Monday, July 18, 2011

Black Ties And Lullabies - Jane Graves

Black Ties And Lullabies
Jane Graves
Contemporary Romance

Bernadette (Bernie) Hogan has spent most of her life living on her own terms.  She’s independent, unencumbered, and works in what is traditionally a man’s field.  She’s a private bodyguard.  Her current assignment is guarding the attractive, if irritating, body of super-rich CEO Jeremy Bridges.  He’s also independent and plans to remain unencumbered.  Bernie usually spends her time guarding him at black tie affairs, and watching him take home an endless parade of blonde, buxom, one night stands.
This evening is no different.  They enter the event and Jeremy zeroes in on a blonde.  The thing is, Bernie is sure she’s seen this woman before tonight.  Not at another event; that would be pretty commonplace.  No, this woman is clearly following Jeremy.  Naturally, Bernie’s warning only serves to drive Jeremy into the silicone embrace of the blonde and they leave the event together.  Suspicion on high, Bernie sticks around for a while.  Turns out, the blonde is the ‘front man’ for a bunch of well-armed thugs.  Bernie and Jeremy end up locked in his panic room, awaiting the police.  They also end up having a one night stand of their own.  Which results in a pregnancy for which neither one are prepared.  (This is not a spoiler; this is all first-chapter stuff.)
Of course, Bernie makes all the right moves, telling Jeremy the truth, then asking him to sign a paper terminating his parental rights.  She, in turn, wants not a penny of his fortune.  Jeremy counters by surprising himself, refusing her offer, and accompanying her to doctor’s appointments.  The rest of the story is pretty standard from there; although I did quite like that Bernie took another, equally fulfilling job once she could no longer be a bodyguard.  She’s also got a huge side issue in the form of an aging mom who is losing a battle with Alzheimer’s.
My main problem with this story can be nicely summed up by Marge Simpson: “Nothing solves everything forever like a wedding.”  Insert ‘baby’ for ‘wedding,’ and you’ve got it, Marge.  Ask anyone who’s been through a divorce.  A child (expected or not) does not cement a relationship in real life.  On the other hand, this is clearly not real life.  This is a light, fast, romance novel where a happy ending for all is virtually assured.  The addition of Bernie’s mom and her perilous condition injects a note of gravitas to the story that grounds things nicely.  It is very well written and some of the verbal sparring between Bernie and Jeremy is quite entertaining.  If you’re looking for a light read on a hot summer night, you could do a lot worse than spending some time with Bernie.

Rating: 7
July 2011
ISBN# 978-0-446-56847-0 (paperback)


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