Doctor, Soldier, Daddy
by Caro Carson
(Harl. Sp. Ed #2286, $5.50, G) ISBN 978-0373-65768-1
****
Caro Carson gives us a very engaging story in her first book for Harlequin. This is a fairy tale and yet, it has some moments that warm your heart with two caring characters who are not your everyday category hero and heroine.

Dr. Jamie MacDowell has recently returned from a deployment in Afghanistan. He returned a man filled with heartbreak over the death of a woman named Amina who he fell in love with and with their son, who was born prematurely as his mother died in childbirth due to poor healthcare.

Sammy is a delightful baby, with many of his mother’s characteristics. He also has a tentative status in the country. Jamie has no real proof of his parenthood, except for some rushed documentation that allowed Jamie to bring him out of the country. But Jamie lives with the fear that if anyone looks closely, it might not hold up. There are also some doubts about whether Sammy is really his even though Amina assured him that he was. Since Jamie is still in the reserves and may get deployed again, he decides he needs to ensure Sammy has a life-long parent in case something happens to him – he needs a wife. And he has decided that Sammy will help him choose.

Kendry Harrison is an orderly at the hospital where Jamie is an ER physician. Kendry works in many different places in the hospital, but one of her favorites is in the childcare center where children who are recuperating and out of danger spend their day, along with children of the employees. Sammy is one of Kendry’s favorites and she is one of his favorites too. Kendry is an intelligent girl who has had some bad luck.

Kendry is currently working to save money to get her medical assistant certificate, which will increase her pay. That will allow her to save more so she can get her RN degree. She has been homeless, but currently is staying in a not so great neighborhood with no car and little extra. While she is appalled at first when approached by Jamie to enter into a marriage in name only, she also realizes this might be the answer to her prayers. But she enters into things with her pride intact and her love of Sammy guiding her. She also likes Jamie and can see a future with him if she can help him get past his heartbreak.

This story has a lot of depth. Each character has emotions and pasts that cause angst at times, embarrassment at times and pride at times. The author does a great job of not pulling in too much sentiment or too much anguish; she finds the balance between drama and believability.

Doctor, Soldier, Daddy is a great start for this author. I look forward to more in her series about Jamie’s brothers.

--Shirley Lyons


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