A Natural Father
by Sarah Mayberry
(Harl. Super #1551, $5.50, PG)  ISBN 0373-71551-X
***
There is a lot about this premise that you have to take on faith, but ultimately, your faith will be well placed in Sarah Mayberry’s A Natural Father.

Lucy Basso thought she had life by the horns, only to find out her almost-fiancé was dating someone else and left her to get married. Then she discovered she was pregnant with his child and he spurned her and the kid. On top of all that, she is trying to expand her business and has to go to the bank to get a loan…one she is not sure they will give her. Lucy is the proud owner and operator of a specialized delivery business that caters to those needing fresh food. Her main supplier is a family owned business whose son is hot to look at and so nice to know.

Dominic Bianco loves his father and uncle but is frustrated that they won’t let him take their fresh produce business into the 21st century. He wants to computerize the inventory and sales.  His father would rather do it in his head and using pen and paper. He is also just getting over a rather nasty divorce. The biggest bone of contention was the fact that his ex-wife wanted natural children and he is sterile due to the mumps he contracted in his teenage years. 

Dominic and Lucy find that they are attracted to each other and enjoy each other’s company.  When they start to discuss life, they realize that they are both at a crossroads and that they can help each other. Dominic has money to invest and Lucy needs an investor. Dominic can rearrange his schedule and help her with deliveries, and she needs help with those deliveries when pregnancy complications arise. Rosie, Lucy’s sister helps with the matchmaking and there are several side stories distract. Lucy’s mom is one of those who can’t believe her daughter let the philandering boyfriend go when she found out she was pregnant (what, it is better to live with a cheating skunk than to be a single mother?) and Dominic has issues he is dealing with too.

Dominic is a pretty typical Italian male with lots of testosterone and macho pride. He is embarrassed about his sterility, so much so he hasn’t told his parents why his marriage broke up.  This doesn’t seem quite right given how close his family is. And then he starts lying to Lucy to explain why he is pulling away. This is a bit discomfiting for a while, but his overall good-guy qualities make him a first-rate hero.

Lucy meanwhile, is smart and sexy, even if she is pregnant. But she is dealing with a lot of emotions, and at times is almost too emotional. She spends a lot of time pushing Dominic away, only to be totally devastated when he pushed back. I really liked her spunk, on the one hand but then when she got emotional, she was a bit hard to take. 

However, when together, these two light up the pages and their interactions and encounters move the story. They had fun, were fresh, teased each other and genuinely cared for each other. I liked them as a couple.

There are some distractions from side stories about Lucy’s sister and husband. The reactions of Lucy mother were very stereotypical and I often felt the same about Dominic and his father.  They filled the pages but didn’t really provide much enjoyment to the story. 

If you decide to read this entry into the Bundles of Joy series, you will get to enjoy a good romance between two people who don’t seem to match up at first. But once you get to know them and once you can get past some of the page fillers, you will be delighted by a nice romantic love story between two pretty neat people. Give A Natural Father a chance. 

--Shirley Lyons


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