REVIEW: Playboy Boss, Pregnancy of Passion by Kate Hardy (Senetra's Review)

Playboy Boss, Pregnancy of Passion coverOh, Harlequin title selectors and blurb writers, you are causing people to overlook some good books with your desire to make the plots instantly identifiable to casual browsers. For real.

Luke Holloway is not her boss, he contracts for some work with Sara, the heroine, and he’s not even really a playboy in the strictest sense. Yes, he dates glamorous women, he goes to the “best” parties, and is written up in the newspapers, but so do star high school and college athletes.

He plays in a racquetball league twice a week and kickboxes twice a week, he hangs out with friends, and he lives above the store (he owns the building). Playboy in this sense is shorthand for “Hot guy who gets around” even though Luke totally doesn’t. He doesn’t have time.

He doesn’t even act like a Harlequin Presents playboy, freeing himself for the heroine by indifferently casting off his mistress in the opening chapter. If this were a historical romance, I’d be yelling Fake Rake! I was going to say that I was glad he wasn’t also a tycoon, but the blurb writer struck again.

Luke buys failing sports and leisure-type businesses like spas and gyms, turns them around and then sells them back to the former managers/employees once they become profitable again. His PA is on an emergency maternity leave and didn’t have time to train a temp. Temps-R-Us apparently sold out of competent clerical workers, leaving Luke with no-shows and temps who can neither answer a phone nor file paperwork. I always wonder how places like this stay in business, but it’s Romancelandia, so I willingly suspend my disbelief.

Sara Fleet is an office troubleshooter referred by the wife of Luke’s best friend. She will take over as PA until one can be trained and help set up an easier system so that this problem can’t happen again. Sara is not like most current HP heroines. She’s independent and has friends she sees on a regular basis. She has a supportive family network and runs her own business.

She is a strict 9-5er who turns her phone off at 5. She has also has baggage from previous relationships, but so does everyone. She is a lot closer to reality than a lot of the HP heroines lately, which is refreshing, and I love an over the top Presents, but lately it’s been wild.

Luke and Sara’s first week working together ends with them scouting a hotel for Luke to possibly purchase and renovate. The hotel is undergoing a series of crises that leave Luke and Sara sharing a room, then a bed, then some sex, and then a decision to continue to see each other back in London.

Also during the weekend trip, Luke shares his business background with Sara, starting with his share in a market stall at age 12, and how later, he parlayed the stall into an online store and grew from there. Luke and Sara also wade in the water and do other beachy things as they get to know each other. Once they return to London, they continue to do couple-y things, go out on dates, and get to know one another better.

Sara takes an apprehensive Luke home to meet her family, and this stirs up memories of his own family. He had thought that he was beyond this, and tries to withdraw from Sara. Like the adults they are, he and Sara talk about his behavior and slowly work their way through it, even though he doesn’t tell her the whole truth about his family. A crisis with Sara’s family and their pull-together-and-get-through-it reaction puts a few more cracks in Luke’s shell.

So it’s now page 167 of a 184-page book and that Pregnancy of Passion thing the title and blurb people thought was so important finally shows up. Sara takes a test and on the next page, Luke notices that Sara has the same green look that his PA used to have and asks Sara if she’s pregnant. Cue awkward proposal, a fight, some male bonding advice, and a really sweet grovel. No baby epilogue, though.

Like I said, the title and blurb don’t do justice to this book. Playboy Boss, Pregnancy of Passion is an uncomplicated contemporary romance with interesting characters that could easily get lost in the shuffle of books with generic names. B.

Additional info: Playboy Boss, Pregnancy of Passion #2849 is apart of the Harlequin Presents line and an excerpt of this story is available to read at B&N website for your enjoyment at no risk. This title shows a pub date of August 2009 and this book sounds really, really good so I’m going to go buy and download it, like, right now. Ktxbai.

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About Keishon

Voracious reader of just about everything.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Grade B Reviews, Romance and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to REVIEW: Playboy Boss, Pregnancy of Passion by Kate Hardy (Senetra's Review)

  1. Avid Reader says:

    It’s good to see that there are good stories out there despite the titles that HQN has assigned to them.

  2. SarahT says:

    I have to admit that I avoid the Presents line because of the titles. It’s unfair, I know. I remember reading some great Australian author back in the 90s and they wrote for that line.

    Thanks for the review!

  3. Christina says:

    Thank you for this review. I’m one of those countless people who would never pick up a Presents because of the title/blurb. I’m so gosh darn picky. 🙂

    I’m in the middle of reading my fifth Presents, the third by Kelly Hunter. She’s my favorite.

    I really like the sound of this one. I’ll have to check it out.

  4. Janet W says:

    I need an alternate universe where I can read said books/titles without having the heads of people around me pulling a Linda Blair … I have an idea. Keep those titles — they’re clearly working — and publish a 2nd, secret line, with lovely normal titles — and then compare sales 🙂 I buy those books, usually at UBSs or when I’m on vacation, but — honestly here — I feel disrespected by the fine folks at Harlequin that they continue to use said titles and I feel bad for the authors who have to put up with it. How come the historical titles don’t go through this way back machine?

    Or have the powers that be determined that mucha dineros go along with these type of titles so that’s the way it’s gonna be? It must be helping the e-reader industry. For sure.

  5. senetra says:

    I buy those books, usu­ally at UBSs or when I’m on vaca­tion, but — hon­estly here — I feel dis­re­spected by the fine folks at Har­le­quin that they con­tinue to use said titles and I feel bad for the authors who have to put up with it. How come the his­tor­i­cal titles don’t go through this way back machine? Or have the pow­ers that be deter­mined that mucha dineros go along with these type of titles so that’s the way it’s gonna be? It must be help­ing the e-reader indus­try. For sure.

    Judging by some of the more recent titles, I think the Historicals are starting to go in that direction.

  6. Lisa says:

    Great review. The book sounds like one I’d love, so I ordered it from paperbackswap. I admit that I hesitate to post the book on my public TBR list solely because of the awful title.

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