High-powered businessman Cameron Shaw doesn’t believe in love—until he falls head over heels for beautiful, passionate, and intensely private Martina. She’s perfect in so many ways, immediately bonding with his little girl. Martina could be his future bride and a delightful stepmother … if only Cameron weren’t blinded by his belief that Shelly, the gold-digging woman he’s promised to marry, is pregnant with his child.
No matter how much his friends protest his upcoming marriage to Shelly, Cameron knows he has a duty to his children, so he’s determined to see it through.
Will he find out in time that Shelly’s lying and Marti’s the one who’s actually carrying his child? It’ll come down to the day of his wedding. After choosing Shelly over Marti at every turn, will he convince Marti she’s his world and the only woman he wants?
He’s wealthy and powerful, at the top of his game and in the peak of his prowess as a man, yet he is lonely and always on the look-out for a woman who is a dead ringer for his dead wife. Well, much to his detriment, he finds her but soon learns she is nothing like his dead wife on the inside. Just as he gets ready to jettison her from his life, she announces she is pregnant, as much to rope him into marriage and give her access to his millions, as to cover up the discovery of her bulimia. Cameron Shaw is a tough negotiator and known throughout the international business community as a man who can hold his own. But in the face of Shelley’s announcement, he reverts into this silly, insecure, unreasonable, less-than-thoughtful man who lets her get away with anything. He’s essentially led around by the nose and won’t believe any of his friends when they point out that fact.
Enter Marti, a woman who is a world-class artist in her own right, a popular children’s author, and one of the directors of her own international business enterprise, but Cameron only knows her as simply Marti. His daughter loves her, states clearly and loudly that she wants Marti as a mother, but Cameron just seems to have gone deaf. And this three-way struggle: Marti’s love and desire to be a part of Cameron and Emma’s life and how that crashes into Shelley’s golden dreams of wealth, power and position plus Cameron’s seeming inability to see truth about either of these women is at the core of this story. It is a story that winds its way all the way through the novel and each time one of these characters crashes into the other it appears to become even more hopeless. Emma, the five-year-old daughter is caught in the middle.
Here’s my problem: on the one hand I am saying to myself, “Can’t Cameron simply take Shelley in hand and force her to pee on a pregnancy test stick? Wouldn’t it seem to be the first question anyone would ask in today’s world? Yet Cameron seems content to take Shelly’s word for everything. On the other hand, it is evident that Cameron is being chased around by a whole household of demons, at least emotionally speaking. There’s his mother’s refusal to tell him his father’s identity. He battles anger over an incomplete family structure all the time. There’s the guilt over his wife’s death, as if by getting her pregnant he killed her. There’s the guilt over raising Emma in an incomplete family, something he is hoping to remedy with the woman who claims to be pregnant with his child. So is he one of “the Hunted Ones?” It would seems he is not only “hunted” but haunted as well..
I don’t like it when really intelligent people act like they are brain dead, and I really get angry when good people perpetrate unbelievable hurt on others for some pretty silly reasons. Yet in this book the reader will see lots of that and unfortunately fiction/art imitates life. So on the one hand I get really angry and impatient with Cameron for his thoughtless actions and words, but on the other hand, I know that he is being eaten alive by his old angers and guilt. And all in all, maybe that’s the point of the novel. In the end, do we often perpetrate so much hurt against those we care about thoughtlessly by letting our insecurities drive us down life’s path? It’s worth considering. Many will become tired of Cameron’s wavering loyalties, his stubborn choices and hurtful way of handling issues as well as the people in his world. But again it begs the question of whether or not this fictional situation resembles reality far more often than we suppose.
Jennifer Ryan is a darn good writer and reading her work is a pleasure. This story bothered me a lot, but I give it a 4 out of 5 rating because I think it poses some important questions and forced me to consider how my thoughtless actions and words can bring so much pain in the lives of those important to me. It’s a book well worth reading. But it isn’t fluff nor is it an easy story to process.
I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.
You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.