Sunday, July 18, 2021

Secret Child by Ann Major


Whaaaaaaat the actual fuck. Okay, so I'm about to have a friend over for socially distanced coffee so I have about fifteen minutes to pound this review out. I got this Ann Major book in a box of books that someone gave me as a gift knowing how much I love old romances. The summary on the back sounded intriguing. It sounded like one of those romances where the couple is already married and the husband thinks (mistakenly) that his wife wronged him, so it's kind of a second chance and kind of a revenge story, and I'm all over that trope like white on rice, so after my scream of YAAAASS, I immediately picked up this book and settled down to read only to find out that IT WAS NOT THAT.

This story is... OKAY. I need to tell you some SPOILERS because otherwise I don't think you'll believe me. Jack is half-Mexican and half-White. His mom was a whore and his dad is a wealthy rancher named... omg, Shanghai. So Jack is adopted by-- I think his grandmother?? Another rancher who knew his dad? I forgot. And lives side by side with this girl named Chantal who is the daughter of the woman who adopted him. The girl is as beautiful as she is heartless and into the kinky sex, so obviously he ends up marrying her, only to have her cheat on him nonstop and then frame him for murder, before skiving off to abandon him in jail and their daughter with the grandmother.

SO. The heroine is a woman who lost her husband and her son. She's an elementary school teacher and very depressed. One day she gets distracted on the street and hit by a car. Her face is destroyed and in the hospital she is basically kidnapped by this insane plastic surgeon named Webster who wants to make her beautiful. He's obsessed with her beautiful mom (who was a singer) and also with this fashion model named Mischief Jones, who, it turns out, is Jack's ex-wife, Chantal. She created a new identity for herself when she escaped him and the doctor is just another man who got caught in her web.

The story gets even more insane when Jack is trying to track his wife down and encounters the heroine, whose name is BRONTE, instead. Obviously he doesn't believe her when she says she's not his wife. Obviously nobody else does either. All of Chantal's old conquests try to hit on her. She ends up tracking Chantal down to her penthouse apartment where there's a sex party in full swing. Somebody tries to murder her by strangling her and oh, yes, the killer has a penchant for necrophilia. Bronte almost dies again and this time she "admits" that she is Jack's wife so he'll take her back to his ranch and to, she thinks, safety. Only, she's not really safe is she, not with murderers gallivanting around?

At first I was thinking this was getting four stars for sheer WTFery. I liked Jack's brand of down and dirty alpha hero who is super rough around the edges, but he was just a little too mean (kind of like an old skool Sandra Brown heroine, if you get me). Bronte was also a total wet blanket and I found myself rolling her eyes at her so called "kindness" which basically consisted of an endless array of teary looks. This was a fun read but I don't think it will be a keeper after all. I did end up buying two more of the author's books after reading this one and her other book, THE HOT LADIES' MURDER CLUB, though, so that must account for something, right?

I think my friend's here so I'm dashing this off with an O-to-the-T-to-the-T. Read at your own risk.

3 out of 5 stars

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