Typically I like to read Christmas themed books around the holidays. Late November and December are the perfect times to curl up with books set around the holidays. There is something about the holiday spirit that makes holiday books so much more special. Sometimes, however, I have no will-power. When Catherine Mann’s latest showed up well before the holiday season I couldn’t resist diving in. The torrential rains and gloomy skies probably helped encourage my holiday reading mood.
‘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?
Yuletide Baby Surprise is a Billionaires and Baby’s novel, as well as Mann’s Alpha Brotherhood. This is the story of Dr. Rowan Boothe and Princess Mariama Mandara. Because it is a Billionaires and Baby’s book it does not have the mystery subtext found in the previous Alpha Brotherhood novels. The Interpool connection is there, but certainly downplayed. Similar to the other Brotherhood books it does center around an exotic locale, Cape Verde, Africa. To further enhance the exotic location, Mari is a Princess of a Western African country. Unfortunately she’d much rather spend her time in her medical lab than participate in the social outreach typically undertaken by those in her position.
Rowan and Mari have been professional adversaries for years. Both well-respected medical professionals they never quite saw eye-to-eye on the patient care strategies. Rowan invented a computer program to maximize triage in his African clinic and facilitate rapid patient care. Mari, more focused on ensuring a proper diagnosis, frequently expressed her negative opinion of Rowan and his work. She believed that the program took too many short-cuts and focused on the easy answers.
On the run from some over-zealous photographers, Mari inadvertently wheels a room service cart into Rowan’s suite. Upon examination the cart contains an infant with a note abandoning her to Rowan’s care. Capitalizing on the opportunity to get to know Mari better, Rowan convinces her to help him care for the infant while they look for her mother or other family. Caring for the infant shows that neither are exactly as the other thought.
Rowan and Mari were fun to spend time with. Their story moves quickly, but with the set-up of them knowing each other for years it doesn’t seem forced. Their previous professional fireworks lead nicely into their romantic interlude. The added impetus of being temporary parents only brings them together that much faster. As this is a Christmas tale, even the abandoned infant reunites with her family. All-told, this is a wonderful holiday interlude.
As an added bonus, Elliot Starc makes a cameo appearance. He is the member of the Alpha Brotherhood we know the least about. The inclusion of him leads one to believe his story might be next on tap. A Formula One race car driver hero: won’t that be fun? I’m sure I’ll be diving right into that one when it first arrives also.