In Yuletide Baby Surprise by Catherine Mann, Princess Mariama Mandara, who is also a research scientist, unexpectedly gets up close and personal with Dr. Rowan Boothe. She has been determined to avoid him since their last meeting 5 months ago in London. They both have very differing points of view about science and medicine, and Princess Mari has been openly critical of some of Rowan's work.
When Princess Mari sneaks into a room at her hotel pretending to be room service in order to escape the press, she not only discovers she's snuck into Rowan's hotel room, but there is also an abandoned baby in the service cart! Both Rowan and Mari are horrified that the sweet baby girl has been abandoned, and besides being determined to find the baby's mother, Rowan sees this as an opportunity to get closer to Mari. "He didn't know what it was about Mariama Mandara that turned him inside out, but he'd given up analyzing the why of it long ago. His attraction to Mari was a simple fact of life now."
While using the resources of the Alpha Brotherhood to find baby Issa's family, Rowan plans to also romance Mari. Mari is used to being safely away in her lab, away from most people. Between that and as a Princess, she has managed to socially isolate herself very well. Mari is not actually very confident in herself or her social skills outside of work. So she is shocked when Rowan convinces her it would be best for Issa for them to care for her together while they search for family. She is even more dismayed when she finds herself not only sharing a hotel suite with Rowan and Issa, but she is starting to feel an attraction to Rowan she's never acknowledged before. "Intellectually, she'd understood he was an attractive - albeit irritating - man. But until this moment, she hadn't comprehended the full impact of his appeal."
As Mari and Rowan spend more time together, they both begin to see each other in a new light. Mari finds herself not only "finding layers to him she didn't know existed", she is finding it harder and harder not to fantasize about sharing a bed with him. Rowan starts to see Mari as more than just a research scientist who sees things in black and white, an untouchable princess. He starts to see underneath her layers, and the more he sees, the more he likes. Being together caring for Issa, using the resources available to them to find her family, brings them closer than they imagined they could be. The dialogue between them is open and honest, but Rowan is still holding parts of himself back, and Mari is not happy about that. She knows he is holding parts of himself and his heart back, and this is not something she can be happy with in a relationship.
If Issa's family is found, can Rowan and Mari find another way to stay together...for real this time? Or has Rowan's past and his guilt over it scarred him too deeply? Or has Princess Mari finally found something worth fighting for?
Catherine Mann is a must read author for me and Yuletide Baby Surprise did not disappoint me! She had me laughing in the first few pages...a great way to start a new book!
There are two strong interwoven story lines in Yuletide Baby Surprise...baby Issa and the romance of Mari and Rowan. Both Mari and Rowan are strong characters who have actually known each other for years, but it's just this past week they've really gotten to know each other! I loved the interaction between them. Despite Mari being a princess and Rowan a billionaire doctor, they were both really relatable people. Mari is strong, independent, and very smart...but she finds out even more about herself and what she's been missing in Yuletide Baby Surprise. This further strengthens her character because she can admit to herself what's missing and what she can do about it. Rowan is a bit of a mystery to Mari, but slowly she gains his confidence and he finds himself telling her things he's told no one.
Catherine gives us a great romance with Yuletide Baby Surprise! The story flows very smoothly, the secondary characters link in very well, and the romance is fast paced. I loved this because I was never bored! You will certainly laugh between the seriousness and steamy scenes in Yuletide Baby Surprise. It was a lot of fun watching Mari and Rowan circle each other before coming together.
I'd recommend this to any romance reader!