Can't Take My Eyes Off You

Come Near Me

Escapade

A Funny Thing Happened on
the Way to the Delivery Room

The Homecoming

Indiscreet

Jessie's Expecting

The Promise

The Sheikh's Secret Son

Someone to Love

Too Good to Be True

The Untamed

Waiting For You

 
Love to Love You Baby
by Kasey Michaels
(Zebra, $6.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-8217-6844-1
****
My first Kasey Michaels’ books were her Regency historicals which were pretty dark stories. Then I read her novels about the Pennsylvania frontier in the eighteenth century, with their realistic depictions of the harsh conditions of the era. So I was pleasantly surprised by her newest excursion into contemporary humorous romance, Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You. This charming story was so very different from these other books that I could hardly believe the author was the same. Her latest release is proof positive that she is a very talented storyteller who can write both heartrending and laugh out loud tales. Love to Love You Baby is lots of fun.

The book also proves that if an author can create interesting characters and lively dialogue, she can make even the hoariest of plots entertaining. Yes, my friends, this is another “baby on the doorstep” plot.

Jack Trehan’s life has just come apart. Not yet thirty, Jack had been a star pitcher for the New York Yankees but an injury to his rotator cuff has ended his career. He has retreated to the mansion he had built in his hometown, Allentown, PA to lick his wounds. A late night call from his flighty cousin Cecily Moretti leads him to promise that he will help her out of her current dilemma, whatever that is. “That” turns out to be a six month old baby girl, named Magenta Moon, by her less than doting mom. Turned out that Cecily’s search for her inner child had been a bit different than Jack had thought and now the baby’s mother is off to Katmandu to find herself.

Jack is, not surprisingly, nonplused. He knows nothing about babies. Than salvation turns up in the person of Keely McBride.

Keely is the interior decorator Jack’s Aunt Sadie has hired to furnish his still empty house. Keely had headed off to New York with big dreams of making a success of her career, but she had had to return home to Allentown with her tail between her legs when her shop failed. She has taken over her aunt’s decorating shop while said aunt is on her honeymoon. She needs this commission; her share of the profits will give her the wherewithal to return to the big city and start over.

Jack and Keely do not hit it off; no baseball fan, she doesn’t realize who he is and she is understandably suspicious of his story of where M and M comes from. And she doesn’t know much of anything about babies. But when Jack makes it clear that the only way she can have the job of furnishing his house is if she agrees to help out with his unexpected “guest,” she doesn’t have much choice.

The story is obviously a familiar one, but Michaels manages to make it seem fresh by creating an attractive hero and heroine and a whole host of amusing secondary characters. Both Jack and Keely have more in common that it would seem at first glance. Both have seen their dreams shattered and both have to find a way to rebuild their lives. Jack had lived for baseball and finds it very hard to accept that his career is over. But Keely discovers that her boss is more than a jock and she comes to understand his disappointment and to help him deal with it.

The romance is nicely done, but what makes Love to Love You Baby so much fun is the incredibly funny cast of secondary characters: the teenage prodigy who becomes M and M’s babysitter; Cecily’s brother Joey who wants to be a gangster; Joey’s boxer with a glass jaw and a heart of gold; Jack’s pushy agent; Jack’s Aunt Sadie; Jack’s twin brother, Tim, a catcher for the Phillies. And then there’s the baby with her golden curls and her charming smile who wins everyone’s heart.

Love to Love You Baby is, simply put, just plain fun. So if you want a few hours of pure escapism, read this book. Michaels knows how to tug on the reader’s heartstrings while making us laugh out loud. I’m glad she’s writing funny books and can hardly wait for Tim’s story.

--Jean Mason


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