Months ago, Noah Coltrane and Martina Logan had a steamy fling, while they were in Chicago. Once they’d exchanged names–which came after he’d charmed her thoroughly–they both realized how regrettable their affair was: their families have been enemies for a long time. So they agree: when we leave here, it’s over. Enjoy it for what it is, then go home. But there are problems with that plan, you see…
Noah is used to charging in and bossing folks around, and when he rides his horse into the middle of a wedding reception at the Logan place, looking for Martina, it causes a bit of a stir. She hides, but she has more to hide–she’s pregnant, with Noah’s baby!
I’ll say it right up front that I really enjoyed Expecting His Child. It’s a good story, without any truly-unbelievable twists or turns, a simple, straightforward issue for the couple to solve that could happen to just about any of us, and protagonists and supporting cast that you can believe and get into. That said, I struggled for several days trying to describe precisely why I enjoyed this tale so much.
This is not a typical tale for the Silhouette Desire line. For one, the boy-meets-girl-ing here happened months ago, before the opening pages of the story. Indeed, our opening lines are of Noah charging right into the middle of a wedding reception dance floor on a stallion, announcing that he’s there to see Martina. Conventionally for this line, there are several sex scenes, and they’re explicit and affirming without being tawdry. But in an unconventional twist, Banks puts several of the hottest moments in Martina and Noah’s memories–they’re depicted as flashbacks.
This is an interesting plot device. It lets us begin the story with Martina already six months pregnant, and going through the things pregnant women go through, without having to zoom forward from the time of the affair. More-commonly, we see the affair that causes the pregnancy, the conflict over what to do about it, then time is compressed for a bit, until the birth. In this tale, Banks handles that differently, and it’s a very refreshing change, and quite well-done. We get to see very early on the struggle between Noah and Martina as he discovers she is pregnant, and yet still have a good sense of the passionate forbidden fling that got them in this pickle.
It also gives us more time to spend dealing with how our couple deals with the matter, and also how they deal with their families. The supporting cast of brothers and sisters-in-law are very well put together, and their responses to the situation as it unfolds are reasonable, given the backstory that we know.
It’s also unusual, from my experience, to see the Our Families Won’t Like This trope be so central to the plot, but it really is the strongest driver of conflict in this story. Fairly early-on, Noah and Martina sort out the issue of her pregnancy, and reach a fundamental agreement and start to fall for each other again, but it’s what their families will think that continues to push them apart. The final confrontation, then, is not between our protagonists, but between Noah and Martina’s two overprotective brothers.
If you want a down-to-earth story, with real people solving a real problem, and doing it beautifully, you’ll love this one. I did.