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REVIEW: Missing Mother-to-Be by Elle Kennedy

Dear Readers:

Missing Mother-to-Be by Elle KennedyI ordinarily don’t pick books from the category Suspense line.  Most of what I’ve read in that line has glaring problems in balance between a believable suspense and a believable romance but I like Elle Kennedy books and I wanted to try to get back into the Intrigue game (it sells really well as a line).  Unfortunately, it is so effed up and crazy that in true Nonnie style, I have to review this in list format.  Beware, there will be spoilers because I cannot express how crazy and insane this book is without spoiling it.  If you plan to read the book, don’t read the review.

For those who don’t want to be spoiled, the summary is thus:  A very innocent and stupid heiress is kidnapped and she falls in love with one of her kidnappers.  Their love is endangered by her kidnapping and his involvement.  Things happen. HEA. F for many reasons articulated below the cut:

1. Heroine is an heiress but she hates money.

Deacon had that look about him, the smug one of a man who’d totally pegged her. “I bet you even gave your trust fund to charity, didn’t you, Lana?”

Her lips twitched. Yep, he had her pegged. “The day I turned twenty-one,” she confirmed. She neglected to mention that her irate father had promptly deposited the same amount back into her account. She didn’t have the heart to give the second trust away; spoiling her gave her father such silly pleasure.

2. The hero and heroine have a one night stand. He leaves her hotel room without saying a word. She gets pregnant and figures it out two weeks later that she may be pregnant. She actually takes a pregnancy test in a train station bathroom in Italy.

3. She gets on the train and is kidnapped. Guess what? One of her kidnappers is Deacon, the guy she had a one night stand with.  Deacon is not an undercover agent secretly working to protect her.  Instead, he’s a mercenary.

4. Deacon is surprised and unhappy that the guy he is working for is a total dickhead who is okay with hurting women and would even allow his men to rape and beat a woman that they kidnapped. WHAT DOES HE EXPECT? He’s a hired mercenary. Who has he been working for before? Santa Claus?

5. Heroine determines that Deacon is a good guy because he must be. He’s the father of her child. Also because she has this sixth sense about people so even though Deacon had a one night stand, left her before she woke up, kidnapped her, and won’t help her escape, she knows he is a good guy.

6. The heroine loves her daddy, a US Senator, even though he has constant affairs. She knows this is “embarrassing” to her mother but still, he is her daddy.  She thinks her brothers who have turned their backs on their dad are just being too hard on him.

7. She is kept captive for a month and still believes her daddy is going to save her. He loves her. A MONTH!

8. During said captivity, she is guarded 24/7 by a number of men, but Deacon and her have plenty of time to have sex and long discussions about her captivity, her feelings on love and romance, and family.  They even have  loud arguments about how he needs to help her escape.

9. She is an artist and Deacon gives her paper and charcoal and she proceeds to sketch everyone in great detail and leave the pictures lying around and is shocked that the leader is angered by this. She would never use them against her captors!  She promises.  She just needed something to do with her hands!  She is an artist and she must paint.  It never occurs to her to hide these pictures and when Deacon sees them he thinks, oh, maybe that isn’t so good but then he doesn’t hide them either.  What the every loving hell?

10. The mother is contacted by the husband that their daughter has been kidnapped and she’s pacified by the husband’s promise that he’ll take care of it. Her brother is super wealthy. Her sons are wealthy and powerful but her husband tells her that things are “complicated” and that they can’t call in the authorities and that he’ll take care of it. Remember, this is the guy that cheats on her regularly.

11. Dad sends in ONE GUY to save her and that one guy gets her out except before they escape the grounds, the bad guys confront them. It is her and her rescuer against four bad guys including Deacon. She doesn’t want anyone to get shot and so she lays down her gun and returns to the bad guys. The bad guys then shoot her rescuer between the eyes.

12. After the guy is shot, she goes back to the cabin where the head bad guy leave her and Deacon alone and Lana, the heroine is so distraught, she sexually attacks Deacon.

