by Daphne Clair

February 2003
ISBN: 0-373-12305-1
Reviewer Graphic Button Harlequin
Mass Market Paperback

The Riccioni Pregnancy starts when Roxane returns to her house, at night, and feels as if someone is stalking her. Terrified, she dashes to her porch and fumbles for her keys. A man’s hand grabs her around the waist, and she nearly faints with fear. She tries to fight off the intruder, and then a voice whispers in her ear. “Darling, don’t.”

Darling? It’s her husband Zito! The man she ran away from! And he’s found her somehow!

Mauricio Riccioni was Roxane’s husband. She felt she was too young when she married him and always felt smothered. Deciding to take her future in her own hands, she ran away, leaving him a note on the table. Zito was destroyed and tried in vain to find her. But she’d begged her family and friends never to tell, and so it was by accident that Zito finds her one night and follows her home. He has no idea why she left him, was it another man? What was the problem? He can’t understand that Roxane felt overwhelmed by his very presence. Even though the sex between them sizzles and Roxane still feels something for him, she wants to be free.

Then Roxane sprains her ankle and Zito takes over again, taking her to the hospital, cooking and cleaning for her. He even tells her boss she’s injured and can’t work. She feels once again totally submerged by him and grows furious. Why can’t he just leave her alone? And then, for some reason, they make love. Zito leaves, and Roxane finds herself pregnant. She tells her mother, who begs her to tell Zito. So Roxane does, and of course, Zito insists on being part of her life. He never hides the fact he loves Roxane and wants to be with her.

I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, the writing was very good. Daphne Clair is an excellent author and her characters come alive. On the other hand, her plot is so flimsy it’s like tissue paper. I never get a real sense of why Roxane left Zito, other than being immature. Roxane is a weak character throughout the book. She can hardly put three words together, and in my opinion, running away from a wonderful husband and leaving just note on the table is pretty rotten. She’s lucky he even comes after her. Zito comes off as being a great alpha male, caring at the same time, and besotted with Roxane. Once or twice, Ms. Clair tries to make him into the overbearing monster Roxane sees in him, but it just doesn’t work. Zito is great; Roxane is a neurotic idiot. If you can deal with that, buy the book. Otherwise, borrow it for the great writing. I’ll try more of Ms. Clair’s books, hoping for a great plot and characters to match her writing.

Reviewed in February 2003 by Jennifer.

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