Escapade

A Funny Thing Happened on
the Way to the Delivery Room

The Homecoming

Indiscreet

The Promise

The Sheikh's Secret Son

The Untamed

 
Jessie's Expecting by Kasey Michaels
(Silh. Romance #1475, $3.50, PG) 0-373-19475-7
***
Okay, here's the background: Guy meets girl. Guy asks girl to marry him. Girl says yes. Ex-boyfriend from girl's past returns, so girl tells guy everything's off on the eve of their wedding and elopes with the ex. Girl's older sister (the heroine of this novel) consoles guy that night by seducing him in a gazebo on the family estate. And older sister gets pregnant.

The older sister/other woman is 28-year-old Jessica "Jessie" Chandler, the kid who has always kept her nose clean and pressed to the grindstone. And the guy is Matthew Garvey, the Chandler family's banker and long-time unrequited love of Jessica's life. He has no idea that one of the reasons why Jessica has suddenly left town is because he's the father of her baby. But Jessica's grandmother Almira, the nosy matriarch of the Chandler clan, lets it slip that her granddaughter is going to be a mother - and it would be in Matt's best interest to follow Jessica to the Chandler summer home on the Jersey shore.

Matt has always been crazy for Jessica, too, except that he's never expressed those feelings to Jessica, even in the gazebo. Jessica also is unaware that Matt was ready to break off his engagement to her sister, Maddy, because of those feelings. (Don't worry Maddy gets her own happy ending in the first book of Michael's trilogy, Marrying Maddy.) He decides to hide his knowledge of Jessica's pregnancy and instead steels himself to win his true love's heart.

When Matt appears in Ocean City, Jessica is dismayed for reasons that were a little confusing to me, but ultimately root in the fact that she's feeling guilty about seducing poor Matt on what was to be the eve of his marriage to Maddy. But she soon lets him wiggle into her life, and before long, Matt admits he knows Jessica's pregnant. That's when the real problems between the couple surface.

There was an awful lot of bickering between the hero and heroine in this romance, and I'm not a huge fan of bickering. In fact, I hate it. Consequently, I didn't completely buy that these characters were crazy for each other. However, Michaels writes with a light touch - this is no angst-ridden category novel, even though it would seem that way - so I was willing to overlook the bickering and B-grade passion, and instead enjoyed the humor woven throughout.

The secondary characters were funny: from nosy grandmother Almira, with her penchant for plastic surgery (and lots of it), to the from-the-womb commentary from the couple's baby. There was also a cute twist at the end of the novel, something that's rare in the proliferation of baby books on the shelves.

Jessie's Expecting is a cute read, but don't expect a spine-tingling romance.

--Diana Burrell


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