Harlequin Mills & Boon, £3.19, ISBN 978-0-263-87199-9
Contemporary Romance, 2009
I really didn’t want to read a pregnant woman romance, but for some reason, all the latest releases from this publisher that graced the new arrival shelf at my local supermarket have “Pregnant” or a variation of that word in their title. That or a twig-like woman with a pillow stuffed under her dress on the cover art. I could only wonder whether this singular emphasis on pregnant heroines had anything to do with the recent swine flu outbreak. Still, I did what any person in my shoes would in this case: I picked the one with the nicest cover. The method didn’t work out too well, sigh.
Pregnant with the Billionaire’s Baby has, on the bright side, a clichéd billionaire who turns out to be a pretty decent guy when he realizes that the heroine falls onto the good side of his Madonna/whore complex. It is the heroine’s irrational neurotic hysteria that keeps this story going for as long as it does, and this is, as proper British schoolmarms would say, not a good thing.
Lucinda “Luccy” Harper-O’Neill is a photographer. Not that her job matters much in this story, but “the photographer” is the only way one can distinguish her from, say, that stupid woman in that other Harlequin Mills & Boon book or this stupid woman in this other book in the same series. You can guess what kind of woman she is from the author’s own description of Luccy, I’m sure.
She might be well on her way to thirty, but that didn’t mean she was in the least sophisticated when it came to reading men. There had only ever been one man in her life in an intimate way, when she was at university seven years ago, and that certainly hadn’t been very exciting. So much so that she hadn’t been particularly interested in repeating the experience since.
And this is supposed to be a good thing, of course, because we don’t want promiscuous harlots running around and tainting the hollowed halls of our romance genre, do we?
On the other hand, our hero Jacob Sinclair – you can call him “Sin”, naturally – is a manfully virile fellow, demonstrated by his masculine copulatory marathons with women of ill-repute and loose morals all over the world.
There had been many woman in Sin’s life in the last eighteen years or so. Beautiful, enticing, intelligent women. But this woman, beautiful, warm, and incredibly sexy, was all the more enticing to him because she obviously had no idea of his real identity…
In other words, she’s as dumb as a warehouse full of sacks of turnips, and he likes his women that way. Notice how the word “intelligent” was never used by him to describe Luccy…
The plot is simple: Luccy is very determined to be a good woman and all, but because Sin is the first man to tickle her fancy, she gives out to him in a speed that will make fast and loose women everywhere blink in awe. Of course, once she’s had her fun, her Catholic guilt sets in and she becomes hysterically stupid and runs away. He finds her, she rails and shrieks and protests but it’s all lip service as she repeatedly succumbs to his amorous ministrations as if she’s the embodiment of all the dirty jokes that have ever been made about Harlequin heroines, and she pauses briefly in her orgasm only to resume her crazy act once she catches her breath. As you can tell from the title of this book, she gets knocked up in the process, which makes Sin puff up with determination to marry her since we all know that rich men in this world are obsessed with marrying ridiculously easy women that they knocked up during their pursuits of aggressive caveman-style seduction.
Sin does mellow down somewhat as the story continues, when he starts showing some signs that he is capable of tenderness toward a woman, but Luccy keeps up her insane woman act all the way to almost the end. She’s so determined to do all kinds of nonsense to sabotage herself just because she believes – insists on believing, to be exact – that Sin doesn’t love her. She is a complete joke because for all her continuous protests of virtue and what not, it doesn’t require even a glass of alcohol to get her to put out!
Pregnant with the Billionaire’s Baby is everything that makes people snicker and laugh at Harlequin books of this type. Full of archaic stereotypes of ridiculously easy but deafeningly loud braindead women and rampaging cartoon men, this one not only feels dated in a “published in 1989” way, it also has me wondering whether the author and her editor are secretly laughing at me for buying this book and scratching my head at the more bewildering moments in the story.