The Irish Enchantress

Renegade Heart

Taming the Beast

Single Father Seeks…
by Amy J. Fetzer
(Silh. Desire #1445, $3.99, R) ISBN 0-373-76445-6
If you are looking for hot sex between two intelligent adults then this book is for you. Single Father Seeks… starts with wild hot sex, moves into a chance meeting followed by lust turning to love and finally resolution. The main emphasis is on the lust and sex.

Ciara Caldwell, CIA Agent, and Bryce Ashland, Secret Service, meet one night in Hong Kong while both are on assignment. Ciara knows Bryce’s role, but Bryce only knows Ciara as an “embassy employee”. The have intensely hot sex and part, without even knowing each other’s names.

Five years later, Bryce is a widower with an 8-month-old baby girl, desperately in need of a decent live-in nanny. He married a young girl who he had slept with and gotten pregnant. He left the service at the request of his wife and has taken over the family business in South Carolina. The wife passed away from complications during childbirth, leaving Bryce with a heavy load of guilt and a baby. The guilt is due to their strained relationship and Bryce’s feeling that if they had not had sex, she would not be dead. But baby Carolina is his one blessing and he adores her.

Ciara is in trouble, having evidence against her partner in the CIA that will convict him of spying. She goes underground, offering to work as a live-in nanny, changing her last name and utilizing the skills from her childhood, when she cared for her sister and two brothers.

Ciara and Bryce have been unable to forget that erotic night in Hong Kong and are shocked to find that the attraction has not diminished. Their fantasies around that night have probably even enhanced the lustful thoughts that both must deal with when Ciara pops up on Bryce’s doorstep.

They agree to give this a tryout, both acknowledging they need the other, and the fun begins.

Unfortunately, I have a lot of difficulty with the entire plotline. It is implausible to think that an active CIA agent can just bury herself in South Carolina, check in periodically to see if they have caught the bad guy and just adapt to caring for a young child without any ramifications. Secondly, I find it hard to believe that a seasoned Secret Service agent would just welcome an unknown woman into his house, trust her with his child and not do any background checks.

The sexual tension and its ebbs and flows are the heart of the story. Ciara turns off her emotions and just ignores Bryce. However, for a professional and hardened spy, she quickly resorts to a roller coaster of emotions. She cries easily, and is besieged by her emotions around the past with her family, with Bryce and with her growing love for both Bryce and his daughter. This seems so inconsistent with the character she is supposed to be that I found myself losing interest.

Bryce follows the same pattern, but for different reasons. He fears allowing his emotional vulnerability to be seen, while tormenting himself with his wants and needs. He sees the bonding between Ciara and Carolina, but does nothing to protect his daughter from the trauma of a break-up that he is convinced will occur. He is a strong hero in his caring attitude, his principles and his willingness to take a risk. Yet, he allows himself to shrug off the unease he feels when he thinks Ciara is keeping secrets from him. This lack of conviction detracts from his appeal.

Having said all that, I have to admit I was easily drawn into the sexual tensions and the hot encounters Ciara and Bryce experience on their journey to finally admitting their love. Their obvious love of the baby endeared them to me throughout the story. The scene when Carolina takes her first step is poignant and brings a smile. The glimpses of normalcy with friends at a cookout hint at what could be a great romance. But the overall theme is sexual tension, which isn’t enough to carry the romance.

The constant threat hanging over Ciara is never realized and eventually detracts from the overall story. This dangling plotline cemented the impression that that the story is really just about instantaneous combustion, lust and sex.

Single Father Seeks… satisfies on a basic level, but if you are looking for a romance with depth, this is not the story for you.

--Shirley Lyons

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