Harlequin Mills & Boon, £3.99, ISBN 978-263-24919-4
Contemporary Romance, 2015
Reunited for the Billionaire’s Legacy is an awful title, but it’s a honest one: the legacy is, of course, the billionaire’s spawn, and this is indeed another story of an estranged couple who have to get back together because they had hate sex a while back and, oops, baby. This story is an upgrade of the author’s The Divorce Party – same kind of hero, same kind of hateful behavior, but the issues that drove the couple apart are, this time, believable and there is some effort on the author’s part to address these issues.
Coburn Grant is the billionaire in question. Diana Taylor has left him, although divorce papers were never signed over the years, and, as you can guess, she scowls and frowns with her legs firmly shut while he begins spreading the love around weeks after the separation. As he puts it, he has needs… which gives the unfortunate implication here that, unlike a man, a woman doesn’t have needs. He also says that he knows that Diana will never see another man in his absence – it’s in her DNA, as he puts it. Again, unfortunate implications are everywhere. She shows up one day at a party, he insults her, she seethes, and apparently him telling his friends that she is unworthy for anything other than a hot shag has her so riled up that she pounces on him and gets him to shag her. Predictably, he insults her the next morning. Diana is a surgeon, so there goes the stereotype that all surgeons are supposed to be smart. Doesn’t her house have a shower head or something that she can use if she’s that randy?
All Diana wants is to go to Africa and do her surgeon thing there, but before she can become the new Albert Schweitzer, she discovers that she is pregnant. Her clinic calls up Coburn when she doesn’t pick up her call, and that’s how Coburn learns that she is pregnant. He is furious that she’s running off without telling him about the baby. I mean, he insults her in front of his friends, parades the fact that he’s seeing other women (which, contrary to Diana’s assertions, makes him technically an adulterer as the divorce papers haven’t been signed yet), and says some really cutting things to her after they had sex – what gives her the idea that he doesn’t want to know about the baby?
He drags her off to a “tropical paradise”, where they yell, she points out what a dumbass he is, he points out what a frigid and hateful hag she is because she dares to want to have a career instead of tending to him 24/7, some of the blame is distributed to their parents, and then he says some final mean things before they make up, the end.
I don’t know. I mean, the author has the heroine point out all the problems these two have, and Diana is pretty astute about that. But this story relies heavily on familiar, played-out tropes that end up setting back the story. Yes, using the pregnancy thing is an age-old plot device to force the couple back together, but in the case, it could have been done without. Diana and Coburn have some serious issues to work out, and instead, the author has the whole relationship play out in a predictable yet superficial manner.
Let me put it this way: sure, he apologizes prettily by the end, but given how easily he says hateful things to her – in front of other people, mind you – and how little he respects her in this story, would an apology suffice to make me believe that these two would have a happily ever after the second time around? I don’t buy that. He becomes mean and nasty too quickly, too easily, without much prompting. In this one, the clichéd plot developments take up precious space that could have been devoted to make these two work out their issues some more, and this book could use another hundred or so pages to have these two figure things out better. In its current form, the happy ending here is not believable.