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The CEOís Secret Baby
by Karen Whiddon
(Silh. Rom. Susp. #1662, $4.99, PG) ISBN 978-0373-27732-2
**
Most of us can agree that a good romantic suspense story has a good heroine, a good hero, a little danger and a sense of trepidation that causes the reader to be concerned that the issue will be resolved in favor of our hero and/or heroine. If done right, the suspense of the situation is also unknown or shown with a mystery that engages the reader in figuring things out and it makes sense in the scheme of things. The CEOís Secret Baby has only a few of those characteristics, thus was only somewhat enjoyable and engaging. If you are looking for taut mystery, this is not it. If you are looking for believable, this is not it. If you are looking for two good characters, at least in this, the author has succeeded.

Tucker Drover was a CEO of his own company that specialized in coffee. He was always looking for the next best bean and was often filled with the need for travel and adventure. At the same time, he was blessed with a best friend named Sean who could run his company (technically they were partners) while Tucker was off. And Tucker was also blessed with the love of a woman with whom heíd grown up. Lucy Knowlton was a delightful companion, a good lover and the woman who knew him best. Lucy, Tucker and Sean had all grown up together and were friends.

One year ago, Tucker went on a trip to Mexico and never came home. He was believed to have been killed in an airplane crash and there was not even enough left of him to send home. Lucy and Sean grieved and mourned. In fact, Lucy had only just discovered that she was pregnant with Tuckerís child and her year of mourning was helped by her pregnancy and the birth of their son, Eli. Sean was a godsend, supporting her through the birth and was there to offer a shoulder when her grief got too strong. Sean is in love with Lucy and offered her marriage, something that Tucker had always been reluctant to do. After a year and a few weeks, Lucy finally accepted his proposal.

Two weeks later, Tucker showes up on Lucyís doorstep. He states that he was held hostage by a drug cartel who thinks he stole ten million dollars. He escaped with the help of the DEA. He was tortured and is lucky to have gotten out alive. He is thrilled to learn he has a son and devastated to learn Lucy is engaged to Sean. He kept himself sane by imaging Lucy and had decided to ask her to marry him before he left, but he didnít get a chance. Now he feels betrayed and yet, he understands. To make it right, he goes to the DEA and agrees to be their bait to get the cartel out in the open. He does this knowing that he can never have a life as long as they are hunting him.

But things go awry. The cartel finds him faster than anyone thought they would and, of course, Lucy and Eli are caught in the trap. Now Tucker has to keep them safe while trying to get out of the mess. And sadly, Sean seems to be hip deep in the mess too.

I found this tale to be too fantastic to be realistic. I easily guessed the villain and was amazed that the two characters couldnít see it. Even knowing, it didnít make sense. As a category, this tale is only just over 200 pages, making it difficult to get in the back story, develop the romance and build the suspense. All but the romance suffered. It is clear to see that Lucy and Tucker are meant to be together. Seanís character is weak and far-fetched. His motivation is light and thus, the whole premise seemed out of synch. The action is exciting, but again, seems totally unrealistic.

The CEOís Secret Baby has a few moments, but overall, it is overdone and predictable. Neither of these is a good description for a suspense story.

--Shirley Lyons


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