A Daring Proposition

A Daring PropositionBy Jennifer Greene

Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: December 7, 2010
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Netgalley

Leigh Sexton is desperate to have a baby, and Brian Hathaway would be the perfect bio-dad. One of Chicago’s most notorious playboys, Brian is no family man, which suits Leigh just fine. An heiress and successful CPA, she is more than capable of raising a child alone. Now all she has to do is work up the nerve to ask Brian to impregnate her…artificially. Leigh has no interest in conceiving the old-fashioned way, despite how her heart races whenever she’s near him.

Brian is intrigued by Leigh’s request. He’s not into commitment, even with a woman as attractive as Leigh, but he’s also not the type to make a deposit and then disappear. If he goes along with her scheme, he’s got one demand of his own: marriage before conception. He agrees to keep things clinical—he can get sex elsewhere—but having a wife at home will keep the husband-hunters at bay.

It seems like the ideal compromise—until they start falling in love.

Goodreads Summary

This was previously published under Greene’s other pen name, Jeanne Grant.

Nunnish, plain Leigh has just finished up a huge accounting project for Brian’s firm and approaches him at a company party afterwards.  The handsome playboy had been the subject of a gushing write-up in a social column listing him as a perfect genetic specimen and she wants to pay him $10,000 to be the father of her baby.  She has no interest in having sex with him or having any contact with him after the baby’s born, but before she can explain what she really wants, he starts taking apart her bland exterior, revealing a very attractive woman under some ugly clothes.  When she gets around to shoving him off of her and telling him why she approached him, he tells her he would want to be involved with the baby and he’ll have to think about it.

He finally decides and the two set out their terms: they’ll marry before they start the in-vitro process, Leigh won’t be required to have sex with Brian, he’ll be free to keep seeing his mistresses discreetly, she’ll handle the public hostess/wifely duties that do along with his professional life and they’ll live at her estate.  Neither turns out to be what the other expected though and romance blooms between the two, definitely against Leigh’s plans.

Leigh’s a more than competent, intelligent and professional CPA, yet she felt perfectly fine propositioning her boss that she barely knew for his sperm at an office function?  Brian’s an equally professional, apparently quite brilliant architect and playboy reputation aside, was perfectly willing to have sex with his CPA that he barely knew in an office while a party was going on?  Leigh had serious reasons to be afraid of a physical relationship with Brian, but he decided his Magic Penis would make it all better and pretty much told her to breathe her way through it while he Worked His Mojo.  There’s a reason why it wasn’t as icky as it sounds on paper, but that’s for later.

Some of the little ‘80s throwbacks were funny: there was a velour shirt Brian wore when he came to tell Leigh that he’d decided to marry her.  The condo Brian and Leigh stayed at in Florida while he was working there had a bedroom with a round bed and mirrored ceilings and a guy he worked with and his wife seemed to be swingers.  From some things Ms. Greene said in the article Jane wrote for Dear Author, it sounds like she edited most of those things out, so I don’t know if or why they were deliberately left in.  Maybe it was for charm or for the story’s sake.

Both Brian and Leigh were easy to like.  Because of her family past, Leigh had horribly low self-esteem and honestly never expected a single thing from Brian beyond his swimmers.  She was fiercely protective of the people in her life that she loved and she wanted this baby so badly she was willing to come out of her self-imposed shell to ask for Brian’s help.  When she started accepting that she was liked and needed for who she was, she was able to open up to Brian and tell him about her past.  Then the Magic Penis worked its Mojo.  It wasn’t as offensive as it could have been because she knew she was going to have trouble working past her issues and she trusted him even though she expected to want him to stop.

Brian was what I like to call a Harlequin Playboy.  He wasn’t really as much of a male tramp as people thought and as soon as the ring slid on his finger, he never touched another woman even if it looked like he did.  He wanted to be a good, loving parent as much as Leigh did, but he wasn’t going to settle for a platonic relationship with her to go along with it.  At times he came off as a little bit arrogant and he tended to tell Leigh what to do a lot, but that’s one of those anachronisms I think.  That stuff wouldn’t have been out of place in a 1980’s-ish book.  If I remember right, it would have been swooned over.

My Summary: While the subject matter of this book is a little dated and there are a few things in it that might make a contemporary reader cringe a little, underneath it all is a nice little story about a couple falling in love and starting a family, just in reverse order.  This is one of Greene’s nicer re-issues so far and I recommend it.

My Rating: B

Barbara

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