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REVIEW: Expecting the Boss's Baby by Christine Rimmer

REVIEW: Expecting the Boss's Baby by Christine Rimmer

Dear Ms. Rimmer:

I am ordinarily not a fan of Christmas stories unlike my partner here, Jayne, who has a well known affinity for these stories and given the proliferation of them in the months preceding the holidays, clearly I am in the minority.   I’m always afraid the holiday spirit will overcome the story and everything will become treacly.   However, I always seem to respond well to your books so despite the baby on the cover and the tree and the ornaments, I rushed to download and read this story.

Expecting The Boss's Baby by Christine RimmerThe heroine is the youngest of the Bravo girls.   If we were pigeonholing her, Zoe Bravo would be the free spirit.   Oh, she’s not running around in peasant skirts and beads, but she’s flitted from one position to another, finding nothing that has really engaged her passion and interest in the long term.   She’s easily distracted which is why she has attended two of the best schools in the country, but never graduated.   And it kind of explains what she is doing applying to be Dax Girard’s assistant.

Dax Girard is a “great adventurer and magazine publisher” which, in this day and age, doesn’t seem to be the most credible basis for a rich man, but Dax is very wealthy.   (Maybe he’s modeled after Branson?)   Dax thinks highly of himself and during the interview makes sure that Zoe understands that if she is hired, she cannot have sex with him.   Thankfully, Zoe thinks well enough of herself to laugh at Dax’s serious warning.

He wasn't finished. "And if I were to meet you under other circumstances, I would be only too happy to have sex with you. But I need good staff, above all. So I have a house rule. You work for me, that's all you do with me."

Zoe stifled a burst of inappropriate laugher and sat up straighter in the chair. Somehow, she managed to reply with a straight face, "Seriously, it's not a problem. I've known you for what, two minutes?"

Dax can’t wait for Zoe to fail so he can ask her out, but Zoe is committed this time to seeing this position through.   She wants to prove something to herself and to her family.   Everyone at Zoe’s new office think she’ll succumb to ol’ Dax’s charm in no time so Zoe pretends that she is in love with someone else and thus immune to Dax.   Dax is, well, a rake?   I mean, in one scene he is calculating how long it will take for Zoe to fall in bed with him but in the next he is making out with some chick in his office and setting dinner dates with her.   So monogamy doesn’t appear to be Dax’s strong point, as well as resisting his staff.   Fortunately Zoe has his number:

How old was he anyway, thirty-five or thirty-six? Old enough to stop jumping from one woman's bed to the next. If he didn't watch it, he'd end up ancient and wrinkled, wearing a satin bathrobe, with a blonde young enough to be his granddaughter on his arm.

A subtle humor is imbued in the story because Dax catches on almost immediately that Zoe’s Johnny is fake and Zoe figures out that Dax knows, but she refuses to give up the charade so she keeps on making up fairly believable, yet kind of crazy stories about her and Johnny.

Plausible circumstances leave Dax and Zoe stranded together wherein they don’t have the barriers of the office or Zoe’s fake fiance to keep them apart. Alone and having to rely on each other (or mostly Dax having to rely on Zoe), they succumb to the seeming inevitability of their attraction. It is during this time that Zoe realizes that while everyone has labeled her as flightly and insubstantial, when the chips are down, she is a very capable person. Although it’s a bit trite, Zoe learns her value as a person and I think it was this experience, in part, that makes her able to resist Dax later on in the story after she becomes, um pregnant. (It’s not really a spoiler when it’s on the cover right?).

Dax is a little harder of a nut for me to swallow. He seems kind of consciousless when it comes to women, at least in the beginning. It is true that he has his own emotional baggage that leads him into his certain lifestyle and he certainly makes a big gesture at the end of the book but I wondered if the transition from lover of all to lover of one was too easy. Even though there is passage of time, it’s time spent mostly in Zoe’s head and not Dax’s. However, this is a minor complaint and even the Christmas part was well woven throughout the conflict. B

Best regards

Jane

Book Link | Kindle | Amazon | nook | BN | Borders
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Dear Author

REVIEW: Ice by Linda Howard

Dear Ms. Howard:

I confess that I was at first taken aback by the length of this hardcover. I remember thinking unkind thoughts about this format when Janet Evanovich put out her first Christmas hardcover. Those have sold like crazy so I guess that readers are unfazed by the length of the story and the cost. After all, a story is a story, right?

When I started ICE, I began to get excited. A good category length Howard is worth hardcover pricing. I know that I would have paid quite a bit to read the Diamond Bay trilogy because it was so good. The first and second chapters read like a vintage category Howard romance and if it had kept in that vein, I would have been able to recommend this unreservedly. However, in keeping with your current writing voice, this book is far more focused on the action/suspense than it is on the characters and their relationship with each other.

The story takes place, mostly, over the space of one afternoon. There is an impending icestorm and military policeman, Gabriel, is home on leave. His father, the local sheriff, sends him to retrieve Lolly Helton from her mountain home because she won’t be able to survive up there if there is an icestorm. Gabriel is not thrilled about his father’s assignment. He wants to spend the afternoon with his son and he doesn’t really like Lolly. When they were in high school, Lolly always looked down her nose at him. Him! The highschool jock, son of the sheriff, friend to everyone; yet Lolly was always using her sharp tongue to cut him down. Still, Gabriel isn’t going to refuse to do what his father asks and heads up the mountain.

Lolly is preparing the family home for sale. Her parents have moved south and Lolly doesn’t live in the area. The local grocery store owner invites Lolly to stay with them over the icestrom and Lolly acquiesces. She knows the danger. She heads back up the mountain to get the supplies she needs. Her return to town is cut short when two meth addicts break into her home and prepare to rape, rob, and kill her.

It’s about the time when the meth addicts appear on the scene that the book kind of falls apart for me, maybe because I was hoping and anticipating Lolly and Gabriel interaction. no matter how hard you had Lolly explain everything to me, I was beset with questions regarding the plausibility of the suspense. For example, meth addict 1 is male and tries to rape Lolly only his girlfriend, Meth 2, comes in and starts to beat Meth 1 about the head. Why would Meth 1 think that he could get away with raping Lolly when his girlfriend was standing right there? Did he have a history of this? Was it simply to place Lolly in further sympathy with the reader? When they put Lolly in a room upstairs, it easily allows her to escape. Why not just tie her to a chair in the same room as the Meth heads? Or why wouldn’t they try to secure her in some fashion?

Now the answer may be that the Meth addicts are high and who can explain their actions, but they seemed capable of executing a plan (targeting Lolly in the grocery store and following her up the mountain, getting her to give them money, etc). It was no quick grab sort of thing.

Gabriel comes along and they try to escape together but they are found out by the bad guys so Lolly, Gabriel and the bad guys are running in the woods in the mountain during the icestorm. Only Gabriel and Lolly are affected by the cold. The Meth addicts seem impervious. Where Lolly is nearly hypothermic, Meth addict is able to plot, plan and carry out an effective threat to both Gabriel and Lolly’s lives.

The interaction between Gabriel and Lolly is quite brief and there is no real character development. The focus is squarely on the icestorm and the meth addicts and the danger the two pose for both Gabriel and Lolly. While the story ends with Gabriel and Lolly pursuing each other, I wasn’t convinced of much of anything at the end, least of all their ability to form a lasting connection. C

Best regards

Jane

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