Well, to be honest, I didn’t even read the synopsis before downloading this book from my local library. I went searching for more books by authors whose work I love, saw some by Maisey Yates, and hit the button. Best blind pick ever!
I’ve read a couple of books in which there’s a mix-up at the fertility clinic, but this just might be the freshest take on it I’ve seen. Instead of following the romance novel formula, the characters in Unexpected acted very much like I might expect from real people simply trying to deal with a very messed up situation, and as soon as I caught on that these fictional characters weren’t acting terribly… well, fictional, I was all in!
Kelsey’s like a lot of women whose biological clock is ticking with no man in sight. But thanks to her successful career, she’s got the means to do something about it. With months of careful planning behind her, she sets off to conceive a child via artificial insemination. The last thing she expects is for some cowboy to show up at her door, claiming to be the father of her unborn child.
When Cole finds out the sperm he banked has been inadvertently given to some random woman hoping to conceive a child, he’s confused and furious. But unlike what I expected from him, he didn’t lay into Kelsey about it. His conflicting feelings didn’t override his compassion for the woman who was, like him, a victim of circumstance, and it showed in the way he approached her and his gentle determination to be in his child’s life.
Having read enough romance novels to predict a lot of plot turns, I was surprised (pleasantly so!) that Cole reacted the way he did. It was obvious that he had no idea how to handle what life had now thrown at him, but he didn’t go all “I’m gonna call my lawyer!” the way I thought he would. In fact, he never once threatened to fight for custody or throw any more of a wrench in Kelsey’s plans than the mix-up already had. He also didn’t immediately fall in love with her or begin demanding that she change her plans to include him. He simply worried about her and asked for a chance to be a part of his kid’s life.
Kelsey’s reaction to Cole is both sad and comical. She’s suffering through morning/noon/night sickness, and she reacts almost robotically to his sudden presence. She’s sick, looks like death warmed over, and has virtually no interest at all in anything past keeping some food down. That introduction set the tone for Kelsey and Cole for the rest of the story.
Of course, these two had to spend some time together if they were ever to fall in love, so Cole invites Kelsey to his family’s sprawling ranch. It’s the perfect solution, since it’s a tourist destination, giving Kelsey some privacy in a guest cabin while putting them within walking distance of each other. Neither is really willing to give love a shot, though, despite the fact that they begin to get along great and have some pretty strong chemistry.
It always bothers me a bit when a potential couple simply writes each other off because someone long ago screwed them over. For Cole, it was his ex-wife, the same one he initially banked the sperm for in an effort to keep her happy. For Kelsey, it was a cheating ex. I can certainly understand their both wanting to be cautious rather than dive in with blinders on, but they both allowed single past experiences to get in the way of a great chance at a new relationship. Fortunately, their friendship bloomed, and it was clear that these two belonged together.
I loved the way Cole, even though the news of a child was not welcome, didn’t fly off the handle or try to make things difficult for Kelsey. In fact, short of promising his eternal love (till the end, at least), he was only interested in Kelsey’s comfort and happiness. He wasn’t willing to put his heart on the line, but he also wasn’t going to walk away from Kelsey when she clearly needed someone. I also liked the way things played out with respect to her parents. Coming from a very traditional family, Kelsey knew her parents would give her grief upon learning of her decision to be a single mother, and while I can’t understand any parents who act that way, it lent another bit of realism to the story. Parental approval is huge in just about anyone’s life.
Unexpected was exactly that — unexpected. It was unexpectedly funny, sweet, and even steamy without going over the top. The plot, while not original, have the author plenty of room to play with originality, and she created two awesome characters (and a host of awesome secondary characters) who were incredibly intriguing. If you like your romance with a side of Stetson and Wranglers, Unexpected is the book for you.