REVIEW: Bought for Her Baby by Melanie Milburne
Dear Ms. Milburne:
In an attempt to broaden my reading horizons, I’ve been trying out new category authors. And when I say new, I mean “new to me.” Generally, my rule is that I don’t read books that have “baby” in the title. High off my reading success with other HP authors, I disregarded this self imposed rule and bought this.
I actually read about the inspiration for this book on the harlequinpresents.com author site. You said that your inspiration was from an autobiography about a young woman who becomes hooked on heroine and what her family did to bring her back from the brink of destruction. In Bought for Her Baby, your heroine’s sister is that drug addict whose habit has gotten to the point where she sells herself for sex and resorts to stealing wallets and I presume, other stuff to feed her habit.
Charlotte Woodruff is an assistant curator at a Sydney museum. She was put in charge of a special traveling greek exhibit when she finds out that the financier behind the exhibit is her ex lover and father of her secret baby. Damon Latousakis has come to Sydney to burn out the flame that exists over his deceitful ex-lover Charlotte. He kicked her out of his bed when she was accused of stealing artifacts from his mother’s museum and refused to listen to Charlotte when she said she thought she was pregnant. (Not a bad excuse for a secret baby, as excuses for secret babies go).
Enter Charlotte’s sister, Stacy. Stacy is the aforementioned drug addict. She steals Damon’s wallet, flaunts the stolen item in Charlotte’s face. Even confronted with this issue (which places Charlotte in a very bad position), Charlotte continues to allow her sister to take advantage of her.
‘Come on, Charlie,’ Stacey cajoled. ‘I only need a couple of hours sleep and I’ll be on my way. I’ve got another client at eleven.’
Charlotte felt physically ill at the thought of her sister sleeping with whoever would pay her the money to do.
‘How can you do this to yourself?’ she asked. ‘Look at you, Stacey. You’re stick-thin and so pale. You’re slowly killing yourself and I swear to God I won’t standby and watch it keep happening.’
‘I’ll be fine in a couple of days… I just wanted one more taste before I give it up.’
One more taste.
How many times had Charlotte heard that empty promise? ‘What about giving the detox clinic another go?’ she asked.
Stacey pulled a rude face. ‘That cruddy place. I wouldn’t go there again if you paid me.’
‘You get paid to go to lots of other cruddy places and to do God knows what cruddy things with no doubt totally cruddy men,’ Charlotte pointed out irritably.
Her sister’s lip curled. ‘You’re just jealous because you haven’t had sex in close to four years.’
‘Yes, well, look at the trouble it got me into when I did,”
Oy. Charlotte agrees that she is jealous of her sister’s prostituting herself because she hasn’t had sex in four years? Charlotte allows Stacy to stay with her while Charlotte goes off to see what Damon wants. What Damon wants is Charlotte and he blackmails her into being his "mistress" for the period of time he is in Sydney. Charlotte accepts because money = detox clinic for sister. But later on, when Damon finds out about secret baby, Charlotte wants nothing to do with his money. So then we know that a) Charlotte will sell herself to save her sister but b) Charlotte will not sell herself to get money to provide for her daughter.
Charlotte has some mixed up priorities it seems to me. Those mixed up priorities land her in the TSTL category. Worse, Charlotte gets turned on when Damon is an ass to her:
‘What is wrong, Charlotte?’ he asked. ‘Do you not remember how you used to slip your hot little hand inside my trousers in the past? Is that what you were hoping to do tonight, touching me like that to remind me of what we had shared in case I had forgotten?’
She felt a burst of liquid fire explode between her thighs as a host of memories assailed her. Oh, God! He had taught her such intimacies. She had learned under a master, her body singing with the tune of his touch each and every time.
What is wrong Charlotte? This man has no respect for you. He’s being particularly insulting and you have liquid fire exploding between your thighs? Those must be some memories.
Damon is an ass with a capital A and I couldn’t find anything particularly heroic about him. He goes on and on about how Charlotte didn’t try hard enough to tell him about their child. He blames Charlotte for every bad thing that happened between them but still wanted her. That seems very sick to me but Damon, well, he just wanted to be serviced.
“I-‘I’m not ready for this,” she said, trying to ease out of his hold. “It’s too soon.”
“It’s not soon enough,” he contradicted. “I should have let you service me in the limousine last night. I was thinking of your dancing little hot breath and flicking tongue all last night. I hardly slept at all.”
The drug plot is a sympathetic plot, but it didn’t come off sympathetic in this story because I didn’t feel enough for the drug addict. Maybe because it wasn’t her story being told or maybe there wasn’t enough time spent showing the destructive spiral. What I did see was a young woman who was obviously living a terribly dangerous life which included prostitution and theft and Charlotte barely thought of the dangers there would be to her own daughter. Charlotte’s daughter was supposed to be the most important thing in her life, but mostly I saw Charlotte prostituting herself for her sister, Charlotte sending the daughter off to the baby sitter so Charlotte could give in to the blackmail, Charlotte having no backbone at all.
The melodrama was tiresome. The emotional scenes between Charlotte and Damon left me cold because I liked neither of them. In the end, I didn’t care whether Stacy got help, whether Charlotte and Damon found their HEA, and wondered about poor Emily growing up with these two folks as her parents. D