Baby Bonanza (Maureen Child) – Chapter One

We get right in the middle of things:

“Ow!” Jenna Baker hopped on her right foot and clutched at the bruised toes on her left one. [I imagine that it would be quite difficult to do it differently. Like hopping on your left foot while clutching the bruised toes on the left foot.]

Jenna is in a cabin on a cruise ship. It’s a very small cabin but nevertheless it gets described in detail, mentioning every two sentences that it really is a very small cabin.
But Jenna isn’t there for fun anyway.

[S]he hadn’t come aboard the floating orgy to party. [A floating orgy? Tell me more…] She was here for a reason. A damn good one. [And to party is not a good reason? I’d disagree.]

Between remarks that her cabin is really small, Jenna tells us a little bit of Nick Falco, owner of the ship and reason for the voyage.

She’d known what Nick was like even before she’d met him on that sultry summer night more than a year ago. He was a man devoted to seeing his cruise line become the premier one in the world. He did what he had to do when he had to do it. And he didn’t make apologies for it.

That bastard! Doesn’t even apologise for building small cabins!

Their tragic story follows – Jenna had worked for Nick (who is of course hot, has a strong jaw, blue eyes and black hair, because that’s what tycoons look like. I mean, look at uhm… Bill Gates?), they had an affair, because Nick didn’t know that Jenna was his employee. But when he found out, he just never saw her again and fired her at the first possibility. Without letting her explain, though her explanation would have been: “I wanted to get in your pants and therefore I didn’t tell you I worked for you. Sorry I lied” and how that explanation is going to make anything better, I don’t know. And all that even though when they touched it was MAGIC!

Anyhow, Jenna – remembering the pain after being caught as a liar – asks herself:

“Oh, God. What am I doing here?” She blew out a breath as her stomach began to twist and ripple with the nerves that had been shivering through her for months. [Woman, your biology is seriously disturbed. Seriously.] If there were any other way to do this, she would have. [Why don’t I believe you? Ah, yes, because of the ludicrous premise of the book…] After all, it wasn’t as if she were looking forward to seeing Nick again. [Lies, lies, lies… No wonder he kicked you out. You can’t even be honest with yourself.]

She bumps into something again – you know, because the cabin is so small – and thinks about how he refused any communication with her after that week. She couldn’t see him in person, he didn’t answer her calls and probably didn’t even read her mails. [No, she doesn’t stalk him, they just have this really unique connection and he should just take notice of it!]

So, just let me get this straight: You had an affair with a guy for one week, which didn’t end too well (because you lied). Over the following months, you didn’t cease to try to meet him, call him and e-mail him (because – I’m assuming here on the basis of the description – you were pregnant and you wanted him acknowledging the children). He didn’t even take the time to tell you to fuck off, so you buy a ticket to one of his cruise ships in the hopes that he’s on it (because I’m sure that all cruise line tycoons constantly travel on all their ships) , leaving your kids somewhere (I don’t know where, but I do hope it’s someone trustworthy), just so that you can let him know that he’s a father. And what then? Do you think he will fall to his knees in happiness that the woman who has been stalking him for months was the mother of his children? Or do you just want his money (then why didn’t you sue? What the hell do you expect?

Plus, if I had an affair with a guy who was then unavailable for the smallest piece of communication, I wouldn’t want him to be involved with my children. Seriously, if he can’t stand to answer one of my mails, fuck him. We live in an age where you can bring children up by yourself (even though I will admit that it surely easier if there’s two of you). So why go to such lengths to inform such an asshole?

Anyhoo, let’s get on with the story.

Jenna thinks back to some of the great sex she’s had with Nick and is surprised at being aroused at the memories… [I mean, come on! You’re picturing steaming hot sex and are suprised that it gets you excited?] Then she gets a grip on herself and steps outside her cabin (which, in case you forgot, is very small).

Outside she meets a waiter and her across the hall neighbours, Mary and Joe Curran, who are all afraid that belowdecks is haunted. [I wonder whether that is foreshadowing and this turns into a ghost story…] Finally, Jenna makes her way up, with a blue envelope in her hand, addressed to Nick.

In the meantime Nick is talking to his assisstant Teresa Hogan about the various problems and complaints the ship has to deal with.

Teresa was in her late fifties, had short, dark hair, sharp green eyes and the organizational skills of a field general. She took crap from no one, Nick included, and had the loyalty and tenacity of a hungry pit bull. She’d been with him for eight years-ever since her husband had died and she’d come looking for a job that would give her adventure. [Oh yeah! Another stereotype!]

We get a lot of blah-dee-blah about the cook complaining that the stove is not hot enough, Nick thinking about how beautiful his office is (it’s all glass so he can see the sea and feel free!) and Nick thinking about the ship – Falcon’s Pride (it’s her maiden voyage! he’s so successful! the competition can kiss his ass!). Then his thoughts turn to Jenna and how she got under his skin before he discovered her lies and now, of course, he’s super-weary.

Then Teresa is done and hands Nick a blue envelope with a remark about how many women send Nick invitations.

Nick knew she was just giving him a hard time-like always-yet this time her words dug at him. Shifting uncomfortably in his chair, he thought about it, tried to figure out why. He was no monk, God knew. And over the years he’d accepted a lot of invitations from women who didn’t expect anything more than a good time and impersonal sex.
But damned if he could bring himself to get interested
in the latest flurry of one-night-stand invitations, either. The cards and letters had been sitting on his desk since early this morning and he hadn’t bothered to open one yet. He knew what he’d find when he started going through them.
Panties. Cabin keys. Sexy photos designed to tempt.
And not a damned one of them would mean anything
to him.
[Is anybody else reminded of Johnny in Dirty Dancing and his passionate monologue about how the women were using him?]

Then Nick mocks himself for not jumping at every sex offer because that’s what men do, right? They just want to fuck anything wearing a skirt. Because men only think with their dicks.
And if they don’t! If they show a little more depth, society will immediately cast them out, ridicule them (usually by making them more feminine) and they can never show their faces again.
So, best not to let that happen. Where are those invitations?

He opens the blue envelope Teresa gave him before she left and pulled out a photo:

Laughter died instantly as he looked at the picture of two babies with black hair and pale blue eyes.
“What the hell?” Even while his brain started racing and his heartbeat stuttered in his chest, he read the scrawled message beneath the photo:
“Congratulations, Daddy. It’s twins.”

Welcome to the seminar “Passive-Aggressive Notes for Beginners!” We’ll continue in Chapter Two!

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