The Great Baby Caper
Grade : F

Feel free to judge this book by its cover. Ordinarily, I'm pretty fond of cartoon covers, but this one has six scary cartoon babies on it, with a couple kissing in the background. While there isn't actually an unlikely scene like this in the book, the plot is just as far-fetched, impossible, and downright dumb. If I hadn't actually read the finished product, I would have thought it was someone's idea of a bad joke.

Courtney Kelly is a high-powered executive working at Boodle's Baby Bower. During the company's convention in New Orleans, the CEO drops a bombshell - he is retiring, and there are three candidates for his old job. All of them have to participate in a scavenger hunt and bring back a certain object, and the winner will be the CEO. (Can't you just imagine the lawsuits? But I digress). Courtney is supposed to find the most eligible bachelor in the French Quarter and marry him within twenty-four hours. Yeah, you read that right. Doubtless this is the wave of the future, and Bill Gates will choose his successor like that too someday. Courtney propositions a few drunks, and then is led to a nice hotel by her chauffeur (who is in on the scheme). At the hotel's bar is Mark Billingham, the CEO's grandson. She brings him back and jokes that she'll marry him now, but it turns out the CEO really expects her to do it.

She's shocked! She's amazed! She quits, and briefly thinks of suing for sexual harassment, but doesn't want to make life at the workplace hard for anyone. Mark comes and pounds on her hotel room door, begging forgiveness. He didn't think his grandfather was serious - he just thought this would be a fun way to meet the woman he's already in love with, the woman in the corporate videos he has watched obsessively. Yeah, you read that right too, and no, I didn't really want to think about what he was doing while he watched those videos either. Eventually, Courtney lets Mark in, and agrees to go to dinner with him. They have a night out on the town, buying daiquiris and getting sloshed in time honored New Orleans fashion. Meanwhile, they talk, they share, they drink some more. Mark takes her back to his hotel to "see the courtyard" which can only be seen from his room. Courtney is too drunk to go home at this point, but not too drunk to throw caution to the winds, jump Mark in the shower, and have sex without birth control.

In the morning, Mark wakes up and knows he's in love. He proposes, and Courtney sees this as evidence that he was in on his grandpa's plot all along. She runs from New Orleans and hides out in Detroit. Mark looks frantically for her for two months, and shows up right when the plot requires his presence, which is when Courtney finds out she is pregnant. He talks her into marrying him, but they have different ideas of what they want out of the deal. Mark would really like the marriage to work. He's watched the corporate videos enough to know he's in love. Courtney doesn't know if the marriage will work and doesn't do anything to try to make it work. They go on a romantic honeymoon to Mackinac Island. Here the author inserts plenty of tour guide information about the island, including information on the famous fudge. Perhaps proceeds from the book will be donated to the Mackinac Tourism Society. They have sex on the last day there, but Courtney thinks it might be a mistake to get too attached to Mark.

After the marriage Courtney comes back to Denver and works at Boodles Baby Bower again. The plot deteriorates still further as she deals with her family, baby-sits for her sisters, and deals with the dumbest plot involving corporate sabotage that I have seen in my entire life. Meanwhile, she needs to decide if she is really going to commit to her marriage, and if so, how she and Mark will handle their jobs and up-coming childcare duties.

A dumb as I'm sure this all sounds so far, I haven't managed to capture half of it. The ridiculous plot speaks for itself, but there are so many other things that make this an F book. There's the stilted dialogue that sounds like it would never be uttered by anyone, ever. Then there are the stupid double-entendres on words like "sensual" and "provocative." Both words are used frequently, and Mark likes to laugh at them sometimes, in a fashion that calls Beevis and Butthead to mind. (HehHehHeh...she said provocative!) I would have hated them both (and all the secondary characters too, come to think of it) if I had believed for a moment that they could be real people. Fortunately, that wasn't a problem. I could go on forever, but I've already wasted a week of my life on this book, a week during which I found myself cleaning my house excessively just to avoid reading. I'd advise potential readers to save themselves from a similar fate and skip this debacle entirely.

Reviewed by Blythe Smith
Grade : F

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : December 12, 2001

Publication Date: 2001

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Blythe Smith

I've been at AAR since dinosaurs roamed the Internet. I've been a Reviewer, Reviews Editor, Managing Editor, Publisher, and Blogger. Oh, and Advertising Corodinator. Right now I'm taking a step back to concentrate on kids, new husband, and new job in law...but I'll still keep my toe in the romance waters.
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