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Publisher: Zebra Books
Release Date: October 5, 2004
ISBN: 0821777696
Format Reviewed: Advance Reader Copy
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Genre:   Regency Romance [London, March 1818]
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Lynda E. Lukow

Reviewer Notes:  Holiday: Christmas

Sex: Mildly spicy


A Christmas Baby
By Annette Blair

      Get ready to run the gamut of emotions!

    After being jilted for the second time, the future is looking bleak for Ashford Blackburne, Fifth Earl of Blackburne. Discouraged by his lack of prospects for a bride to impregnate before Christmas, as stipulated in his grandfather's will, Ash attempts to drink away his blues. When the tavern owner challenges him to a high stakes poker game - winner gets the tavern, loser gets the owner's daughter - Ash believes he only stands to gain. Until he meets his consolation prize.

     Larkin McAdams picks pockets out of need, not greed, dresses like a boy, and considers a monthly bath an evil necessity. She has often fantasized about meeting the handsome Lord Blackburne again, but marrying him, especially under false pretenses, was never part of her dreams. With pistols pointed at his head, she has no choice but to speak the vows.

    Changing a feisty guttersnipe into a lady becomes Ash's social responsibility; seducing away her mating misconceptions becomes his pleasurable challenge. Along the way, both learn the importance of family, the value of trust, and the glory of love.

    Annette Blair is a master artist in the world of romantic fiction. A strong plot provides the canvas for her compelling characters. Vivid settings and engaging minor characters beautifully augment the portrait. Fascinating subplots add depth. Spicy sexual encounters supply bold strokes, which are contrasted by one of the blackest dark moments ever painted with words.

     A Christmas Baby is a romantic masterpiece that's sure to make readers laugh and cry. Though old St. Nick adds a touch of Christmas magic, this fast-paced and enchanting novel warrants reading the whole year through. Don't miss the wedding night scene; it's almost to die for!