Review of DADDY NEXT DOOR by Judy Christenberry (see her website)
Harlequin American Romance #1145, January 2007
When he moves to Dallas, teacher and writer Nick Barry plans on peace and quiet so he can work on his next book. He doesn't suspect that he's moving next door to a beautiful woman who's just begun the process of adopting three young girls. He definitely doesn't expect that the girls will decide their new mother, Jennifer Carpenter, needs a 'Daddy' to make their family complete. Still, it doesn't take Nick long to see the appeal--both of having a family, but especially of Jennifer.
Jennifer Carpenter has fought for her independence from her mother's blue-blood standards, launching her own photography business and rejecting any number of men her mother finds 'suitable.' But when her mother threatens to cut off all ties unless she drops her plans to adopt the girls, Jennifer refuses to put up with it. She will create a family of her own and she doesn't need help from anyone to make it happen. One thing she won't do is let the girls suffer more disappointment and loss. They've already lost their parents in an accident. Letting them make big plans involving sexy neighbor Nick is just setting them up for more suffering. When Jennifer learns that Nick's first novel is already being made into a movie, she's even more certain. Nick will be moving to Hollywood, discovering the fast women and fast lifestyle of the west coast. A girl from Dallas, and one with a ready-made family, doesn't stand a chance. Why set herself, and the girls, up for heartbreak?
Nick hears Jennifer's concerns. But he doesn't believe them. Still, how can he convince her that he's anxious to stay, that a family is exactly what he wants? One thing seems certain--his kisses don't do the job. That doesn't mean he won't keep trying, though. Kissing Jennifer may not persuade the beautiful blond of anything, but it sure persuades Nick that he wants--needs--more.
Author Judy Christenberry (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Christenberry) comes back to Dallas in a story of families and hopes. Jennifer's fears, stemming from her unhealthy relationship with her mother and the lost father of her childhood, are part of what motivates her to cling to her new children so tightly, but also blind her to the possibility of a relationship with Nick. Nick, with his movie wealth and his abundant patience and love for children, as well as his hot kisses, is way more perfect than the average guy (then again, what would be the point of a romance with an average guy), but can Jennifer open her eyes and see what she's risking?
Fans of Judy Christenberry will definitely want to grab this launch title in a new series.
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