The Tycoon’s Hidden Heir
by Yvonne Lindsay
(Silh. Desire # 1788, $4.50, R) ISBN 0-373-76788-9
Here’s a twist on a familiar plot. Not only does the dad not know he fathered a child 12 years ago in a one night stand, the mother doesn’t even know. Oh, she knows she has a son, but she thought her new husband was the father. It isn’t her husband dies and leaves her a letter showing he is sterile that she realizes the result of her night of unequaled passion has born fruit. Imagine the complications now.

The Tycoon’s Hidden Heir picks up the tale of Mason Knight of the Knight brothers in New Zealand. Mason is the black sheep of the family (although the reason is alluded to without being full explained) and he is the proud owner of Knight Transport. He got his start from a feisty small business owner named Patrick Davies. Patrick and Mason were close as Patrick mentored Mason even as they became great competitors in the shipping industry. The story opens 12 years ago, as Mason (then a trucker) saves a woman who has wrecked her car and ended up in the frozen river. Having no choice but to take her to his truck to warm up, they heat up more than the thermostat. It is a night that both are not likely to forget. Mason is amazed into silence when she is the gold digging bride walking down the aisle toward his friend Patrick.

Helena Davies has not had an easy life. She struggled with her family and often was the only sensible one there. She joined an escort service to help make ends meet. Patrick saved her when a couple of the men broke the rules and tried to rape her. She jumped at his suggestion to go back to school and get her degree while marrying him so he can have some comfort in his senior years. Over the course of their marriage, Helena grew to love Patrick and was so pleased to have presented him with a son, whom he seemed to be so proud of. His only other son, a boy he adopted named Evan, has not turned out the way he would have liked. Helena became an accountant and actually worked on Patrick’s firm as the office manager.

Now, Patrick is dead of a heart attack and Evan is fuming that he must share the company with Helena’s son, Brody. Since Brody is only 11, Helena holds his interest in the company. But the company is also suffering from some shady dealings, with money slowing being bled out of it. Helena assumes it is Evan. In order to protect Brody and the company, Helena seeks help from Mason, just as Patrick told her to do in his letter. She wants Mason to help her fight Evan, for Brody’s sake. She tells him of his fatherhood to get him to agree.

Naturally, Mason has a hard time swallowing the fact that she didn’t know and that she wants his help. Both still feel the strong attraction, which is why they have basically ignored the other for the past 11 years. As Mason starts looking at things, all the evidence of the financial problems point to Helena. Despite her denials, he doesn’t want to believe her. The conflict continues as they fight their attraction, as Mason tries to reconcile what his relationship should be with Brody and as they try to discover what is going on at Davies Transport.

Sadly, the story is better than the characters of Mason and Helena. They act like they hate each other but then they ignite when they touch. Now I realize that this is normal in the Desire line, however, they are so ruled by lust that they hurt each other, act like idiots and then expect the reader to believe that they love each other. This reader couldn’t buy it. Helena particularly laments continuously that Mason is hurtful, rude, insensitive and downright nasty to her, yet she starts sweating and shivering every time he helps in the car or enters a room.

The Tycoon’s Hidden Heir has some things going for it. But generally they are under the radar when compared to the things going against it.

--Shirley Lyons

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