13. A week passes after Lana’s mother is called by the father. Guess what, honey, still haven’t gotten our daughter back and my operative got shot between the eyes, but I’m still going to fix this. What conclusion does she come to faced with this:

She gathered up every iota of strength in her body, slowly lifting her head. It was becoming glaringly obvious that if she wanted her daughter home safe and sound, she really did need to do the impossible.

Trust her husband again.

What? No. You call your brother, the effing billionaire, and say “save my daughter by whatever means possible and if it includes endangering my lying, cheating husband’s life, so be it.”

14. See the kidnappers wanted the father to trade himself for the daughter. They kidnap the father to lure her father, a US Senator, out of “hiding”. Because he is involved in a plot to assassinate the president and then backed out. But he knows too much and they have to kill him. They have enough operatives to kidnap the daughter and keep her in a remote sophisticated setup in the mountains in California but they can’t kill one friggin’ US Senator?

15.  Also, this family is so wealthy and powerful that the mom can just call up the military and get her son, a member of DELTA, to abandon his post and go save his sister. The family is so powerful that after Lana is recovered, they just make all the kidnapping charges against Deacon melt away. Yet getting the daughter back takes over a month?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Jayne
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 10:11:57

    I think some of my brain cells just melted by merely reading about this book. And it’s part of a series? Am I reading the book cover right?

  2. Babs
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 10:13:06

    Wah? This sounds like a hot mess of a book. Seriously.

  3. minnchica
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 10:14:53

    I am speechless…..

  4. farmwifetwo
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 10:19:13

    I read the first in this series and haven’t read anymore. It wasn’t any better.

  5. Jane A
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 10:20:33

    Thanks for the warning so we can run far, far away.

  6. Junne
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 10:25:45

    Sounds crazy. However, why is a cheating parent a bad parent? I don’t get the 6th point. I didn’t read the book, but just because her father has affairs doesn’t mean he can’t be a great dad. Just my 2 cents.

  7. Lorenda Christensen
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 10:35:35

    This sounds like the book version of the movie Soapdish

  8. CK
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 10:35:46

    Holy guacamole! I’m so glad my coffee isn’t ready yet because this would be spit-take city! I thought it was stupidly amusing until #11. After that it was just plain TSTL.

  9. Rei
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 10:51:32

    @Junne: A cheating parent can still be a good parent, yeah, but a parent who cheats on their partner, doesn’t hide it from the partner OR the kids, keeps on doing it and doesn’t make any plans to stop? That’s…well, first of all, the embarrassment caused to the other party would be way down on my list of things wrong with the arrangement, and secondly, regardless of what Lana decides to do with the information, her brothers aren’t being too hard on the dad by refusing to speak to him.

    (I admit I’m extrapolating a bit here – Jane says “constant affairs”, and I’d assume that the mother knows what’s going on if she’s got room in her head for…”embarrassment”.)

  10. Sirius
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 10:52:20

    HAHA, so I am reading reviews looking for my monthly het romance dose, obviously paranormal that DA January reviewed yesterday will not do and this one sounds even crazier. Whole month to get her back, huh? Some influential family they are and some idiot mom is, even though daughter sounds quite idiotic in her own right. Thanks so much for the warning.

  11. Darlynne
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 11:15:07

    I ordinarily don’t pick books from the category Suspense line.

    Me either and this would be a perfect example of why. Do I even want to ask what happens after the baby or to the Senator or with his wife? Is it all tied up neatly?

  12. Alex
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 11:21:11

    I can’t… I don’t even… WHAT? @@ How… published? Paid…. author…? What?

  13. Alex
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 11:30:18

    I wanted to add that I got my husband to read this review and his face. Oh gawd his face at number 11. I thought his eyes would pop out of his head. *SNORT*

    Best. STORY. EVER.

  14. library addict
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 11:45:54

    The heroine sounds beyond TSTL.

