Strangers When We Meet

The Unknown Sister

The Billionaire and the Baby
by Rebecca Winters
(Harl. Romance #3632, #3.50, G) ISBN 0-373-03632-9
Up front, I'll admit that I like books about rich men. My philosophy is that if I'm going to fantasize, I might as well do it in a big way. However, these rich men have to be sensible and not so emotional that they react childishly in the face of an apparent misunderstanding. The attitude of "My way or the highway" is crass and tasteless whether you're rich or poor.

The Billionaire and the Baby is the first of three Bachelor Dads books. The billionaire in question, Frenchman Dominic Giraud, is visiting Wyoming as he tries to acquire land for his coast to coast high-speed bullet train. In a freak accident, he overturns his jeep and is rescued by an ‘angel', Hannah Carr.

Hannah, who's running a museum, has custody of her niece Elizabeth. Her eighteen-year-old sister, Elizabeth's mom, hasn't been seen since the baby's birth. When Hannah rescues Dominic, there's instant attraction. Baby Elizabeth even responds to his charms.

Hannah is smitten but knows that she can't hold the interest of this cosmopolitan man. She sees herself as the country mouse around him. Her feeling becomes reinforced when she reads Dominic's biography in an old magazine. His net worth scares her. But Dominic is persistent, wooing and winning Hannah.

Alas, conflict in the form of the Big Misunderstanding rears its ugly head the night before their marriage. Dominic finds the magazine and knows that Hannah hasn't been truthful with him. Why she brought the magazine from Wyoming to France is beyond me, but indeed she does. Now he's sure that she's only marrying him for his billions. His reaction is based on family history; he wonders if his mother married his father for the family wealth. Thinking that he's about to repeat history obviously appalls him.

Several situations didn't sit well. Lisa, the younger sister, is at first portrayed as heartless. She won't acknowledge that Elizabeth is her baby, and we're told that she would have preferred an abortion. Immediately we've got the contrast between the heartless bitch and the lily white angel.

Hannah's lack of self-esteem is another issue that seems to be given too much attention. Several times she tells herself to end things with Dominic before she gets her heart broken. She's apprehensive that Dominic, who's making plans to move from France to Wyoming, will tire of her and realize his mistake. This Cinderella aspect is too pat and too contrived., ranging from an apartment in Wyoming to a villa in France.

And when Hannah finds the magazine featuring billionaires, a thought occurred to me. I knew immediately that this was going to cause problems for Hannah. Now that she's aware of Dominic's background, she's damned if she does and damned if she doesn't. That magazine is going to come back to haunt her no matter what she does about it. Her explanation to him of why she didn't tell him is very credible, but in the true sense of sulky heroes, he refuses to listen.

When Dominic discovers that Hannah knows he's a billionaire, he assumes that she's duped him. I questioned why he was so sanctimonious. He claims that she's deceived him, but he hasn't told her about his wealth and the obvious changes that will occur in her lifestyle. He must think she's totally stupid to be oblivious to his pampered life style. And if I had seventy billion dollars and was about to marry a foreigner, I do believe the words Prenuptial Agreement would be in my vocabulary, but it's not mentioned here.

A final problem deals with this instant love that occurred. I never saw it happening and never believed that it existed anywhere but in the author's mind. I wasn't convinced that anything other than mutual lust was occurring. When love and affection aren't in evidence, everything else in a romance breaks down. Dominic's childish behavior only reinforces my belief that their initial attraction wasn't really based on love.

Two more stories about Bachelor Dads are planned. Dominic's two friends, Alik and Zane, are scheduled to get their own stories. As a reader, I can only hope that things will get better. Maybe that bullet train will show us the light at the end of the tunnel...or the series.

--Linda Mowery

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