Constant Craving

For Her Eyes Only

License to Thrill

The P. I. Who Loved Her

Just Eight Months Old
by Tori Carrington
(Silh.Sp. Ed. #1362, PG, $4.50) ISBN 0-373-24362-6
Tori Carrington is the pseudonym for the married writing team of Lori and Tony Karayianni. They've written for the Temptation line, and Just Eight Months Old is their first book for the Silhouette Special Edition line, but I'm hoping that it's not the last.

Who's just eight months old? It's Bonny, the darling blonde baby on the cover. Both the title and cover art will alert readers that a baby is central to this story. If you'd rather not read books that feature babies in strong roles, then the title, cover, blurb and front teaser have alerted you. Those of you who do like babies or good stories with a baby in it are going to enjoy Just Eight Months Old.

Fifteen months ago Hannah McGee gave Chad Hogan his walking papers. She decided it was pretty obvious that Chad wasn't going to commit when he gave her a sports car rather than an engagement ring. Soon after Chad left she discovered she was pregnant. Hannah was never able to tell Chad, who was doing a good disappearing act in Florida.

Now Chad's back and Hannah's boss is desperate that she and Chad work together to find two high-dollar bail jumpers. It seems fated that Hannah will have to work with Chad. She needs to money so that she can start her own business, one that's less risky now she's got Bonny to worry about.

It‘s refreshing to see how Bonny is introduced to Chad. Hannah doesn't come right out and tell Chad that he's a father, but he's smart enough to draw the right conclusions. No outward recriminations mar the introduction. In a sweet, evocative scene, Chad meets Bonny and realizes that she is his daughter.

He swallowed hard, his heart expanding, surging against the bands he'd wrapped around it so long ago….A grin edged its way across his face and he swore he could feel one of the intangible bands in his chest snap and begin to unravel.

Two events marred my reading pleasure and when they began to over ride my enjoyment and annoy me, I knew this book was, for me, acceptable rather than recommended. If my two annoyances are merely a blip on your reading radar screen, then this story is one that you'll start reading and most likely have a hard time putting down.

Event number one is Bonny's inclusion as her parents chase the bail jumpers. Having a baby around in a love scene is okay because we expect the baby to sleep…if the lovers are careful - and lucky. Parents do it all the time in real life. Having that baby nearby doesn't spoil the mood for me. I am bothered, however,…big time…when a baby is put in harm's way. I didn't see anything cute or endearing or part of a family bonding moment when Bonny is with Chad and Hannah as they pursue bad guys from New York to Texas.

The second plot line that bothered me is Chad's martyrdom. He lost his wife and infant son in a freak accident, one for which he feels responsible. After all, if he hadn't been such a workaholic (ex-FBI), then his wife wouldn't have gotten fed-up and left him, only to be killed with his infant son in a car wreck. Yes, assuming blame is human, but I never felt that he truly grieved for his family but rather was bothered more by the self-induced guilt.

His frequent mantra of "I'm no good. I won't be a good husband. My child is better off without me in her life" became tedious and certainly didn't engender any sympathetic feelings.

In spite of my two gripes, I enjoyed Just Eight Months Old. The action is intense, with first-rate descriptions. The conflict is credible, with a realistic conclusion. Hannah is extremely likable, and baby Bonny is a tiny charmer. Although it takes lunkhead Chad a long time to see their worth and his vital place in their lives, he does come around.

If stories of life, love and family are what you're looking for, then Just Eight Months Old. may fit the bill.

--Linda Mowery

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