His Bride for the Taking

The Magnate's Pregnancy Proposal

Revealed: His Secret Child
by Sandra Hyatt
(Silh. Desire # 2072, $4.75, PG-13) ISBN 978-0373-73085-8
There are some things that hit you about this book right off the bat. First, the hero is rich, given that he is driving a Maserati. Second, he has closed himself off from emotions, revealing in the first few pages that his “relationships” were only physical, including the one he had with a journalist named Gillian Mitchell. Finally, we learn that while Max Preston works as a PR man for his friend’s company, he doesn’t really have to.

The next things we discover are that Max and Gillian were a couple in an exclusive relationship until Gillian had the audacity to mention a future with children. Not only did Max reject that idea, he broke things off that day…i.e. immediately. And so for almost four years, Gillian has hiddem the secret of Max’s child from him, since she was pregnant when she asked the question. When Max confronts Gillian about an article he wrote, he sees his son Ethan who is the spitting image of him as a child. After blowing up, Max is determined to be a father and demands that Gillian marry him immediately, of course a marriage in name only, just for the sake of the child. They get in a private jet and fly off to Las Vegas.

By page 40, I am not impressed by Max, other than the speed with which he moves. I am not enamored of Gillian since she not only capitulated; she did so out of guilt and fear. The story looks like it will be pretty predictable. But a funny thing happened on the way to the ending…Max actually shows he has a heart even if he doesn’t know it. He is caring and loving of Ethan and he has a family he loves dearly also. Of course, there was an event that shattered him as a child, making him firm in his belief that he can’t love…but we all know a good woman will cure him of that type of thinking. And Gillian not only gets a back-bone, she actually has some sense. And she is falling in love with Max all over again.

These two share a physical connection that they ultimately can’t deny and this allows them to forge a friendship, albeit a guarded one. This relationship develops slowly and once you accept their circumstances, the two actually share a nice love story. Max slowly acknowledges how empty his life was before and is forced to think about the past in ways that he hasn’t in a long time. Gillian becomes certain what she wants and slowly opens herself to realizing that she and Max and Ethan can have a life together.

They are helped along the way by other family members and various circumstances around their work, but this really is a character driven story. Even when they worried each other or seemed to be ready to shut down, they found the courage to talk, generally using Ethan as an excuse. That talking led to sharing and ultimately to understanding. It is a mature couple that finally finds their Happily Ever After.

This story is part of a series, but easily stands alone. I had not read any of the previous stories and the bits and pieces about the company takeover of a local business is really more annoyance than anything else. For those who have been following the series, there are more hints and more characters introduced who will be featured in future stories.

Revealed: His Secret Child is a good story hidden in a plot that has been used many times. If you can get past the first forty pages and buy the premise, the rest will easily draw you in and give a gratifying reading experience.

--Shirley Lyons

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