Firefighter's Doorstep Baby
America tends to dominate the romance market, so it was nice to see a story featuring Italian characters actually living in Italy. Despite a misleading title (there’s a firefighter and a baby, but no doorstep), Firefighter’s Doorstep Baby is a sweet story, if a bit of a slow one.
Mariella Holmes had a promising career in marketing in New York ahead of her, but when her best friend dies shortly after giving birth, Mariella is named guardian and takes on a new role: single mother. The baby Dante’s father is unknown, though. Mariella’s friend implausibly withholds his name from Mariella, even though she knew she was dying, giving her friend only the detail that Dante was conceived during a holiday at Lake Clarissa, a small mountain lake town. So Mariella takes a trip up to Lake Clarissa, hoping to find Dante’s father.
Instead, she finds Cristiano Casali, an attractive but mysterious man who, shortly after he first meets Mariella and Dante, winds up rescuing them from a fire that nearly kills them both. Cristiano was a firefighter in Rome, and a first responder to a terrorist attack that killed many people, including his best friend. Since that tragedy, he has become a recluse, trapped by flashbacks and afraid to see his family or return to work. Mariella, though, with her joy and optimism, and the healing powers of being around a baby, might pull him out of it.
This story certainly isn’t an action-packed race of a novel. If it were a full-length novel, rather than a series romance, that might have been a problem. Given its relatively shorter length, though, it’s just right. Mariella and Cristiano are given time to get to know each other, and Cristiano to face his past. There are a few unbelievable aspects to the story, notably Dante’s unknown paternity — I can’t imagine any mother keeping something like that a secret when she knows she only has weeks to live. I was glad, though, that it wasn’t a Secret Baby story (or, well, Mystery Baby). For the first few chapters, I kept waiting for Cristiano to be revealed as the father, but that thankfully never happened.
I thought Dante was a pretty cute, and realistic, baby. He’s adorable, but he cries through the night. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the book was seeing how Mariella and Cristiano both fell in love with him and brought them together.
I don’t normally jump at series romances about babies, because that just doesn’t appeal to me for the most part. This book worked, though, even if it did move a little slowly, and I enjoyed it.