Genius physics professor Dr. Jane Darlington desperately wants a baby. But finding a father won't be easy. Jne's super-intelligence made her feel like a freak when she was growing up, and she's determined to spare her own child that suffering. Which means she must find someone very special to father her child. Someone very...well...stupid.
Cal Bonner, the Chicago Stars legendary quarterback, seems like the perfect choice. But his champion good looks and down-home ways are deceiving. Dr. Jane learns too late that this good ol' boy is a lot smarter than he lets on - and he's not about to be used and abandoned by a brainy, baby-mad schemer.
A brillian, lonely woman who dreams only of motherhood... A take-no-prisoners tough guy who'll settle for nothing less than surrender... Can passion and physical attraction propel two strong-willed yet vulnerable people to a totally unexpected love?
I had my reservations about this book for a few reasons: first, I hate the idea of a woman tricking a man into getting her pregnant. HATE it. It's one of the lowest things a woman can do, in my not-so-humble opinion. The other is that a friend of mine, Shannon, hated this book because it seemed the hero hated the heroine until the end, and that worried me greatly.
However, it might surprise some to hear this, I think it's my favorite of the 3 Chicago Stars books I've read so far. I know, that shocked me too. I was all prepared to not like it, but somehow, I liked it quite a bit.
Intelligent and lonely Dr. Jane wants a baby so badly that she can't think of anything else. Growing up without a mother and with a cold, unemotional father, she knows she doesn't want her child to suffer as she did, so she figures the only man good enough for the job is one without brains, but since most of the men she knows are smart, she has no idea how to go about finding just the right guy. But Fate decides to give her a helping hand and lands her in the path of football player Cal Bonner, who from the minute he opens his mouth doesn't come across to her as having any intelligence whatsoever. Pretending to be a football groupie, Jane gets her man. And gets pregnant.
Cal is not the young guy he once was, but as long as he plays the game and surrounds himself with young bimbos, he can convince himself otherwise. When an aggressive and bossy groupie pounces on him and runs, he can't figure out why he can't stop thinking about her. After all, she's not the twenty-two year old babe that he prefers. When he finds out she's pregnant, he goes ballistic. Before he knows it, his life is turned upside-down by a Professor who has to be at least, what, twenty-eight? He is so not happy about the way things are going...
Despite Jane's scheme to get pregnant without the father knowing, I found myself liking her a lot. She just had so much love to give, and with no husband prospects in sight, she had the means to support herself and her child without a man. She never means for Cal to find out, and when he does, she feels awful. But not as badly as she's going to feel when he's done with her.
Cal is in denial about the longevity of his football career. Thirty-six and feeling the pain, he's not ready to give up the life he's known for so long, and as long as he keeps playing and dates only young women, how can anyone think he's old? He's not going to throw in the towel just yet, especially with a hot-shot newbie named Kevin Tucker breathing down his neck.
When he finds out that his groupie is pregnant, Cal is livid. He's not about to turn away from his child, planned or not, and forces Ms. Smarty Pants to marry him. I couldn't blame him for being so angry, though he did hold onto his anger longer than was absolutely necessary. Once he got to know Jane, he could see what type of woman she was, and it wasn't a gold-digging opportunist or a cold-hearted bitch. But Cal refuses to listen to what his heart is telling him, and tries to do things his own way. Only he doesn't realize that not only is he hurting the best woman he's ever known, he's hurting himself by denying the happiness he could have with Jane.
I loved that Jane was so smart and that she actually stood up to Cal, and that he challenged her and kept her on her toes while also making her weak in the knees. I loved that Cal wasn't the stereotypical dumb jock but one with a legitimate college degree. He's just afraid to face a life without football because he has no clue what he'll do when his career ends, so he holds on tightly to a dying dream.
I also loved that Jane didn't need to go through a makeover for Cal to notice her. It may not have been her looks that first attracted his attention, it was her brain, and the fact that she didn't back down from him like his previous girlfriends did. Once he found a woman who could match him, he saw past her Professor clothes to the lovely woman she was on the inside, and fell completely in love with her. Only as smart as he was, he's still a guy and it took him awhile to figure it out.
I liked the secondary storyline with Cal's parents, and how after several decades together, they both had a lot to learn about each other. It was a lesson that was a long time in coming, and it took a tragedy to bring it out into the open. I loved Cal's grandmother Annie, who may have been a mountain woman but who was as wise as she was cantankerous, and who had a very big heart.
Despite Jane's lies, and even Cal's ferocious temper, I enjoyed this book very much, and felt they both suffered and made amends for the pain they both caused. I don't think Jane really realized that her plan to have a baby without telling the father was wrong. She truly didn't think of Cal as "her baby's father", but more of a solution to her problem. Once she was aware of Cal's feelings about taking responsibility and not abandoning his child, she did know how wrong she was, and so she agreed to the terms Cal demanded.
I'll repeat that I did feel like Cal's anger was too extreme in the beginning. He seriously intended to destroy the career she held dear, maybe because he felt she was destroying his. However after a time, Cal let go of his anger. It took him awhile longer to let go of his stubborn pride and to admit that she was the best thing that had ever happened to him. He realizes he's going to have to prove to her, his Professor, that he loves her. He's going to have to show her that she is worthy of love, and that he's just the man to make her happy for the rest of her days. He's going to face forever with a woman close to his age who's having his baby, and nothing pleased him more. And eventually, he figures out what he is going to do with the rest of his life, and things were just about as perfect as they could get...
Rating: ****1/2 out of *****