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Anne McAllister

REVIEW: One-Night Love Child by Anne McAllister

REVIEW: One-Night Love Child by Anne McAllister

Dear Ms. McAllister,

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cover imageRecently a friend of mine recommended you as a “Presents” author whose heroes aren’t assholes. She said something like, “They don’t suck.” Telling me something is different from the normal is like baiting a juicy worm on a hook for a hungry fish. So yeah, I bit. And guess what? She’s right. Flynn doesn’t suck.

What Flynn does, actually, is try and take the entire weight of the Earldom of Dunmorey on his shoulders after his disapproving father, the eighth Earl, drops from a heart attack. Flynn was never supposed to be the next in line, that would have been his brother Will who died coming to fetch Flynn at the airport from one of Flynn’s many overseas adventures as a journalist.

And one of those adventures was a brief stay in a small town in Montana. Almost six years later, a beat up letter finally catches up with Flynn in Ireland and informs him that the woman he flung with for three days got preggers. Knowing his son is almost six now and frantic for having missed this much of his life, Flynn heads across the pond and back to Elmer, Montana. But can he win back the woman who thinks he turned his back on her all those years ago?

Thank God the book doesn’t match up to the typical Presents blurb which makes Flynn seem like a caveman hell-bent on dragging Sara back to his damp, bucket filled Irish castle. No, he’s not the millionaire the miniseries description would lead a reader to believe. Instead he is tearing his hair out trying to avoid having to sell off the ancestral pile in order to fund his younger brother, Dev’s, hoped for horse stud which both of them hope will turn the Earldom into a paying enterprise. Jane reviewed another of your books and lamented that the hero’s family leach off him while giving him no support. Thankfully, that isn’t the case here. Dev is almost as delightful as Flynn himself.

Flynn also writes books but those royalties won’t be enough to get the bank to loan the kind of moolah needed to refurbish Dunmorey Castle. Frankly, Flynn would be happy to dump the whole thing but his stubborn pride rebels at turning out to be the kind of failure his father always predicted he’d be.

His bad relationship with his father also fuels his desire to be a better father to his own son. Liam is convinced his father loves him but Sara still isn’t too sure about this charming man who won then broke her heart. I love that she lets him verbally have it when he shows up on her doorstep.

Flynn’s initial proposal makes Sara wonder where his charm went (“We’re not indifferent to each other.”) But after Flynn beats himself over the head for that lame effort, he sticks with the program, slowly wooing the skeptical Sara. She’s almost willing to believe in him and his love when events bring them all back to Ireland. Which Flynn is terrified will send Sara screaming away in horror at the state of the Castle.

Instead, to his utter amazement, she loves it. And she’s the wellspring of ideas and plans that gooses the bank into letting them have the renovation money. I love that she takes such an active part at this stage, helping Flynn and Dev to see the potential of the place they’ve just always considered as home. (But I do wonder if some of her suggestions would actually work in real life.)

Well, not home to Flynn exactly as he never felt as at ease here as he does in Sara’s Montana house. That is until he hits on doing the thing which brings him a sense of “home,” lets him spend more time with his son and finally proves to Sara how much he loves her.

There’s a slight misunderstanding at the end which, thankfully, is quickly cleared up but other than that, I really like this book. So note that the Earth has started spinning backward, the sun is rising in the west, Jayne actually read a modern “Presents” and, glory be!, she likes it. B+


PS, bad as this title is, it’s still better than “Mother of the Earl’s Love Child!” [G]

This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.

Dear Author

REVIEW: Savas Defiant Mistress by Anne McAllister

Dear Ms. McAlister:


book review This was an unexpected surprise in the HP line although I should expect it from you by now. You do not write the traditional HP hero or heroine.  

Sebastian Savas is the oldest son of a wealthy man who married, divorced, and procreated at an alarming rate. One thing that the patriarch does not do is parent.   Sebastian has been the father figure of his far flung family and his latest duties include funding and shepherding the wedding of his half sister, Vangie.   While Vangie is prattling about whether to have silver or rose color boxes for favors and what kinds of edibles should be placed in those boxes, Seb is trying to land a big project for his company.

Seb is pulled in both directions trying to make his sister happy while she plans "The Wedding That Ate Seattle" and impress the owner of the company, Max Grosvenor.   Seb would like nothing better than to forget his familial responsibilities for once and focus on his work.   Seb’s plans for stepping into Max’s shoes as head of the company  gets more complicated when Max seems to take up with a young space designer, Neely Robson.

Max was Seb’s role model. Maz used to be driven; dressing immaculately every day; the first one to work; the last one to leave.   Now Max is sailing in the morning, showing up hours late for work, and taking afternoons off.   It’s clear that the time is being spent with this Neely Robson and it’s even worse for Seb when Max brings Neely onto Seb’s project.

Through fairly believable circumstances, Seb and Neely end up staying at the same houseboat. (A co-worker is selling the houseboat and Neely arranges to lease it. In the intervening time, Seb actually purchases it outright.   Seb is trying to escape all the various half siblings that have descended for The Wedding).

Neely and Max’s relationship isn’t quite what Seb thinks it is, but the assumptions that he draws are too delicious for Neely to correct right away.  

Seb reminded me of a Jayne Ann Krentz hero–one who takes on the responsibilities of his large and extended family but gets nothing in return. I hated his sister and his family, at how they used him, and how it seemed like a symbiotic abusive relationship.   He needed them to feel important, partly because it was a way to get back at his father.   He’s the better man because he provides for his family.   But the family members take gross advantage of this.   Vangie, for example, is constantly bothering him about the details of her wedding but repeatedly asks that Seb contact their erstwhile father so that the father can walk her down the aisle.


His family uses him without regard for his feelings, forcing him time and again to pay for their pleasures, taking on the role of the father and not returning appropriate dues.


I was also disappointed that Neely didn’t stand up for him more, particularly in the face of the family’s demands.   She plays the free spirit to Seb’s rigid personality.   Her character is perhaps more predictable, more of a foil for Seb’s conflict, but even Neely’s view of relationships are challenged by her relationship with Max and Max’s rekindling of feelings for Neely’s mother.

It was a more nuanced story than you often find under the HP covers and I liked it for that reason even if I thought Savas’ entire family should be pushed into the lake.  



Best regards,


This book can be purchased in mass market from an independent bookstore or ebook format from the Sony Store and other etailers.