The Soldier’s Baby Bargain
by Beth Kery
(HSE #2220, $5.25, PG) ISBN 978-0373-65702-5
**
In a fairly predictable and conventional story, two people get together in a one-night stand and end up having to deal with a baby. Throw in some history and some unresolved issues and you have this tale in a nutshell.The Soldier’s Baby Bargain was enjoyable but rather stale.

Faith Holmes had loved her first husband but by the time he died in a helicopter crash, she was aware that he had been having an affair with a female Air Force pilot and that she was going to ask him for a divorce. Eight months later, when she saw his best friend Ryan Itani, she was over her grief but not completely over her guilt. THat Christmas Eve night, however, she and Ryan discovered that they had chemistry and acted on that sense of connection.

Three months later, Ryan is back sitting in her veterinary clinic waiting to see her when he inadvertently overhears that she is pregnant. The math is easy to do and Ryan is determined to force Faith into allowing him to be a part of the child’s life and hopefully, a part of her life too. The story follows the two as they grapple with past feelings, current feelings and with the resolution to the past. Jesse Holmes had been a great guy, good friend and up until the end, a decent husband. Faith has to wrestle with her sense of embarrassment that she didn’t realize he was cheating while Ryan also deals with the guilt of a) knowing about Jesse’s affairs and b) his sense of guilt from always thinking Faith was a person he could connect with, despite her marital status.

The story moved slowlywith little action and lots of introspection and conversation. The circumstances rang true some of the time and at others, seemed contrived. Jesse’s ex showing up just added to the predictability of the story, especially when Faith sees her wth Ryan and immediately jumps to conclusions.

The Soldier’s Baby Bargain felt worn to me, but fans of the Harbor Town series, where the story takes place, might enjoy seeing old friends from previous tales For me, I will just move on.

--Shirley Lyons


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