by Linda Conrad

June 2002
ISBN: 0-373-76446-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Silhouette #1446
Mass Market Paperback

So do you like the following story themes: Secret babies, F.B.I. agents, amnesia, cowboys, Texas, reunions? Good, because you won’t be disappointed. All that and more is being delivered in Linda Conrad’s debut Silhouette Desire release, The Cowboy’s Baby Surprise.

Carly Mills, an F.B.I. agent, child psychologist and mother of a baby daughter, is being sent to a Texas ranch/orphanage to investigate child trafficking on the Mexican border. But there is another reason she is leaving for the ranch, that of the reappearance of her former partner, lover and father of her child, Witt Davidson. Witt has no recollection of his person or his life before he woke up with severe injuries over a year ago. Now working on a Texas ranch as a cowboy, he stays clear of any emotional involvements. But the arrival of Carly and her little baby daughter touch him deeply and bring a return of much dreaded nightmares. It’s endearing to see how Witt not only falls in love with his former lover but also with their child. There is a real tender side to his character, very often far more tender and loving than the heroine’s. Violent urges barely hold back, and a lot of swearing make Carly no sweet and dainty southern belle; a fact that I really liked about her. She comes across as one tough and very capable woman. Interesting to read then that Witt sees her as tender and loving. She definitely is that, but never without her strength and no-frills attitude. Which is perfect, as Witt, in his memory loss is vulnerable and an easy target for his enemies. So it falls to Carly to protect him and to draw out the long lost memories of their passion.

It’s a well-told story and held me captivated till the very end. Never once bored, with some mystery, suspense and a very emotional inner conflict plot twist tossed in; I had no problems enjoying Carly and Witt’s story. My main problem was with the one love scene. The chosen descriptive words didn’t help my own imagination. Leaving me, instead of hot and turned on, in small fits of giggles - kind of disappointing as Ms. Conrad’s sexual tension build-up is sizzling. No. Burning! And then there were a couple moments where I found the prose slipping into too predictable a rhythm, but those moments were rare and never truly disrupted the flow. Proving her voice to be unique, but not yet controlled and constant. Several clichés were also used, but luckily enough they were well-handled and beautifully interwoven with the rest of the story. The same goes for how Ms. Conrad managed to use known and well-loved story elements only to make them her own; showing talent and a fresh and intriguing approach to old and tried romance themes. Well done!

So, after all that I have to say about the book and its author, one thing is for sure; here is a very talented writer that should have no problems finding an appreciative readership for her books. I’m definitely curious enough of her upcoming book. Her August release Desperado Dad about a marriage of convenience involving one sexy F.B.I. agent, a ranch owner and a baby!

Reviewed in May 2002 by Kris Alice.

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