Yuletide Baby Surprise by Catherine Mann

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In this Billionaires & Babies novel, USA TODAY bestselling author Catherine Mann gives new meaning to the words “Merry Christmas, Baby” 

‘Tis the season to be jolly? It isn’t for Dr. Rowan Boothe when a princess on the run from the photo-hungry press invades his hotel room. He and Mariama Mandara had their professional clashes in the past, and Rowan has no desire to become involved in her latest predicament—until they discover an abandoned baby. Now he needs Mari’s help and soon discovers she’s no pampered royal but a desirable woman. Yet how long can their Christmas escape really last?

In the fourth installment of the Alpha Brotherhood we meet Dr. Rowan Boothe and princess/scientist Mariama Mandara. They are at an African hotel for a medical convention and Mari pretends to be room service in order to escape the paparazzi and hides in Rowan’s room. Both are surprised to find an infant under the food cart with instructions asking Rowan to care for the little girl. While trying to find the baby’s relatives Mari and Rowan care for her, and give in to the passion that has been building between them for years.

I have ready many of Cathy’s books, and I consider her a friend of mine, but this one fell short for me. The love scenes was steamy and fantastic(my favorite part of the book), but I did not feel the chemistry between Rowan and Mari outside of the bedroom, which made the chemistry between the sheets a little weird. The banter and arguing between them did not come across as playful, as I’m sure it was intended.

I also did not feel like the abandoned baby was enough of a motivation for them to stay together for the week(which is essentially the time line of the book). There was no big secret about the baby or her mother so I was a little disappointed in that aspect. Both Rowan and Mari had heartwarming scenes with baby Issa, but I wish the scenes with one another had been so great. There was a mistake of wardrobe changing within one scene that pulled me out of the scene because I had to double check to see if I had missed a scene change. I was also a little confused as to why her parents showed up in the last chapter of the book. I know there was internal conflict with Mari on how she felt shuffled around after her parents divorce  so maybe they were used as a tool to get Mari to “see the light” about her feelings for Rowan, but I didn’t think it fit well. I think she could have figured it out on her own with some self reflection.

Rowan was a solid character and  I liked him a lot, as well as his descriptions, I had a real sense of who he was, but with Mari I wasn’t sure. I knew she was a princess, who tried to overcome her high profile broken home, and was a disheveled bookworm but that was all I got from her. I didn’t have a clear vision of her in my mind, appearance wise, which was disappointing because Mann is usually excellent at description and making sure the reader has a clear idea of what the characters look like.

Mann is a solid writer, which proven by her being a USA bestseller, but I felt like this book was rushed and lacked meat. I will continue to read Cathy’s books because she really is one of my favorite authors, but Yuletide Baby Surprise fell a little short for me.

Rating: Liked it but I wouldn’t be hunting down the friend who borrowed it if they didn’t return it right away.

To check out Cathy’s upcoming releases pop over to her website: http://www.catherinemann.com

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