Review of BECAUSE OF A BOY By Anna DeStefano (see her website)
Harlequin SuperRomance #1449, October 2007
Nurse Kate Rhodes tries to do her best for all the children in the pediatric ward, but when children come in showing evidence of obvious abuse, she goes overboard. The victim of an abusive family, Kate knows the penalty created by silence and nobody in the world, especially not sexy lawyer Stephen Creighton, will keep her silent in the face of the ultimate tragedy--a father abusing his own child.
Stephen knows the evidence doesn't look good for his client. But he's certain that his client, Manny Digarro, would never beat his child. There has to be some other explanation for the child's supposed string of accidents. Considering that Manny is almost certainly an undocumented alien, Stephen would very much prefer to keep the law away from Manny while he tries to uncover the truth. Unfortunately, one thing Kate is not is patient.
When the true cause of young Dillon's frequent injuries becomes known, the two are forced to work together to save the child--and the stakes suddenly become even greater than what Kate had assumed would be the worst possilbe. This has to be the worst time for either of them to yield to desire--but the attraction that both felt from the first refuses to be denied.
Author Anna DeStefano (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by DeStefano) doesn't pull her punches in BECAUSE OF A BOY. Dealing with some of the most emotional issues possible, child abuse, the effects of abusive families, physical injury and betrayal, DeStefano delivers a page-turning read. In a subplot involving Kate's estranged cop-brother (who was injured in the line of duty and refuses to have anything to do with either Kate or his one-time girlfriend, Lissa) DeStefano shows another side of the damages caused by abusive families and the difficulties that victims have in developing trust or a sense of self-worth.
Although there is a bit of a suspense element to this story, with Columbian druglords in the background, DeStefano keeps the novel firmly centered on the romance and on the character growth Stephen and, especially, Kate will need if she's ever going to allow happiness into her life.
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