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A Perfect Fit

Where the Heart Is

 
Those Baby Blues by Sheridon Smythe
(Love Spell, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-505-52483-X
**
Hadleigh Charmaine gave birth to her daughter, Samantha, four years ago - or so she thought. When her slimy ex-husband rolls into town and demands a paternity test, Hadleigh finds out that not only is Jim not Sam’s father, but also she’s not her mother!

Hunky movie star, Treet Miller is a single dad to Caroline. Caroline’s mother, an unstable supermodel named Cheyenne, has willingly stayed out of her child’s life since she gave birth four years ago. When he gets the call from County Central Hospital that his daughter is not his daughter, he’s shocked, dismayed and really ticked off.

Hadleigh and Treet meet up at the hospital to talk with a resident counselor and after much fuming decide they’ll have to find a way to work through this mess. Seems Cheyenne switched babies while she was sharing a room with Hadleigh. Why? Out of spite, since Treet wasn’t going to marry her, wasn’t in love with her, and just seemed to care about the baby. Her revenge plan well in motion, she’s been off the radar for 4 years. The question is - what are Hadleigh and Treet going to do now?

What they’ll do is spend time together, with their daughters, on a secluded Montana ranch. Treet finds himself attracted to Hadleigh, but she is thwarting his every advance. Well, he’ll just have to find a way to show her that they could be perfect together.

First off - Hadleigh Charmaine? Somewhere in L.A. a porn star wants her name back. And Treet Miller? Worse part is - Treet is a stage name. Who picks Treet, double e, as a stage name? Add to this a bodyguard named Brutal - and I found myself pulled out of the story more than once.

Those Baby Blues also suffers from other problems. Hadleigh’s first husband Jim is around long enough to set the plot in motion and then vanishes forever. There’s a brief explanation that he wants to play daddy now that he’s married again, but he quickly drops the idea after he learns that Sam isn’t his daughter or Hadleigh’s. So why doesn’t he appear on the scene when Caroline enters the picture? Surely the hospital would have contacted him as well.

Hadleigh is a pretty bland heroine - I never felt strongly about her one way or another. She did hold some appeal because she is a bit of a smart ass - and I kind of like that in a heroine. Unfortunately she seems easily manipulated by Treet who is in constant seduce mode. It rather reminded me of the first Terminator movie - except imagine Arnold trying to seduce Linda Hamilton instead of kill her. That’s Treet, and it wears a little thin after a short while.

Add to this the just plain silly plot. Cheyenne is just a too maniacal to be believable. Honestly, who switches babies on purpose to get back at a man who won’t marry them? Her reappearance on the scene to complicate matters is also a little far fetched, as it’s wrapped up a little too quickly, and not fully addressed from a legal standpoint to appease my doubts.

As for the kids? Not too bad. I’m always wary of children in romance novels (especially four-year-olds), but mercifully, the little tykes don’t try to manipulate their parents into getting together. Caroline is pretty sweet natured, although Sam does descend into pouts of bratdom enough to annoy.

That said, I plowed through the bulk of the story in one day (a rare feat for me), and Smythe does have an easy, flowing writing style. However, a plot that descends into silliness, along with equally silly-named characters, keeps me from fully recommending this tale. For readers who can’t get enough of the hunky movie star falling for the little ole’ nobody, Those Baby Blues may be worth a look. Those craving a little realism may want to think twice.

--Wendy Crutcher


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