Billionaire's_Baby_Of_RedemptionMy recovery from Harari’s 21 Lessons continues in the form of romance-wallowing. What better than a dose of the HP’s uber-heightened-romance? Michelle Smart being a favourite author and with “baby” in the title (I like’em, what can I say?), I knew this would be a “Calgon-take-me-away” reading experience. And it was. I swallowed it in two evening sittings and it would’ve been one were it not for one drooly-sleep on night #1. As far as HPs go, it’s standard fare. Billionaire hero Javier Casillas is cold-hearted, ruthless, and angry, angry at his father who murdered his mother, angry at his brother for abandoning their business partnership to marry his enemy’s sister. He’s still raging at said enemy, his former best friend, whom Javier’d cheated in a business deal and who now sought his revenge by kidnapping and then marrying Javier’s fiancée, the prima ballerina of one of his and his brother’s many assets, a Madrid-based ballet company. Heroine Sophie Johnson walked into his life one night, on a mission to return certain important items to him from her best friend, Javier’s former fiancée. Sweet, innocent, tiny Sophie had been in love with her friend’s fiancé forever.

When they fell into bed together that night, Sophie having the requisite-hymen for the experience, Javier and Sophie had heart-shattering love-making, deep, meaningful transforming love-making. Javier, with his tiny, cold heart, dismissed it as being overwrought over the anger-inducing events in his life. For Sophie, a one-night dream come true with the man she loves, a night to cherish and remember … until she has evidence of a permanent reminder, a baby. At ten weeks pregnant, Sophie does the right thing and tells Javier she wants to give him a chance to share in their child’s life. Javier insists they marry and Sophie delightfully doesn’t “protest too much,” but agrees readily with ” ‘You don’t have to threaten me. I want us to marry.’ ” When they do, she insists Javier make their marriage “real”: share a bed, make love, get to know each other, converse and share. Javier’s worst nightmare to his deep-seated sense of self-loathing and undeservedness (there be reasons, of course).

I lapped Billionaire’s Baby like a cat with a bowl of milk. It hit all the right spots and echoed some of my most beloved romance reads. There is something very much Lord Of Scoundrels about Javier: he’s angry, impetuous, and dubious in his business and other dealings. He is both arrogant and capable of spectacular self-loathing. I do love a self-loathing hero. Sophie, on the other hand, reminded me of the heroine of one of my favourite HPs, Sarah Morgan’s Playing By the Greek’s Rules. She’s a vulnerable waif with a spine of steel, a deep moral core, and a bullshit metre so wide and powerful, it upends Javier’s world. She surprises Javier, challenges him, and calls him out on his behaviour, but she never condemns him or sees him as incapable of love, tenderness, affection, and care. And she lavishes all of those fuzzy feels on him until he can’t bear it. The stronger Sophie’s softness, the more confused and erratic Javier becomes. Frankly, I love an overwrought hero and where-angels-fear-to-tread heroine. Moreover, Smart’s witty, sharp dialogue and fine writing made this a sheer delight. With Miss Austen, we deem Billionaire’s Baby of Redemption “real comfort,” Emma.

Michelle Smart’s Billionaire’s Baby Of Redemption is published by Harlequin. It was released on September 18th and may be found at your preferred vendor. I received an e-ARC of Billionaire’s Baby from Harlequin Books, via Netgalley.