3 Men & a Body

Body Movers

Cover Me

I Think I Love You

In Deep Voodoo

It Takes a Rebel

Kill the Competition

Our Husband

Seeking Single Male

Too Hot to Sleep

Whole Lotta Trouble

Baby Come Home
by Stephanie Bond
(Mira, $7.99, PG) ISBN 978-07783-29947
Stephanie Bond has written a series of three tales about the Armstrong brothers of Sweetness, Georgia. Sweetness is their hometown and when it was almost completely destroyed by a tornado, they decided to rebuild. They got a grant and hired 250 men to work on the buildings, roads and infrastructure. In order to keep the men, they put out an ad for women to come and live and help rebuild. That ad went to Broadway, Michigan. That just happened to be the new home of one Amy Bradshaw. One hundred women answered the ad, but Amy wasn't one of them.

It is now a year into the project and they are ready to rebuild the sentimental covered bridge that linked two parts of the town over the local river. Marcus, the eldest, knows that his middle brother Kendall had been in love with Amy and acted as if he had never gotten over her. Their breakup occurred when Kendall went into the Army and asked Amy to wait but Amy wanted out of Sweetness and felt betrayed that Kendall put the Army ahead of her. She left. He left and came back without her. Recently the youngest brother Porter has found love with one of the woman from Broadway. Dr. Nikki Salinger is also a good friend of Amy's.

Marcus discovers a secret - Amy has a child and it appears that the child is a splitting image of Kendall. The boy, Tony is now 12. Amy worked her way through school and has a degree in engineering, with her specialty building bridges and sidewalks, etc. Marcus convinces Amy to come rebuild their bridge, knowing that at some point, she will have to come clean to Kendall about his son.

Meanwhile, Amy is leery of returning to Sweetness, a town where she has few fond memories, except her memories of her love with Kendall. She hid their son, knowing that she didn't want to hold Kendall that way. She has a vision that she can come into town, build the bridge, and leave. Tony is staying at a military school, due to some recent juvenile delinquency tendencies. She is sure she can do this and go home with Kendall none the wiser. Of course, she is unaware that Marcus knows about Tony and that Tony is determined to get away from that school.

As one might imagine, old love fights to be rekindled when Kendall, the town engineer and Amy, the hired gun, have to spend time together to complete the project. Besides these complications, things get sticky when Tony hitchhikes from Michigan and shows up on the doorstep of the man who didn't even know he had a son.

This is a fun book and one that definitely whet my appetite for the previous entry about Nikki and Porter and the one soon to be coming out about Marcus. Kendall is a good guy and despite feeling sucker punched, handles his fatherhood with all the grace of a bull in a china shop. He and Tony have some hurdles to climb. The entire time, Kendall is also out to convince Amy that they were meant to be together. The story has ups and downs, hills and dales, love and laughter and even a few tears.

Baby Come Home is a story that stays with you even a few days after finishing it. However, there are some situations that feel forced. I mean, what 12 year old, who has been pretty sheltered, can figure out how to hitchhike from Michigan to Georgia? That was a bit farfetched. And did Amy really think she could be someplace for three to four months and hide her son? I wanted to give her more credit than that. Luckily, she generally acted smarter than that and Stephanie Bond wrote a story that worked more often than not. I look forward to seeing what happens to Marcus, the more stoic of the brothers.

--Shirley Lyons

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