“Baby Bonanza” by Maureen Child

Buckle up y’all, it’s a Baby Bonanza! Babies! Flying! Everywhere! …Okay fine, it’s actually only two babies, and they’re relatively tame. Which is pretty disappointing after a title like Baby BONANZA. I would have expected at least 5 babies, of various parentages. But, I digress.

Jenna Baker is on the worst cruise ever, stuck in the bowels of the ship in a tiny, dark cabin. As a paying guest, she expects better! And maybe as a former cruise line activities director, she should know better than the expect better? But after her affair with the Big Bossman, and a swift termination when he found out he was her bossman, this is pretty much the best she can do. So why come back at all, a year later? Because she had his twins, of course! And he has no idea!

Nick Falco is the owner of this cruise line, and a handsome mega-millionaire (of course – was there ever a mega-millionaire that wasn’t also devilishly handsome? If so, I have not read that book yet. And probably never will). He’s a confirmed bachelor, content to live aboard his ships and bed whatever lady presents herself that night. It’s been a year since his dalliance with Jenna, and he hasn’t completely gotten her out of his system, but he’s still seething that she lied to him about being an employee.  He’s ignored every letter, call, smoke signal, and facebook friend request because he wants to forget Jenna exists. Does that seem sort of harsh to anyone else? If he had really liked her, would he really cut her out completely without a chance to explain? It’s not like she boiled his bunny rabbit or anything. This guy clearly has commitment issues.

Anyway, she confronts him about the baby and he demands a paternity test (naturally), and then promptly (and again without telling her) moves her out of her tiny dungeon into the spare room in his penthouse luxury suite.  Not super clear on why, except he wanted to “keep her close” until this thing is resolved. Newsflash: she pursued you for over a year and had to corner you on a cruise ship to get your attention. Now that she has it, you think she’s going anywhere?

Not surprisingly, they rekindle their old attraction and resume their affair. They get the paternity test but while waiting for the results, Jenna has a freak out because some slutty red-head (aren’t they all!) throws herself at Nick. So she leaves the ship in a huff (and for the record, the incident was NOT Nick’s fault), and forces Nick to track her down in her little Seal Beach bungalow. By the way, since Jenna lost her job, she has started her own gift basket-making business. And bought a house in Seal Beach, where the median list price is over $650,000. I’m just sayin’, gift baskets must be REALLY lucrative.

So Nick shows up on her doorstep and plays Mr. Mom for two days, and Jenna decides she’s in love with him. But doesn’t say so, obvi. Nick decides the same thing on his own, and when Jenna tells him his lifestyle doesn’t exactly lend itself to parenting, he goes out and buys the Craftsman home of Jenna’s dreams. Way to seal the deal, dude. Would have totally worked for me too. She falls into his arms and they presumably live happily ever after with their chubby twins and pricey oceanfront real estate. THE END.

This book wasn’t good, you guys. There are some pretty hilarious opinions on goodreads.com, and the consensus seems to be that the story suffers from a pretty illogical plot and generally unlikeable characters. No one said this, but I think the real problem was not enough babies to qualify as a BONANZA. I give it two stars – one for each of the little cherubs that will probably end up splitting their parents apart in 6 months. I hope she gets the house.

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