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book cover Wendy the Super Librarian‘s review of From Friend to Father by Tracy Wolff
Contemporary romance released by Harlequin SuperRomance 9 Jun 09

When I read Tracy Wolff’s debut Harlequin SuperRomance late last year I had some issues with the heroine. Now, with this second book for SuperRomance, I find myself having issues with the hero. I’m thinking by the time her third SuperRomance comes out that I’m going to love the hero and heroine so much that I’m going to want to have a menage a trois with them.

Sarah Martin’s worthless father abandoned their family when she was young. She followed this up by marrying her worthless ex who abandoned her while she was pregnant with their twin boys. Then her best friend, Vanessa, asks her to be a surrogate. Vanessa is half-crazed to have a baby, and Sarah agrees. Then tragedy strikes. Sarah is in the final stages of pregnancy when Vanessa is killed in a car accident. Leaving Sarah, and Vanessa’s widower, Reece, shell-shocked.

Reece Sandler deals with his wife’s death by running away. His wife was the one who desperately wanted a baby, to the point where their marriage was skating on some very thin ice. Reece mourns for his dead wife, what their marriage used to be, and the fact that he feels like he failed her. He couldn’t give Vanessa what she so desperately wanted, and now she’s dead. The problem here is that when he runs away, he abandons Sarah and his baby girl, Rose. Now with Rose several months old, he’s on Sarah’s doorstep trying to make amends. Needless to say, she’s not feeling terribly charitable towards him.

I’ll be honest, Reece is a hard guy to “like.” First, he admits that he wasn’t ready to be a father, that he only agreed to the surrogacy because Vanessa was half out of her mind with desperation. Then he admits that he’s always been attracted to Sarah, even when his wife was still alive. Can married men be attracted to other women? Certainly. Most definitely. I just don’t want to read about it in a romance novel. Also, it doesn’t help matters that his modus operandi is to run at the first sign of trouble. Given Sarah’s very real abandonment issues, this doesn’t paint the guy in the most favorable light.

That being said, he does come around. The reader just has to be willing to wait him out. Sarah is the character who really carries the majority of the book. She’s a warrior woman. A single mom who finds herself juggling two rambunctious twin boys and an infant she had no plans to be a mother to. But now she is. Because baby Rose is home with her, and her father has all but vanished. Sarah’s a mommy again, and if Reece Sandler thinks he can waltz into their lives and pretend like nothing happened, he’s got another thing coming to him. Does she overreact a bit towards the end of the story? OK, maybe. But given what she’s been through, and Reece’s tendency to run, you can’t entirely blame her.

What ultimately makes this story, besides how emotional it is, is how well Wolff writes. Wolff can flat-out write. The first few chapters are positively breath-taking in their emotional scope, with dialogue that just about rips your skin off. That’s what ultimately makes this story for me. Sure I wasn’t enamored with Reece, and sure I thought Sarah overreacted a bit during the final chapters, but the writing is the thing. I can’t wait for Wolff’s next book.

Wendy TSLGrade: B-

Twin boys, a baby girl and Sarah, their gorgeous mother. It’s a dream family. Too bad it doesn’t belong to Reece Sandler. Correction. Part of it does belong to him. But he’s not ready to be a single father and he needs Sarah Martin more than ever. Funny thing, when he and his late wife asked Sarah to be their surrogate, he never imagined he’d raise that child with her.
And the situation is complicated by his growing attraction to her. She’s vivacious, captivating and the kind of parent he only hopes to be. How can he resist her? Now to convince her to think of him as more than a friend.
Read an excerpt.