We return to the romance for two reasons. First, I am working on another article about romance novelists (the first should be published on Wednesday). Second, I spent all day Saturday on the beach, and after reading about addicts and exercise, bring on the smut!

Soldier’s Secret Child by Caridad Pineiro isn’t all that smutty, though there’s some hot hot lovin’. It also encompasses a lot of things the Smart Bitches write about as being common in the genre including (but not limited to) secret babies, suspense, cowboys and military men.

It’s also a book in the Silhouette Romantic Suspense series. I learned about these when I worked at Walden Books — they’re on the shelf for a month, and then replaced with next month’s adventure. Whenever the store ran “buy two, get the third free” specials, women would by them by the crate full (literally).

They’re small — slightly larger than my hand — and short. In the case of this series, different authors take a crack at the story line from novel to novel (January’s book is about another character’s brother).

Soldier’s Secret Child is about Macy Ward, a widow with a secret: her son father is not who he thinks she is. Even though she loved her husband Tim, TJ’s dad is actually Fisher Yates, a military man she slept with once before marrying Tim (the “on a break” excuse). Tim was well aware that TJ was not his son, but Yates, who skipped town soon after his blanket bed down with Macy, never knew.

TJ’s in a bit of trouble, and the suspense rolls from there. There’s lots of “this boy needs a man,” “tight jeans,” and women pregnant with other guys’ babies falling in love and marrying not-the-fathers, but it’s cleanly written (if a tad descriptive) and a perfect beach chair companion. I finished it quickly, too — though I did that with the last three books between time in airports, on planes and sitting on the beach.

For the situation? It worked. Who wants taxing material while browning (or burning — ouch, I need some aloe).

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

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