by Kit Tunstall

March 2003
ISBN: 1-59129-966-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Publish America
Trade Paperback

Undercover Mother. That very title had me eager to begin a tale that went in a direction I hadnít planned on. Nonetheless an interesting read, and smooth sailing all the way.

Caris is a young, single mother with an infant who takes ill late one night and asks an unreliable neighbor to take her to the hospital. On the way to the hospital, she realizes too late, that her neighbor has been drinking and shouldnít be driving. A car accident lands them right where they want to be, and there begins a snowball from hell for this young mother and her infant daughter!

When Caris awakens in the hospital with a concussion, she finds that her ex-boyfriend, Brendan, has shown up, throwing his rights as the babyís father around. Caris ran away from Brendan when she realized he wasnít going to stop physically abusing her. With a baby on the way, sheís made a wise choice.

Brendan didnít know his daughter Jess existed, and tries a little blackmail on Caris to make her come back to him. Heís brought in Child Protective Services to seal the deal, but Caris refuses to go back to the hell she left. Brendan, of course, is rich and full of resources legally, and Caris begins an uphill battle that is doomed from the start.

A legal battle develops, that finds Brendan winning sole custody of the daughter he only wants because he wants to hurt Caris.

Caris sinks to the depths of despair when Brendan canít be reached for her supervised visitation. When she finally gets a lead on her baby (with no help from CPS, I might add), Caris goes undercover as a nanny for her daughter... and the man who now has Jess.

Dom is the man who has Jess; he also has a nasty model for a girlfriend, and a mother who lives with him. Caris proves to be just what the doctor ordered for the temperamental baby Jess, and not exactly what Domís girlfriend had in mind when she heard there was a new nanny in town!

Dom and Caris find themselves fighting off an undeniable attraction. Of course the hurdles blocking them from being together arenít insurmountable, and I just couldnít see the big deal in telling Dom the truth. The model/girlfriend is typically vapid and vain; and hates that Dom is so taken with Jess. Domís mother is the matchmaker, and her attempts at getting the two together were sweet, but predictable.

Caris is rather waif like, no money, no clothes, completely dependant upon Domís help. Sheís very young, and this reader felt it showed in much of her dialogue; she's also a victim of circumstances that continually made her look a bit downtrodden.

Still, a sweet story and fine writing skills made up for some of the predictability. A sad and lonely woman, a wicked witch and a handsome Prince, make for a gentle stroll down fairy tale lane with Undercover Mother.

Reviewed in February 2003 by Connie.

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