Finding Perfect by Susan Mallery
Series: Fool's Gold #3
Also in this series: Chasing Perfect, Almost Perfect
Publication Date: September 1st 2010
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When Pia O'Brian's best friend dies, Pia expects to inherit her cherished cat. Instead, the woman leaves Pia three frozen embryos. With a disastrous track record in the romance department and the parenting skills of a hamster, Pia doesn't think she's meant for motherhood. But determined to do the right thing, Pia decides to become a single mother. Only to meet a gorgeous, sexy hunk the very same day.
A former foster-care kid now rich beyond his wildest dreams, Raoul Moreno runs a camp for needy children in Fool's Gold, California. After his last relationship, Raoul thought he was done with women and commitment. Still, he can't get sweet, sexy Pia out of his mind—and proposes a crazy plan. But can such an unconventional beginning really result in the perfect ending?
I wasn’t sure what to think going into this story. I could see what was coming a mile away and didn’t know how to feel about it. The idea of someone leaving their frozen embryos to another person is mind boggling. Especially when that person does it without telling anyone, namely the person who’s inheriting them.
Pia is devastated when her friend Crystal succumbs to cancer. But she’s in for the shock of a lifetime, because Crystal left her frozen embryos to Pia. She has no idea what to do..she can’t just get rid of them, can she? And shouldn’t she honor the wishes of her friend and have the babies? It’s a lot of responsibility.
On the day she finds out, she has a meeting scheduled with Raoul Moreno, former professional football player and new resident to Fool’s Gold. Because she goes right from meeting with Crystal’s lawyers to her meeting with Raoul, he witnesses her initial shock panic freak out. Being a man, he doesn’t really know what to say or do, but he tries to help her get back on solid ground before taking off. Pia is mortified to have acted that way in front of him, and hopes never to see him again.
But over the course of the next few weeks, they keep running into each other. And every time they do, their attraction for each other grows a little more. But Raoul isn’t looking for permanence or a happily ever after – he tried that once with disastrous results – and Pia is getting ready to become a mother of 3 kids that aren’t even her own.
It isn’t long before Raoul realizes he has an opportunity to exercise some of the demons from his past, however. So he makes Pia an offer she can’t refuse – he’ll be her “pregnancy buddy”. He’ll help her through her pregnancy, take care of her, and be there for her when the babies are born. Pia isn’t stupid, so she knows she’s going to need all the help she can get. But what happens when Pia wants Raoul to be more than just a “buddy”? Can he put aside his past hurts and be the man she needs?
I absolutely loved the way the romance developed between Raoul and Pia. They started out as friends, then became lovers, so I think the foundation of their relationship was more solid. Yes, they found each other attractive right from the beginning, but their relationship wasn’t founded on lust alone. They got to know one another slowly, the way friends do. Then they took it to the next level.
Raoul had somewhat of a hero complex. Because of the way he was raised and some things that happened during his first marriage, he has a strong sense of what’s right and wrong, but he pushes that too far sometimes. But that also makes him a very endearing hero. He’s sweet and considerate, and he truly wants to help people. His logic was flawed sometimes, but I still adored him. The way he wanted to take care of Pia was beautiful.
Pia was a strong, caring woman. She, too, wanted to do what was right. After the initial shock of finding out she’s inherited frozen embryos wears off, she makes her decision to have them fairly quickly, which I thought was admirable. She might have rushed in a little quickly, but I had to admire her determination to do what she thought was right. I also loved her sense of humor and general outlook on life. She was just a naturally upbeat person, a glass half-full type, if you will.
It annoyed me that Pia took so much on herself. She felt guilt over everything, whether the things she felt guilty about were in her control or not. She really did take the weight of the world onto her shoulders. While I understood her reasons to a degree, I think she took it way too far. I also think she let it go on way too long. Her constant “I’m not a good person” mantra became very annoying, very quickly. Especially because it was obvious to everyone – the reader included – that Pia was a wonderful person. She was the only one who questioned that.
My main issue with this book is the frozen embryo thing. Crystal didn’t win me over by dropping that on Pia without thought or consideration. Having a baby is a huge thing. Asking someone else to carry and raise your babies after you’re dead, without discussing it beforehand, is almost too much. In the previous two books Crystal was portrayed as a wonderful, warm, loving woman. I don’t think dropping this on Pia was quite in line with the way her character was portrayed before, and honestly it changed my opinion of her.
Otherwise I really enjoyed the book. I had problems with both Pia and Raoul, and how much they took on themselves, but mostly I was able to look past that. I adored how strong and giving Raoul was and how Pia had to learn to lean on him and forgive herself for not being perfect.
4 out of 5