Expecting Brand's Baby

A Passionate Proposal
by Emilie Rose
(Silh. Desire #1578, $4.25, R) ISBN 0-373-76578-9
This is one of the books in the Landers family saga, with youngest son Cort in the spotlight. While enjoyable, it is pure formula and relies heavily on the “lust turns to love” model.

Cort is in his second residency with his hopes of becoming a heart surgeon in the works, but that reality is still five years away. Living in North Carolina, he is far from his roots in Texas. When his ex-girlfriend dies and leaves him with a nine month old son, Josh, that he didn’t know about he takes a leave of absence and heads home. While there he decides to attend his ten year reunion and bumps into old friend and sister of his best friend Tracy Sullivan. They share a kiss and sparks ignite. He also discovers Tracy has a upstairs apartment to rent and has lost her traditional summer nanny job. How convenient for all.

So Josh and Cort move in and Tracy becomes the nanny while Cort goes to work for the local clinic and old family doctor. Cort soon realizes that there is a big difference between Duke Medical Center and small town Texas, but he soon learns to enjoy that difference. He also learns that Tracy is a natural with kids and she helps him with Josh. Cort learns to love his son and learns how to care for him. As his relationship with Josh improves, so too does his relationship with Tracy.

But there are complications. Tracy is one of the notorious Sullivans from the poor side of town. Her brothers and sisters have created enough gossip and her goal is to land the job of school principal to show everyone she and her family are worthy. A torrid love affair will not land her that job. But Tracy is also a twenty-eight year old virgin and (you guessed it) she had a secret crush on Cort while they were in high school. She actually tutored him and helped him push himself into being the valedictorian at school. He has never forgotten her help. Tracy throws caution to the wind and agrees to an affair, with the understanding that Cort is returning to Duke in the fall and she wants to stay in Texas . For this to work, the affair has to be kept from the gossips.

Hot and heavy lovemaking makes both rethink their emotional attachment but the roadblocks they have set up are pretty strong ones. When their affair is discovered, they try to lie and claim an engagement. This leads to more lies and the realization that they really do love each other. True love prevails.

Formula. We have the unknown son who changes the father’s life. We have the unwed virgin out to make memories to keep her company in her old age. We have the small town wonderment that transforms the big city into the bad place it really is. We have the ex-love that wasn’t really love after all. And we have the guest appearances by the Landers family from previous books in the series. Most disturbing of all is the “lust-to-hot-sex-to-it-has-never-been-like-this-so-I-must-love-you” scenario.

A Passionate Proposal is not one of Rose’s best. It is however, entertaining and for those enjoying the series, an installment you won’t want to skip.

--Shirley Lyons

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