Nicole and Ryder both work at Hanky Panky Love, the dating division of a lifestyle media giant that includes print and radio advice for the lovelorn. Nicole has decided she will never find true love but wants to have a baby in the worst way, so she daydreams how to find a baby daddy with all the best traits. Once she realizes that her hot co-worker, Ryder, is The One, she approaches him and asks him to help her realize her dream – by providing the swimmers, as it were. Clinically. The Turkey Baster method, with no strings attached. Ryder has always thought Nicole was attractive, but he has had a rough time getting over his ex-wife, who had a serious sex addiction and cheated on him multiple times, so he hasn’t even been dating much (while giving dating advice). In The Knocked Up Plan, we have 2 protagonists who are paid to publicly peddle ways to find something they don’t even have in their own lives – a soul mate.
Ryder suggests they approach baby-making the old fashioned way – you know, slot A, tab B – after signing iron clad contracts to protect both their interests. Nicole agrees. Why not have some fun, after all? And so, they move out of Colleague Zone directly into Baby-Making Zone while trying to achieve Nicole’s goal. His requirement: Nicole must help him develop a new show (and attitude) for Hanky Panky Love, a way to spice up dating without actually getting crude on air, something his (their?) boss demands of him. “Or else!” So they start a series of dates by day and hanky panky by night to get Ryder’s career back on track and Nicole’s bun in the oven. Sorry about all the bad puns – the first half of this book I’m not sure I could keep from rolling my eyes any more.
Lauren Blakely’s rom-com style is pretty light and often a barrel of laughs as well – her overly confident heroes, her feisty, smart-cracking heroines, with their unique journeys to Happily Ever After are a pretty good way to pass some time. About 2/3 of the way into this one, I let her writing style take over and stopped rolling my eyes as much, since Ryder morphed into one of those Besotted Heroes that always melt my heart (he loves his niece to pieces!). Their road to creating Baby wasn’t 100% straight forward, just like their road to HEA, with a few disappointments along the way, but nothing love couldn’t overcome. I thought Blakely increased the heat-level of this story – the sex seemed a little cruder and more graphic, possibly because what they were doing was vaguely technical vs falling in love? Or because they were professionals, trying a lot of the things they were recommending on air? Again, that could have been due to my inability to fully appreciate the story. YMMV.
I swear I’ve already said everything I can about the narrator team of Andi Arndt and Sebastian York – it’s like some of our other favorite narrators, where we run out of accolades: they are excellent at what they do – they have chemistry, pacing, acting, attitude – and technically, I think I only noticed one place where an obvious pickup happened (where the volume or even the tone changes abruptly, due to a change in the recording), and that happened in the “eye rolling” section where I wasn’t yet fully invested in the story. Or maybe I imagined it because of that. The story is told in the alternating first-person point of view, and both narrators created easily differentiated character voices for the various family, friends and coworkers and the demanding boss. Whether this is your first review of these two or your 100th, they are always highly recommended for delivering a polished, professional read of American contemporary romance, excelling in humor and emotion, and a pleasure to hear.
I think die-hard Blakely fans will enjoy this read – I didn’t really dislike it as much in the end as I did about 1/3 of the way in. The writing is good, the plot a little sketchy, the dialogue amusing and the narration top-notch, which can usually save anything 3 star/C and up.
Book Content: C+
Steam Factor: For your burning ears only
Violence Rating: None
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Lauren Blakely Books