Missing Mother-to-be
by Elle Kennedy
(HRS #1680, $5.25, PG) ISBN 378-0373-27750-6
**
This is another entry in the Kelley’s Legacy series; a series that centers on the five children of Senator Hank Kelley. Senator Kelley has gotten himself mixed up in plenty of scandals, but the biggest thing he has done is involve himself in a plot to assassinate the President. The men he is involved in this with are out for blood due to his reluctance. They have been terrorizing his family in an effort to convince him to turn himself over to them. This story centers on the kidnapping of his daughter Lana.

Lana is twenty four and has been in Europe, living in Florence, pursuing her fledgling art career. Her parents have had several rough spots over the year, but now her father has humiliated her mother with a string of women who have come out of the woodwork, swearing they have been intimate. Lana has always supported her father, even when her brothers have not, but now she is torn.

On her last night in Paris, she meets a man who intrigues her and she ends up in his hotel room. The next day he disappears; two weeks later she discovers she is pregnant and now she knows she will be causing her family some grief. But on her return train ride to Florence, she is kidnapped. Imagine her surprise when one of the men taking her is none other than the father of her baby, Deacon Hunt.

Deacon is a mercenary and was on assignment to provide surveillance on Lana when she approached him and things got out of hand. He is uncomfortable with the tone of this episode, which was supposed to be a quick, snatch and grab. Now he is watching over Lana in a shack in the mountains that is set to explode if things go wrong and his boss, a Frenchman named LaClair doesn’t seem to act like this is just a simple kidnapping…in fact, it looks like he is planning to kill Lana before it is all over.

For those who have been reading this series, there is background that might be understood more than is revealed here. I have read one of the stories, so had some semblance of perspective. While the romance does stand on its own, it is also one of those convoluted stories about a woman who falls for her captor and the captor who is essentially a good guy down deep.

Deacon has some things in his past that have led him down the road he is on and the author really tries to convince the reader that he is a good guy. However, he is also a bad guy, so the reader will have to decide if she can like him despite his past. Even as I liked him, I struggled with many of his choices.

Lana meanwhile, is an idealist who didn’t seem real. Having courage is great but she just seemed too good to be true much of the time and given the length of time she was held captive. And the whole pregnancy angle just seemed a little much given the time frame. I struggle with heroines who can decide they are in love with a man who has kidnapped them and is clearly a man who is living a life on the edge of the law if not completely unlawful.

Missing Mother-to-be is both an interesting story and one that is convoluted and unrealistic. It really is a mixed bag so readers need to be wary.

--Shirley Lyons


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