    There are still some gems in the Harlequin Romantic Suspense line, but they are becoming fewer and farther between. I so miss the days of Silhouette Intimate Moments from the late 80s and 90s.

  15. Elyssa Papa
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 11:55:10

    Sounds like a trainwreck.

    And I can just imagine this conversation years down the line:

    Kid: Mommy, how did you meet Daddy?
    Heroine: Um….
    Kid: And when did you find out you were having me?
    Heroine: Um…

    Also, WTF on the mother? Dude, if your husband or ex-husband cheated on you REPEATEDLY then why the hell would you ever trust him now?!

  16. Kim
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 12:42:45

    Number 11 did it for me: Deacon is not only a kidnapper and mercenary, he’s now an accessory to murder. Did he also know the group’s plan for the president?

    @Jane: Shouldn’t the second sentence under #14 read: They kidnap the daughter to lure her father. . .

  17. Sarah Frantz
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 12:42:58

    No family that rich will have a son in the military. Not in this country.

  18. Sandra
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 12:46:55

    So, do we even want to know why a US Senator wanted to assassinate the President? Didn’t like his jobs bill? His foreign policy? What? It’s not like senators are in line for the throne, as it were. Or was he? Was he up for the VP’s job if the VP became President? If so, and if I were the VP, I’d be worried. Just sayin’

  19. Sandra
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 12:52:16

    @Sarah Frantz: So true. Even back in the days of the draft and the Vietnam War, those who had connections, got out of it. And now, with a volunteer army, those who want the prestige of being able to say they went to West Point or Annapolis still end up serving somewhere far from front lines.

  20. Janet W
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 12:57:49

    Interesting you should say that Sarah — and obviously you have inside knowledge I may not — but I was chatting with a friend in Boston about hi-jinks her son took part in a few years back (nothing wild, mostly involving emptying the courtesy fridge each night). He was with a phenomenally well-off friend and I *calling myself out for making a false conclusion* said what rehab programme was his friend in? So we’re talking politicians at highest level working for this firm — and my girlfriend said that room service glutton was a Navy SEAL and his brother was a Navy pilot. The dad had been a Marine and there was a tradition of service in the family. This isn’t the only case I know.

    So, I may be rather dismissive of some category categories but never romantic suspense, or at least not in the past. Isn’t that the umbrella Linda Howard used to write under, Suz Brockmann? I just finished Tempted by His Target by Jill Sorenson and really enjoyed it.

    Happy to get recommendations of other equally good books (altho obviously, I’ll be avoiding the one you reviewed). Linda Howard wrote a great SEAL/pregancy/rich family book as I recall — I’m terrible at titles but wasn’t Zane the hero?

  21. Angela
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 13:39:32

    @Sarah Frantz: Maybe it’s not common from a family that politically connected, but I know 3 people, off the top of my head, that are in the military and come from extremely well-off families.

    And they don’t get the cushy deployments either.

    Jane, I like Elle Kennedy’s books, but I think I’m going to have to avoid this one. TSTL heroines are never my thing, especially when paired with unbelievable plots/actions.

  22. Joan
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 13:50:38

    He’s a hired mercenary. Who has he been working for before? Santa Claus?

    I’d read that…

  23. Chicklet
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 13:55:54

    This book needs to be adapted into a movie solely so it can be the centerpiece of the triumphant return of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

  24. Mandy
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 14:16:40

    I actually read this one and it wasn’t that bad. I also read the first four (this series is written by different authors for each book) and I noticed that the senator mystery kinda unfolds a little bit at a time. Book 6 will probably wrap everything up and then maybe the assassination thing will make more sense. But yeah, good book, not great.

  25. Jane
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 14:25:46

    @Angela I find the rich boy in the military thing totally believable. Isn’t that the whole point of the Citadel and all those academies?

  26. Charming
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 14:44:53

    Does anyone else read all of the F reviews just for the entertainment value?

