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Baby Be Mine
by Eve Gaddy
(Harl. Super #1484, $5.50, PG)  ISBN 0373-71484-X
***
One of things about category romance is that many times the scenarios are based on some assumptions and when acted on, those assumptions never pan out quite the way the characters intended.  While this is acceptable, it also requires the author to add a twist or two in order to differentiate the tale from others.  Baby Be Mine has many of the standards but doesn’t have much of the unique, making this merely an acceptable story.

Maggie Barnes is a street cop and has pretty much given up hope of being a wife and mother, until she finds an abandoned newborn by her patrol car.  Her friend Nina, who works at Social Services, helps her get approval to be the child’s foster mother and Maggie is hooked.  She is dearly hoping that Grace’s mother never returns and she can ultimately adopt her.  But there is a snag.  Nina tells her that she needs to be married if she really wants a chance at permanent foster parenting or adoption.

Tucker Jones is Maggie’s friend.  They have been friends for years and while they have both contemplated taking things farther, neither wants to mess up their friendship.  So Maggie approaches Tucker and asks him to marry her in name only and stay married until the adoption, and then they can get divorced.  The best laid plans…

Predictably they find that there is a strong attraction and living together platonically is hard, especially when they have to convince everyone from their families to Social Services that they have a real marriage.  Complication number two comes in when they both fall in love with Grace and the thought of losing her is almost unbearable.  Now they have to fake it and yet they are so much attuned to the other that sparks fly.  Getting too attached to Grace leads to other decisions and the consummation of their relationship is as expected.

This is a nice romance.  But you can see the situations coming from a mile away.  And the results and resolution of those situations are predictable.  This tale could easily have slid into two-heart territory, but thanks to Maggie and Tucker, it maintains a good story.  They are both characters that you root for and hope that they get their HEA.  When they do, it is satisfying.  The other characters in the story add what you would expect and are truly time-honored secondary characters.

There is no new ground broken, but Baby Be Mine is a story that keeps your interest and gets you rooting for the good guys.  What more could you ask of a category romance? 

--Shirley Lyons


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