Baby Benefits

In the Tycoon’s Debt by Emily McKay
(Silh. Desire #1967, $4.75, PG-13) ISBN 978-0373-76967-4
In the Tycoon’s Debt offers a twist on an old tale…the rich girl meets the poor boy and they fall in love. But dad comes between them and they split. Now the rich girl is no longer rich and she comes to the poor boy (who is no longer poor) and tries to borrow money. Hmmm…what is the twist, you ask? The twist occurs when the girl’s brother tries to steal from the man and the girl clues our hero in on the plot. While everything is not new, McKay does a good job adding a few perks to liven up what could have been a blasé story.

Evie Montgomery and Quinn McCain were young and in love. Evie loved Quinn’s adventurous nature, but mainly she respected him for rising above his alcoholic father and trying to make something of himself. Sure, she had first gone out with him to thumb her nose at her over-protective father, but that didn’t last long as her motivation. Quinn loved that Evie could see him – the person beyond the poor kid. He really felt her support of all he wanted to accomplish with his life. So the night Evie turned 17, off they went to the justice of the peace. On their way back, the cops pulled them over, accusing Quinn of stealing the car (a car given to Evie by dear old dad, but still in his name), of kidnapping and of carrying a gun. Evie fought them, knowing that the gun was planted and the “plot” was initiated by her rich father. At the police station, Dad met her. She could stay married and Quinn would go to jail, or she could sign the annulment papers and everyone would go their own way. For Quinn, she signed the papers. Dad gave Quinn the other side of the story: Evie didn’t love him, never did and of course at the first sign of trouble she chose money over him.

It is now 14 years later. The tables have turned. Evie hasn’t spoken to her father for years. She put herself through college and is working as a social worker, helping kids like Quinn. Her brother is a scum, but she loves him and wants him to get himself together. He has had a gambling problem in the past and now, he says he owes some really bad guys lots of money. Quinn’s name comes up and now Evie finds herself prepared to ask Quinn to help her.

Quinn has made a name for himself in the security field, thanks in partially to his friendship with Derek Messina, CEO of Messina Diamonds. Quinn now owns and operates an international company and is not hurting for money. He is amazed at Evie’s audacity. His heart has never really recovered from her betrayal and his apparent stupidity. He turns her down. But when Evie stumbles on a plot to steal millions of dollars worth of diamonds and she is fearful that her brother has made another wrong decision, she and Quinn are thrown together to figure it all out.

I was engaged in this story despite seeing the plot and end result from a mile off. It was obvious that Dad had played them even if they were too young to realize it. And Evie’s brother Corbin is a scumbag; Evie’s belief in him makes her seem too much of a softie even for a social worker! Quinn is a great guy and of course, sexy as all get out. Evie is a bit naïve but generally acceptable as a heroine, partly thanks to her courage to face things when it gets ugly. Their sexual chemistry is hot, even though rather tame compared to other Desire entries. 

There is no real new ground in this tale, but it is a decent category romance, with points for some action, a good bit of sexual tension that doesn’t get out of hand and for not totally delving into melodrama when it could have. In the Tycoon’s Debt is one to read on a rainy afternoon when you want some entertainment but aren’t looking for perfection. 

--Shirley Lyons  

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