd been in on the scheme from the first, she declared that she wouldn't marry him for all the corporate glory in creation. Mark was equally furious. He'd finally met the woman of his dreams, the feeling had seemed to be mutual, and his grandfather had just made it likely she'd never want to see him again. But Mark hadn't become a top-flight London management consultant and wealthy entrepreneur by waiting for other people to come to him. He was prepared to use every advantage at his disposal to win Courtney's heart, including teasing and tantalizing her, driving her to distraction, seducing her with shared delights -- and using the fact he was about to become the father of her baby to seal the deal." ~review from fastastic fiction
First let me mention this was first released in Dec 2001 in paperback. I'm always pissed when I pick up a book that is a reprint and they don't mention it on the cover as there's a good chance I've already read it if it's by an author that's had as many great books published as Riley has. Most of which I've read. By the way, the cover is much cooler this time around so it's a shame that you don't get the full benefit as it's an eBook instead of print copy.
It was a fun read but I'm fairly sure I've read it before as I guessed way too soon who the saboteur was. Put aside your knowledge of the working world and enjoy the pure fun and romance of the story. It's about love at first sight and screwball comedy reminiscent of the I Love Lucy show. While the story-line was okay, it was a bit long (something you'll never hear me complaining about). It would have benefited by a rewrite to tighten up the story.