Having the Tycoon's Baby

 
Under the Tycoon's Protection
by Anna DePalo
(Silh. Desire #1643, $4.50, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-76643-2
***
Alpha male meets headstrong woman; their bickering is interrupted by their sexual heat that leaps from the pages. And this occurs against the backdrop of someone trying to kill the woman while the man protects her. Under the Tycoon's Protection is the second in the series about brothers and sisters named Whittaker.

Allison is the spoiled daughter of the rich Whittaker family, but she is smart and determined to make her own way in the world. She graduated from law school and went to work for the D.A's office so that her work would mean something. Her overprotective family is rather condescending and keeps asking her when she will be done “playing” down there. Recently, they are more worried because she has received some death threats.

Family friend and semi-adopted brother, Connor Rafferty, has been asked to protect their little girl by her brother Quentin. Connor and Quentin were friends at Harvard and since Connor had lost his family, he spent a lot of time at the Whittaker's. He had always been attracted to little sister Allison, but he never let on. Allison meanwhile, had a major teenage crush on Connor. Their relationship was tarnished when Allison, in an effort to get Connor to notice her, dressed up and went to a bar where she thought Connor would be. He embarrassed her by dragging her out and promptly reporting the transgression to her parents.

Now, years later, Connor has made himself at home in her apartment to protect her and Allison is angry that he still thinks he can push her around. She is also angry that her family feels the need to butt into her life, when she thinks she can take care of herself. She relents when she realizes she has no choice. They narrow the suspects to a hoodlum whose gang may be after her, or a white-collar criminal whose social standing will be adversely affected if convicted of fraud.

Meanwhile, back at the apartment, Allison and Connor are doing the adversarial foreplay two-step. It doesn't take long for nature to erupt into blistering heat and sex. When they are lovers, it’s hot. When they are arguing, the bickering is adolescent and silly. Neither wants to admit they have emotions other than lust, but the squabbling gets old after a while.

Allison is a modern woman who wants romance and wants to be soft but has learned that she has to stand her ground or her brothers will overwhelm her. She resents Connor's he-man tactics yet is aroused by his sexual prowess. She can and does stand on her own two feet; unfortunately, she comes across as a witch at times. But she is generally likable and a match for Connor.

Connor is all Alpha. His instinct is strength first, and he will go to any lengths to protect those he loves. This dates back to his policeman father getting killed in the line of duty. His whole life has been spent protecting others; that is why he started his own security business. He has one chink in his armor and that is the fact that he is from a middle-class family, while Allison is from a wealthy background. He is vulnerable here, but I never really could understand why this was such an issue for him. He is smart, good-looking and rich and no one else seems to care where he came from. He has a great sense of humor and knows when to turn on the charm.

The intrigue never really heats up. The only really dangerous situation is one that Allison puts herself into and thus erodes into an argument. Finding the bad guy is rather anticlimactic. There is some humor when the family gets involved in their romance. The brother/sister ribbing provides some eye opening comments, but is fairly predictable. Next on the marriage block seems to be fun-loving Noah, and I look forward to seeing how DePalo handles his love story.

Under the Tycoon's Protection is an enjoyable romance with some good characters. It is a fun way to spend an afternoon even though it breaks no new ground.

--Shirley Lyons


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