Man of the Year

 
Baby Bombshell
by Lisa Ruff
(Harl. American #1317, $4.99, PG)† ISBN 978-0373-75321-5
****
Why is it that men in romances assume that they are just like their fathers and cannot change? If the father is a drunk with a temper, the son worries about having a temper.† If the man is a womanizer, the son assumes he too will womanize.† It doesnít matter if they have never shown signs of this; it is something they base their whole life on.† That type of thinking is the entire obstacle to Happily Ever After in Baby Bombshell.† If you can get around that and see the good in the hero, then this is actually a very satisfying story.

The Berzani family is one filled with laughter, fighting and love.† There are two brothers, Ian and Patrick, who have both recently gotten married.†The parents are Antonio and Elaine, both of whom are boisterous and fun loving and who have a boatbuilding business they have built from the ground up.†There is Ianís best friend, Evan McKenzie, who is our hero and then there is Anna, our heroine.†Anna now lives in California, far from the family home in Maryland off the Chesapeake Bay.†Anna is an architect and left after college, feeling the need to be away from family for a while.

Anna and Evan have always felt an attraction, but never did anything about it.†Anna always assumed that Evan did not like her but she felt the attraction strongly.†That attraction played a role in her reason for moving, but wasnít the entire reason.†Evan, meanwhile, felt he had been adopted into this loving family and did not want to mess anything up.† As Anna grew up, he tried to act like he was not affected and he was proud that he had hidden his feelings so well.†Evanís parents divorced when he was young and all he remembers is being caught in the middle.†His refuge was the Berzani home.† His father has never committed to a woman since, and his mother is on husband number four.† Evan is now convinced he is just like his father and has promised himself he will never marry.

The Berzanis have decided to make some changes in the boatbuilding business, developing the location into shops and apartments with a smaller business.† The reason is that none of the children want to keep running the business yet they want to honor the hard work their parents put into it.† The boys have decided that Anna needs to come home and help prepare the plans for planning commission approval and indirectly, for their parentsí cooperation.††The family sent Evan out to California to convince her and they had a one night fling when their passion finally overtook them.† Evan left, scared of his feelings, and Anna was just hurt.† But they also werenít very careful and Anna soon discovered that she was pregnant.† Evan has to work through all his feelings about his family and his lack of commitment.† Anna has to just work through her hurt.† And the family has to work through the impact this has on them.

I really enjoyed the dynamics of the family and their interactions.†Evan is reluctant to admit he is the father since he knows it may destroy his relationships.†There are some hilarious scenes where Antonio gathers the boys and tries to convince them to find the SOB who knocked up his daughter when all the while; the man is standing in his kitchen.††There are also some emotional scenes as Anna confides in her mother and sister-in-law and others when her brothers, who are Evanís best friends, deal with what has happened.

Overall, the story was engaging and the actions of the entire crowd felt natural.† The humor and love felt by this family came shining through the pages.†The only twinge was Evanís stubborn refusal to believe he was his own man and not his father.†Luckily, there was enough of the good stuff to override that irritation and I do offer Baby Bombshell with a recommendation.†

--Shirley Lyons†


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