He always does the right thing
There’s one exception to Karl Milek’s rule—the Vegas weekend that leaves him with a night to remember, and a beautiful new wife he’d rather forget. Those divorce papers are put on hold, however, when Vivian shows up on his doorstep pregnant.
Karl offers her shelter and everything else she needs until their baby is born. Yet soon he realizes that he could definitely get used to seeing Vivian in the mornings, sharing dinner with her at night…and inhaling her jasmine scent. But he doesn’t think he can risk giving his wife the one thing she wants most—his love.
This was exactly what he wanted to avoid!
When Karl walked through the doorway to his apartment at eleven o’clock on Friday, he found Vivian sitting on a dining chair in the entryway, reading What To Expect When You’re Expecting. He should have known it had been too much to hope that he could dodge her for eight months.
“Good evening, Karl.” She rested the book on her lap and looked up at him. “Have you been avoiding me?”
It sounded cowardly when she put it like that. He stared at the curve of her bottom lip over her pointed chin. soft over sharp, and he had to stop himself from running his thumb over the bow. He didn’t have to be drunk to be susceptible to the arcs of her face, but he needed to remember that she was only temporary. The baby was permanent, but Vivian was fleeting.
“I work a lot.” It came out like a defense.
“Well, you’re home now and I’m still up, so we can finally talk.”
Jo Beverley has a post on the blog Word Wenches where she talks about the marriage-of-convenience trope, calling it “vows before love.” This trope appeals to Beverley because the vulnerability of the heroine required for the story shows her strengths to the fullest effect. (Beverley compares this to a thriller where the hero starts out trapped.) To me, this is Vivian in a nutshell. When the book opens, there is little more in her life she can lose, and we see her battle her fears, weakness and, occasionally, her husband to become a fuller, stronger person.
Karl has a different journey to take. If you’ve read the other two books in the Milek series (Reservations for Two, February 2013, and The First Move, April 2013), then you know Karl is a bit uptight and a serial dater. Finding the perfect match for him was hard; my laptop is full of first chapters where Karl meets a heroine who is great—but not for him. It took me several tries before I realized Karl needs someone to challenge his preconceived notions about himself and the world, without shaking him loose from his core. Love stories work best when we have to push ourselves to be worthy of our beloved.
If you’re interested in Vivian’s background and family in the novel, I recommend Iris Chang’s The Chinese in America: A Narrative History.
A Promise for the Baby
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennifer Lohmann is a Rocky Mountain girl at heart, having grown up in southern Idaho and Salt Lake City. After graduating with a degree in economics from the University of Chicago, she moved to Shanghai to teach English. Back in the United States, she earned a master’s in library science and now works as a public librarian. She was the Romance Writers of America librarian of the year in 2010. She lives in the Southeast with a dog, five chickens, four cats and a husband who gamely eats everything she cooks.
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To big brothers everywhere, especially mine.