by Dee Tenorio, contemporary (2009)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-685-3
If you take a secret baby story in a Harlequin Presents, strip away the hero's Spanish majesty asshole behavior, and make the characters behave reasonably, you will get Dee Tenorio's Burn For Me.
Dr Penelope Gibson can't remember what exactly happened the day she may have or may not have slept with Raul Montenga back in those days - blame it on alcohol - but she suspects that there is a good chance that he is the father of her daughter Chloe. Now that Raul is back in town and Chloe is determined to let Raul know that she is his daughter, there is no avoiding Raul on Penelope's part. Mind you, it's not that Chloe passively raised the daughter on her own and accepted the fact that Raul was out of her life all those years. Let's just say that there are two very difficult mothers in this story, one for each character, and they created plenty of drama for everyone.
Raul is a mellow nice guy. He acknowledges the fact that he had been a complete piece of dung back then, with a chip and ego the size of Alaska at the very least, and I like this aspect of him. He wants to know Chloe better and he also wants to explore a possibility of a relationship with Penelope. All in all, he's a pretty convincing bad boy who has decided to mellow down. Penelope is a little too passive for my liking at times, but she's actually quite reasonable. Most romance heroines in her shoes would either play the martyr or act like a hysterical twit, but she's quite sensible instead. She and Raul have a pretty good romance going here.
The melodrama factor is still pretty high, though, so there are still ample fireworks, Harlequin Presents style, despite the relatively calm and stable main characters. The two mothers contribute plenty of family drama that reminds me considerably of the plot lines of a typical South American telenovela. There are moments when I feel that things are becoming too melodramatic to be believable, but perhaps that is the intention of the author here, to create something akin to a soap opera? At any rate, the end effect resembles a soap opera in many ways. There are comedic moments here and there, but on the whole, I remember the drama more than the comedy.
All in all, Burn For Me is a pretty entertaining read with some doses of soap opera moments here and there.
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