The Magnate’s Pregnancy Proposal
by Sandra Hyatt
(Silh. Desire #1991, $ 4.75, PG) ISBN 978-0373-73004-9
The theme of the month must be “pregnancy by strangers” and this one is fairly predictable.  While The Magnate’s Pregnancy Proposal kept my interest, it was just nothing new.  The Magnate in the title is a CEO and the pregnancy is by a woman who was married to his brother.  So how did this all come about?  In vitro fertilization, and oh, yes, it really isn’t the brother’s child, it is the CEO’s.  If you can get past all of that, you might enjoy the tale…but there is a lot more the reader has to buy and I struggled with it, even as I liked the characters.

Gabe Masters is the oldest son and CEO of the family’s company.  His mother and father are rich, retired, and at times, both arrogant and unforgiving.  Tom Masters was the younger brother and he too, worked at the company.  A few years ago, Gabe hired an assistant named Chastity Stevens.  He was very attracted to her and when it looked like she might have an interest in him too, he transferred her to his brother’s staff.  He had a rule about dating employees and felt too tempted.  But Tom apparently suffered no such ethical issues and the next thing you knew, Tom and Chastity were married.  Tom became estranged from the family shortly thereafter.  All of the Masters blamed Chastity, with even Tom telling his family that was why he was being so isolated. 

A few months ago, Tom died of cancer and Chastity and the family parted ways. But now Chastity is back and Gabe is certain it is for money.  He always saw her as a woman who would marry a man for his money and then ruin him for his family.  He was disgusted that he had ever been attracted to her.  His mother hates her.  Chastity has news that Tom demanded she share if something happened to him, and her goal is to share the news and then get out.  It seems that prior to Tom getting cancer, he had frozen some of his sperm and Chastity is now about three months pregnant.  What Tom failed to share was that the sperm he donated were destroyed by a fire and what was in storage was actually Gabe’s sperm…so Chastity is actually pregnant with Gabe’s child.

Gabe is determined to be a part of this child’s life and he sets out to intimidate, threaten and otherwise force Chastity to give him that part.  Especially when he realizes that she may not be what he had always suspected and when he realizes he still finds her attractive.  Chastity could never walk away from a dare and when Gabe makes it a competition, she agrees to spend time with him on a remote island that he has purchased and is renovating as a resort.   The story follows the two as they get to know each other and discover plenty of family skeletons and family history that has impacted who they really are. 

Gabe was a basically nice guy, but so tied up in work, he often let his personal life go.  Now Chastity challenges him to relax and find a way to enjoy life if he is serious about being a father to their daughter.  Meanwhile, Chastity grew up in a broken home with a drunken mother and two loose women for sisters.  She swore she was not like them and set out to get a degree and make a life for herself.  Her supportive, friendship-based relationship with Tom suited them both.  Since Tom had been sick, she could not deny him the chance to leave a legacy.  But now she is stunned to discover that Gabe is the father, that Tom had lied about the sperm and that actually she is still attracted to Gabe.  She is a little too naïve at times, but basically she is a sound heroine, willing to fight for what she thinks is right.

The Magnate’s Pregnancy Proposal definitely picked up when the relationship was the emphasis. The family stuff seemed to be thrown in for acrimony and the ending was implausible, at best.  Hyatt is still a new author and if she can build on what she did right, she has a bright future.   

--Shirley Lyons

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