Title: Baby By Design
Author: Elley Arden
Series: Designing Love #1
Published: November 11th 2013 by Crimson Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Shelf: Review Copy
Tony Corcarelli has spent his adult life as the black sheep of his large Italian-American family ever since he turned his back on running the family carpentry business so he could live a more laidback life, forcing his sister to take the reins. Now, Tony’s grandmother has cancer, and he’s expected to join the family in making her wishes come true. Unfortunately, the two things Nonna wants most for Tony are two things he can’t fathom: a wife and kids or the priesthood. There has to be another way.
When Trish asks her best friend’s brother, Tony, to escort her to a wedding, a night of fun and flirtation turns serious, with Trish confessing she wants a baby. Could a calculated conception be the answer they’ve both been looking for?
“You really do great work.”
He smiled and stepped closer, because he was a gentleman who’d just been complimented. “Thank you.” He squatted and ran his hand along the nailhead trim, grazing her covered calf muscle, because he was a guy who liked the way her face flushed whenever he stood too close. “I’m glad you like it. When you’re in need of my skills again, you know where to find me.” And then he stood, taking two steps back toward the hall, because even a screw-up like him knew where to draw the line.
She sat ramrod straight, gripping the arms of the chair. “Tony, I need a favor.”
He stopped. “What’s up?”
“I need a…guest for my cousin’s wedding on Saturday. Would you happen to be interested?”
“I take it the good doctor wasn’t so good.”
A nervous chuckle escaped her lips. “Not good at all. And I RSVP’d for two with the hope that he’d still be around, and now my mother is driving me crazy, saying I can’t embarrass myself and her by cancelling this late in the game. I’m stuck.”
It was Tony’s turn to chuckle. “So you want me to unstick you?”
She shrugged, managing cute, coy, and sexy with one pouty-mouthed look. “Would you?”
If he was sane and sensible, no, he wouldn’t. “Absolutely. What time should I pick you up?”
“Thank you,” she breathed on a noisy exhale. “We should leave at three, but I’ll drive.”
“You don’t trust my driving?”
“It’s a wedding, Tony, and I’m wearing a dress. You should wear a suit, like the one you wore to Nonna’s party.” He liked the way she pulled her bottom lip between her teeth when she paused for a breath. “Dress clothes can’t be worn on the back of a motorcycle.”
An image of her creamy leg stretching out from beneath a short skirt and hanging alongside the chrome of his bike made his skin itch. He grinned to cover the not-so-innocent thought. “No bike. Got it. I’ll pick you up at three.” And before she could protest, he turned around and walked away.
He’d never been the kind of guy to let a woman down, and that was a blessing and curse.
Now he needed a car worthy of escorting Trish DeVign to a family wedding, in addition to a grand gesture for Nonna’s wish list.
Talk about pressure.
Arden uses very intricate and approachable descriptions that set the scene perfectly without hampering your imagination. She has a unique way of putting things that makes you feel and experience them alongside the characters. Her narratives are heartfelt and personable, never breaking with the flow of the story.
There was a large variety of character types in this story, each with a specific role to play. That said, nothing was ever forced (except, of course for everything coming from the snooty characters, but that’s who they are). Arden uses a multiplicity of approaches when it comes to developing her characters. Not everyone is a well-rounded individual, but rather they are developed into the person that you’d encounter if you met them on the street.
The relationship that develops between the two main characters was the perfect relationship. It may have been off to a rocky start and based on a hair brained scheme with absolutely everything happening backwards and on paper it should have been an absolute train wreck, but it was the perfect relationship for them. Everything was so real and easy to visualise that it made for the perfect story.
About the Author:
Elley writes provocative, emotional contemporary romances for Crimson Romance.