Keeping Baby Secret
I love Beverly Barton’s Protectors series. I love big, macho, alpha male bodyguards and the women who domesticate them. The best titles in this series have a good suspense story and lots of sexual tension. Keeping Baby Secret was not one of them. I’d call it “Protectors lite”.
The book begins with Lurleen (Leenie) Patton about to go back to work after the birth of her son Andrew. Andrew’s father is Dundee agent Frank Latimer, with whom Leenie had a short and passionate affair. They used condoms, but Leenie became pregnant nonetheless. She has not told Frank about Andrew.
The kidnappers steal blond blue-eyed babies for sale on the black-adoption market. The FBI agent on the case recommends calling in Frank, with whom he has worked before. Frank is understandably surprised when he learns the baby’s identity; as for his feelings regarding Leenie, he hasn’t been able to forget her. In fact, the old feelings are still there for both of them.
Keeping Baby Secret is an almost textbook example of series romance elements. There’s the secret baby, the ex-wife who lied and cheated and whose betrayal caused the hero to have Issues With Trust, and the lonely heroine yearning for love. Thank goodness Frank was not a cruel woman-hater and Leenie was not a doormat, or I could not have finished the book.
Frank and Leenie spend much of the first part of the book talking about why she didn’t tell him about Andrew, and angsting about whether they will ever find him. When they do, it’s off-stage, then there’s lots of “I want to be in my son’s life” “If only he loved me” and “my ex-wife betrayed me” angsting, followed by a hot love scene. Then the two come to their senses.
I couldn’t help but wish this had been in the Silhouette Intimate Moments line where most of books in this series are published. The longer length of that line allows for more development of the suspense elements as well as more sexual tension, something Barton develops quite well. So, editors of Silhouette, I have a couple of requests. More Protectors books, and put them back in the Intimate Moments line where they belong.