    My favorite part is the drawings of all the kidnappers.

  27. Elyssa Papa
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 14:56:51

    I find the rich boy in military believable too. I think there are a few senators who have kids serving. Isn’t Joe Biden’s son in a division and was on tours of duty.

  28. Cara Ellison
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 15:07:00

    It makes me angry that slop like this is published.

  29. Lily
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 15:55:01

    Books like this are why I will never buy a Harlequin. I’m probably throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but honestly this kind of garbage just reinforces the idea that all romance novels are trash. I can’t be a party to it, but I can enjoy the hell out the bad reviews!

  30. Deb Kinnard
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 17:31:12

    I have been known to read one of these and MST3K it aloud, in bed with my husband. It beats counting sheep.

  31. Janine
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 19:27:35

    What I find unbelievable is the concept of a senator who has constant, public, embarrassing affairs and yet remains in office. Wouldn’t he be afraid to lose his seat? In this country, politicians usually get kicked out once a sex scandal comes to light.

  32. Susan/DC
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 21:14:41

    Did Lana feel any guilt or acknowledge any responsibility at all because her rescuer got killed when she put down her gun? Did she feel anger when her father sent one (one!) guy against a gang of kidnappers? Did she worry about the gene pool she was marrying into (although that worry could clearly go either way)?

  33. Jane
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 21:25:13

    @Susan/DC: Yes, she felt so guilty she had sex with Deacon.

  34. Jane
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 21:25:39

    @Lily: I love Harlequin books and I have enjoyed many an Elle Kennedy book. This was not her best attempt.

  35. SH
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 23:52:04

    Rich son in military = Prince Harry

    Yeah, I know he’s not American, but come on!

    Romantic suspense is my favourite subgenre, but unless your name is Julie Miller or Kylie Brant, it doesn’t work in this shorter format.

  36. KKJ
    Oct 26, 2011 @ 02:11:51

    @Joan said:

    He’s a hired mercenary. Who has he been working for before? Santa Claus?

    I’d read that.

    I’m guessing it’d be the novelization of The Night the Reindeer Died from Scrooged.

    “Seven o’clock. Psychos seize Santa’s workshop, and only Lee Majors can stop them… ‘The Night The Reindeer Died’.”

  37. April
    Oct 26, 2011 @ 06:18:44

    It actually makes me sad that, as a writer, I agonize over every plot point and regularly trash half-written stories because I think no one will believe them, and books like this get published. I guess I shouldn’t try so hard.

  38. Annette
    Oct 26, 2011 @ 14:30:59

    Yes, Biden’s son was in the Delaware Army National Guard and completed a deployment to Iraq for a year. McCain’s son is also in the military – navy (and good looking enough to star in a romance novel), and don’t forget about Pat Tillman who left a lucrative pro football career to enlist in the army after 9/11. I not only believe this trope, but it really does make me swoon because these guys let their ideals speak louder than the dollar.

  39. Lisa
    Oct 26, 2011 @ 20:01:42

    i m really starting to think that the people at Harlequin are not doing their jobs correctly if they let stuff like this out in mass market . I mean seriously who approves stuff like this? example of not knowing your market well enough. (sorry business major)

  40. Jane
    Oct 26, 2011 @ 22:00:21

    @Lisa Maybe I’m not the market. Harlequin Intrigues sell pretty well, although I think this is Harlequin Romantic Suspense and frankly I don’t know enough about the lines to say what the difference is.

  41. Nadia Lee
    Nov 01, 2011 @ 02:13:00

    @Sandra: Actually I believe the Speaker of the House is the next in line after VP.

  42. Liz
    Nov 29, 2011 @ 10:52:41

    the only way he would be up for the VP spot if the Pres died is if he is really good friends with the current VP, who would then choose him to be his VP. As long as Congress likes him and approves of him he’s in. In that case, the VP would be TSTL, which based on the other characters described here wouldn’t be a big surprise.

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