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The Bravo Bachelor, by Christine Rimmer

the-bravo-bachelor

To my recollection, this is my first novel by Ms Rimmer. Published by Silhouette Special Edition, The Bravo Bachelor is a new installment in a long running series of novels, some more loosely connected than others, about the Bravo family from Texas.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

One visit to her ranch had landed him in the delivery room!

All Gabe Bravo wanted was to convince Mary Hofstetter to sell him her land. But the young widow had barely told him to hightail it off her property before going into labor. Being an honorable Bravo bachelor, he stayed by her side, even after her little bundle of joy appeared.

There was no denying Gabe had declared himself permanently single-and proud of it. But with his feelings for Mary growing deeper, he was suddenly torn: walk away from mother and child, or do what he’d sworn he’d never do-get hitched!

Bravo Family Ties – stronger than ever.

Davis Bravo, patriarch of the family and head of Bravo Corporation, is determined to buy out ‘that Hofstetter woman’ in order to build an exclusive residential development on her land. So far, though, all his envoys have failed to convince her to sell. Fed up with such unnecessary delay from so low a creature as she *cough* Davis does the smart thing and sends in the big guns. Gabriel Bravo, his second born son and troubleshooter extraordinaire.

What neither of these two rather arrogant men know is that Mary is not a person to let herself be manipulated, steered or coerced into doing anything she doesn’t want to do, and all of Gabe’s charm is wasted in the face of her determination.

Not that their original interview leaves her feeling all that confident in herself, because no sooner has she told him (for the nth time, too) that her ranch is not for sale, than her water breaks. Then, through a chain of unlikely circumstances, she finds herself depending on his kindness to get her to the hospital for the delivery.

What with one thing and another, Gabe ends up being mistaken for Mary’s late husband and so attending the birth (and instantly falling in love with her beautiful baby girl), then staying the night with her at the hospital. The short of it being that he is the one taking Mary and her baby back home after they are released, and later staying there to help her until other arrangements can be made.

There is something a bit bothersome about Gabe’s sudden change from determined bachelorhood (though I confess that I find his reasons for it rather flimsy) to commitment to Mary and baby Ginny. There is a shade of “marrying the mother because of the baby” there, and I just don’t think such a relationship can be a happy one for all parties involved, at least not in the long term.

Originally, Gabe is moved to help Mary out of unadulterated empathy and sincere kindness, leavened with a soupçon of personal interest. After all, it is not everyday that a person tells him no and means it; it is even more rare that the person doing so is an intelligent, charming, and attractive woman-pregnancy notwithstanding.

During the labor and birth scenes we are shown how, suddenly, Gabe reassesses his life and priorities; how magical he finds being party to such a miracle as a birth; how his perspective on life changes radically during those hours and, particularly, during the actual minutes of delivery. And this bothers me, probably more than it should (after all, I really like Gabe better from that moment on), but I am aware that it is a personal bias. The birth of a child is a miracle, but it’s usually only life-changing for the parents and, to a lesser degree, other relatives. So while I can understand someone being affected, the reach of Gabe’s epiphany seemed a bit too much to me.

For her part, Mary is a very appealing character. At first blush it would seem rather stupid (not to put too fine a point there) to refuse the offers that the very wealthy Bravo family are making for her property-particularly when widowed, pregnant, and living within limited means, writing free lance articles for magazines. But we soon realize that things are not so black and white, for Mary has the emotional and financial support of her mother-in-law, and since there is no debt on the property, her desire to keep the ranch intact is not all that far-fetched after all.

I enjoyed the way the relationship progresses, step by step, during a period of weeks and then months. It follows a natural progression, and even the conflict later in the story makes sense, fitting the characters as they are written. The resolution may be just a tad too dramatic, but again it fits the characters.

I like that the few secondary characters are rounded just enough to be realistic but didn’t take over so much page space as to short change Mary and Gabe-after all, category romances have a limited word count as it is. However, my main gripe with the novel, aside from Gabe’s change of heart, is also a secondary character: Davis Bravo.

Honestly, if he is the hero of a previous installment, I do not want to know, for in this book he comes across as an obnoxious jerk with an overgrown sense of entitlement.

All in all, The Bravo Bachelor is a charming story with a very nice heroine. 6.75 out of 10.

3 Comments »

  • It sounds like a sweet story. Good review, AL.

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  • AL, what a nice surprise. πŸ™‚ Re Davis, he is a total butthead, I agree. But don’t worry. In upcoming books he so gets his–and in time, becomes a better man! And no, he’s never been a hero. Rest easy there. πŸ˜‰

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  • I just read this myself not too long ago and pretty much agree with your review.

    I thought Gabe’s “epiphany” was in keeping with the tone of the story. It was more like a “right here, right now, this is what I want”. I felt his actual acceptance of his feelings came much slower and were much more realistic than his moment in the hospital.

    I did have other issues, mostly to do with Davis (*blerg*). But overall it was a pretty stellar book. I’m interested in reading more from this series.

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