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Expectant Father    by Melinda Curtis order for
Expectant Father
by Melinda Curtis
Order:  USA  Can
Harlequin, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton

Melinda Curtis's Expectant Father takes the reader into the world of firefighters who work with controlled blazes in the Montana forests of Flathead National Park. Becca Thomas, a 38-year old expert in fire analysis, works with a team that includes the father of her unborn baby. However, no one knows that Spider Aidan Rodas has anything to do with Becca, socially or otherwise. It's Becca's secret, one that she hopes to keep, so that she can have her baby and live her life without the hassle of dealing with a relationship. The story takes place in a short span of a few days, revealing the leads' backgrounds and what makes them tick.

Spider is the type of man who doesn't like to be tied down. When he and Becca had their one-night stand in Vegas, Spider had no idea that her main goal was to get pregnant by a man who wasn't looking for a commitment. As the two work together to tame a fire that is getting out of control, Spider eventually recognizes her - but instead of thinking that the baby is his, he believes that Becca is pregnant with her husband's child, and was cheating on said husband with Spider. While they deal with this awkward situation on the job, Becca confronts other issues, including employees failing to live up to their potential. And Spider has problems of his own, mainly that his father, absent for most of his life, is now working on the same team, a fact that's hard to ignore.

I found the story more complicated than it should have been, getting bogged down in fire fighting terminology, and with too many characters introduced at once. However, once past this initial stage, it takes off from the intriguing premise that Becca sought a sperm donor to father her baby. The older woman/younger man scenario is also rare in romance novels. Spider, an immature thirty to Becca's mature thirty-eight, does a little bit of growing up by the end of the book. I didn't like either character to begin with, finding them aggressive and very unlikable. But as the story progresses, a different side to each is revealed. Expectant Father is for readers looking for a romance that's not all fluff.

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