The Daddy Issue by Melissa Beck
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Length: Full (280 pages)
Rating: 3 Books
Reviewed by Mimosa
The last souvenir small-town girl Gretchen expected from her Chicago vacation was getting pregnant from one night of delight. The sexy, successful CEO she hooked up with told her he wasn't interested in a family, so she never revealed what had happened.
Five years later, Daniel is at the top of his game in both business and womanizing, but he's shaken off his pedestal when a friend hints that he might have a daughter. Daniel heads for the boondocks to uncover the hidden truth—and pick up where he and Gretchen left off. But his fast-paced lifestyle can't compete with Gretchen's idea of a hometown father and husband. When Daniel's career beckons him back to Chicago, he's faced with the decision of his life—go back to his wild bachelor ways or surrender to his sensual desires and stay and build a family.
When Gretchen Parks spends a few weeks in Chicago after being stood up at the altar, she meets and shares a two-week affair with Daniel Nicholson, a handome playboy who owns an advertising agency. A night of bliss with him leaves Gretchen pregnant. But he had told her he wanted no commitments, so she goes back to her small hometown in Ohio without telling him about his child.
Fast-forward five years. A mutual acquaintance shows Daniel a photo of Gretchen's daughter, four-year-old Amy, who bears strong Nicholson features. He has to go to Marydale and see her for himself.
Drawn together by their daughter, Gretchen and Daniel, whose past relationship was short-lived and purely physical, now feel the push and tug of love as they get to know each other. But can it work? Daniel's agency has a make or break deal in the works in Chicago that requires his presence and attention; and Gretchen has her heart to protect. They can't deny the sexual attraction each holds for the other--it lands them in bed together, twice. The barriers are between their hearts and their very different lifestyles.
Ms. Beck has created a strong and likeable hero in Daniel Nicholson, a guy who takes charge and pursues success without the abrasiveness and narcissism sometime seen in powerful male leads. Although admirable in her commitment to motherhood and independence, Gretchen's self-protectiveness in matters of the heart gives her personality a touch of timidity. Amy is adorable. The denizens of Marydale have their share of colorful eccentrics and anyone who has lived in small town America would no doubt recognize them.
Although I prefer writing with a bit more punch, Ms. Beck's laid-back narrative seems appropriate for the story and genre. The tale itself and its components-- multidimensional characters with complex and believable motives set against a colorful but not overwhelming backdrop -- should make a satisfying experience for contemporary romance lovers.