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Monday, January 17, 2011

Sweet Surrender, Baby Surprise by Kate Carlisle

Sweet Surrender, Baby Surprise by Kate Carlisle
Publisher: Harlequin Silhouette
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (199 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: Five Books
Review by: Xeranthemum

Marriage and kids? Not for confirmed bachelor Cameron Duke. Then an affair with Julia Parrish changed everything. Once he discovered the pretty cupcake maker had borne him a son, Cameron's priorities did a complete turnaround. He would marry and give his child the Duke name. But he'd be keeping his heart.

A marriage of convenience? That wouldn't have been Julia's first choice. Yes, she had always craved Cameron, and becoming his wife could be sweet indeed. But once she said "I do," this new bride and mother realized she wanted more from her husband. She wanted love.

Sweet Surrender, Baby Surprise is pure romance with wonderful heart that left this reader feeling very happy and satisfied.

I had such a fun time reading this story and there were so many moments that truly thrilled me because the writing and characters were so well done.

Cameron Duke is ex-military who prides himself on his self control and his mastery of everything and any endeavor he tasks himself. He is a man who, through the love of his adoptive mother, became the man he is from the broken little boy he was. His early emotional trauma however tends to color and twist certain events in his adult life and when he finally meets the woman who could truly heal him, he resists. I absolutely adored this man who deluded himself into rationalizing away his whole relationship with Julia, the heroine. He is scared and has trained himself not to do anything that would jinx his perfect plan which of course is why reading about his decent into love’s arms is so delicious and special.

Julia is quite the forgiving woman. At one point I thought perhaps she was being written as a weak love-sick doormat. Instead, she’s a woman who doesn’t hide from her true feelings. She may fight them a bit but she’s a realist yet optimistic and hopeful. She actually is a strong woman who knows her mind yet that strength is compromised by elements of self-doubt from her own childhood. She too has to lay to rest certain emotional traumas that happened since the loss of her parents. She has a loving and giving nature and nothing makes that more apparent than when she interacts with her son, Jake, and Cameron’s mother, Sally.

Seeing these two injured soul-mates dance around each other - wanting and resisting, pursuing and retreating made for an entertaining and endearing read.

The best writing in this tale revolves around Julia and Cameron’s son, Jake, and Cameron himself. There were many moments of beauty mothers and favorite aunts could appreciate because they’ve lived through it. At no time was the child a prop but an integral character to the plot as a whole. Little Jake was the catalyst that brought these two lost hearts together and it truly is a heartwarming story. In fact, the “awww” moments are the kind readers would share with each other because they are adorable. I know I would but it’s so hard to do it without spoilers.

Throughout the book, Cameron and Julia seduce each other with glances, touches, words and tender actions. When they spontaneously combust in each other’s arms, it makes for delightful and spicy reading that appealed to my internal romantic. Ms. Carlisle didn’t miss a trick in reaching into my innermost emotions and bringing them to life in the relationship between Cameron and Julia in a setting rich with family camaraderie, exotic settings and yummy hot cocoa and frostings.

Sweet Surrender, Baby Surprise simply delighted me with its personable characters, sweet romance and spicy seduction. There is humor, hope and a family anyone would be happy to be a part of. I know this review doesn’t do justice to the wonderful characters that Ms. Carlisle created and I wish I could share with you the parts that made me giggle and sigh but I want readers to get the full impact. Not knowing what delights await is part of what made me enjoy this book. I never knew what Cameron was going to do, how he was going to mess up on his path to stay true to his plan. And I always wondered what Julia was going to do to get him to realize that he is what he’s denied. This book pushed all my happy buttons and I thank Ms. Carlisle for a wonderful reading experience.

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