Lover's Reunion

The Pregnant Princess

Billionaire Bachelors: Gray
by Anne Marie Winston
(Silh. Desire #1526, $4.25, R) ISBN 0-373-76526-6
Billionaire Bachelors: Gray is a well written love story and one I enjoyed. Yet there is one part that has me shaking my head and it is this that keeps me from fully endorsing the book. Gray MacInnes has a transplanted heart – and now he thinks he has the memories of the donor. (Yes, it is a heart transplant, not a brain transplant.)

Gray is a rich billionaire, a designer by trade who invented a popular type of solar window. His first love is house design and he is in the process of having his own home built. Two years ago, Gray was involved in a rugby incident that damaged his heart. His critical need placed him on the top of the transplant list and he got a donor heart. Now he is haunted by images of a beautiful woman. So Gray tracks down the family of the man who gave him a second chance at life.

Mike Thorne died in a car accident and his family agreed to donate his organs. His mother, Patsy, and wife, Catherine, decided not to try and find out who got Mike’s heart. Catherine especially did not want to know. Just after the accident, she discovered she was carrying a baby, and felt this would give her a part of her husband back again.

The Thornes are “old money” and charity is one of their passions. Gray seeks them out at a charity function and knows immediately who Catherine is. Hers is the face that has been popping in his mind at odd times. (He thinks there is some science that explains these images – but is afraid to check it out for fear he will be thought crazy). Catherine is attracted to him, but is also leery of him. Despite that, Gray ends up in the guesthouse on their estate while his house is being completed.

Catherine is an interesting lady. On the surface, she is a modern version of the nobility. But what saves her is her background. Catherine grew up as the daughter of a college professor, who also was a gambler. Her intelligence and verve kept them from falling into debt, even when she was just a teen. As Mike’s wife, she was expected to be a wife and mother. She and Mike often fought over whether she should work. She is down to earth and sensible.

Gray and Catherine are powerfully attracted. Gray loves her son, Michael, immediately. Then he starts seeing more memories – the day Mike proposed, Catherine in various outfits, Catherine coming to him in love. He is caught in a bind. He loves her, yet hasn’t told him this major secret. Meanwhile, Catherine has discovered that husband Mike was a lousy investor and has left them almost penniless. She is doing everything to scrape together money, selling their horse, doing all the yard work herself and maintaining only one domestic staff. But mother-in-law Patsy, who has never been poor or burdened with business, just doesn’t get it. Now that Catherine is in love with Gray, she is fearful others will think she is just out to get Gray’s money.

Let me say that on the plot alone, I would give this book a Think Twice warning. But the writing is wonderful when the author concentrates on the relationship between Gray and Catherine. Their enjoyment in discovering their love comes through the pages. Their delight in Catherine’s son is fun and heartwarming. Gray is a genuinely nice guy. He is gentle when the need is there. He is demanding when he thinks Catherine is overreacting or not being honest. Catherine struggles with her feelings, as I would imagine any young widow would. She loves, yet fears what this love will do to her son. She is scared about her future, but not willing to just jump into bed with any man to secure it. She takes a job, even though Patsy is appalled.

And that brings us back to the plot. The memory thing is a little too unique for my taste. The “misunderstanding” occurs because Catherine is hiding her money problems and Gray is hiding his “real” identity. Patsy’s motivation for acting as she does seems a little too dimwitted for me. When the author follows that with little hints that she can’t be upset or she might sink into a major depression, I cringed. Give the lady a break! She’s raised a son and chaired way too many charity auctions to fall apart now.

Billionaire Bachelors: Gray is thus a mixed bag. Take a chance, but beware that there are some unique twists and turns that just may make you flinch.

--Shirley Lyons

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