Trying to drown out the pain of losing his father, Gil Watson had a wild weekend with a business associate three years ago, that resulted in a daughter he never knew about until now. The little girl's mother was killed in a car accident, but he soon discovers that it was really the woman's roommate, Anabel Truman, who has been playing mommy to his daughter, Nicole, since the day she was born. Anabel has been attracted to Gil since she met him when he came to visit her roommate. Now Nicole's maternal grandparents want to take the little girl away from Anabel, so she proposes a marriage of convenience to Gil, which she hope will keep both her and Nicole in his life. Gil has been attracted to Anabel, too, but he's not sure that's enough to base a marriage upon. Not to mention, he's never thought of the tattooed, pierced young woman as mother material. Can they agree upon an arrangement that is beneficial to them both before Nicole's grandparents come to take her away?
Bringing up Baby is the second novella in Lori Foster's series about the three Watson brothers. This one is middle brother Gil's story. In the previous novella he'd just gotten the shock of his life when he found out that he was the father of a two-year-old little girl he hadn't known existed. The girl's mother, a woman with whom he'd shared a business relationship and one weekend of steamy passion, has passed away in a car accident. But as it turns out, she hadn't been much of a mother anyway. It's her roommate, Anabel, who has been raising Nicole and whom she calls mommy. Gil has known Anabel for three years, from the times he visited Nicole's biological mother on business. Although Gil was sexually attracted to Anabel, he always thought of her as little more than a tattooed, pierced free-spirit and not really mother material. But when Anabel shows up on his doorstep with his toddler daughter in tow, proposing a marriage of convenience to prevent Nicole's grandparents from taking her away, Gil is forced to take a closer look at her and figure out if they could be something more.
Gil is a great guy. From the moment he finds out he has a child, he's more than ready to take responsibility and become a father to her in every way. Even though he knows nothing about kids, he proves to be a natural and is wonderful with Nicole. I liked that he recognized Anabel's place in Nicole's life and that no matter what happened between the two of them, he couldn't separate mom and daughter even though they aren't biologically related. Also, once he realizes Anabel is the woman for him, he tries to prove it to her by taking care of her, too. The only thing about Gil that left me wanting is that it's implied that he's a wild lover with perhaps unusual tastes in the bedroom, but although the love scenes are hot, nothing particularly out of the ordinary occurs. If anything, I thought the first novella of the series was slightly spicier.
Anabel is a real stand-up heroine to have raised her friend's child as her own. I admired that she wanted to tell Gil from the start that he was Nicole's father, but it was the child's biological mother who kept her from doing so. It's obvious that she loves the little girl very much and is a mother to her in every way that counts. She's been attracted to Gil for a very long time and was more than ready to give him anything he wanted in the bedroom. I especially liked that she felt that she could trust him to do the right thing. She may not have stood out to me in quite the same way that other romance heroines have, but I liked Anabel and there was nothing she did that bothered me in any way.
Because this is a short novella, there isn't a lot of time to develop the romantic relationship. It helped some that both Gil and Anabel had known and been attracted to each other for a while, but it seemed that despite the attraction, they weren't really what I would even call friends. If anything Gil had reservations about Anabel's suitability as a mother. Granted he gets over it as he watches her with Nicole and realizes that he's been unfair in his judgment, but because of his initial questioning of her, things seemed to move very quickly in the romance department. They hop into bed on night one for a "trial run," and although the sex is great and I could feel a connection there, the leap to him being ready to marry was just a little too fast to suit me. Otherwise, though, I enjoyed Bringing up Baby and thought it was a cute story. Nicole is absolutely adorable and behaved exactly like a two-year-old should so that was a plus. I look forward to completing the series and seeing what's in store for youngest brother, Pete. Bringing up Baby was originally published in the multi-author anthology, Bad Boys to Go, and was later reprinted in the single author anthology, The Watson Brothers, along with it's two companion novellas.
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