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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Review: The Bad Girl and the Baby by Nina Croft

The last book in the Cutting Loose series was okay but compared to the previous books was missing something.

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Release Date:

Captain Matt Peterson prides himself on being able to handle anything...until he winds up as the guardian of his baby niece, Lulu. Two years and six nannies later, his well-ordered existence is in chaos. Still, he’s all Lulu has. Except, well...there is an aunt...

Darcy Butler has spent the last three years in prison for beating up her abusive brother-in-law. Her only regret is that she didn’t hurt him worse and stop him from killing her sister in a drunken car crash six months later. But now, Darcy just wants to rebuild her life. Starting with finding her sister’s child.

But Matt doesn't want an ex-con with a record for violence anywhere near Lulu. Unfortunately, he can’t seem to keep away from Darcy, himself. Despite their differences, their chemistry is combustible...and the sex is incredible! Still, it can’t possibly last. Can it?

What’s it About? Captain Matt Peterson has gained custody of his baby niece Lulu and has no idea how to raise a child. His carefully organized, structured life is at and end and complicating matters is the child’s ex-con aunt who is demanding to be allowed to see Lulu. Darcy Butler spend three years in prison for beating up her abusive brother-in-law but it wasn’t enough to save her sister when he killed her in a drunken crash. Now Darcy is out and she’s not going to allow Matt to keep her from Lulu. The two are total opposites on everything and yet there’s an undeniable spark of attraction between them. With Lulu the only thing they have in common, a fling seems to be the only reasonable solution to the combustible chemistry between them. Neither one thinks it will last long but sometimes a chance is all it takes.

Overall reaction to the story? I did enjoy The Bad Girl and the Baby but I didn’t love it. I’m not a big fan of kids or babies in romance to be honest and for such a short story Lulu took up most of the pages, leaving me feeling less than convinced about the romance aspect of the story. The thing about this series that I’ve loved from the beginning is that it’s the heroines that are the ex-cons and in this particular story the “Bad Boy/Good Girl” theme is flipped with Darcy being the Bad Girl and Matt being the Good Boy. The dynamics were definitely different.

Describe the hero in five words: Perfectionist. Tidy. Stuffy. Noble. Likable.
Did you like him? Despite his OCD cleanliness yes.
Why? If you can overlook his almost obsessive need for order, cleanliness, and punctuality, Matt’s a good guy. Actually, I had a laugh at these particular traits because like Darcy it would be irresistible to me NOT to mess with him. Move things around, make a room look messy, arrive a little late, that kind of stuff. Matt’s stuffiness just invites that kind of mischief to be honest but at the center of all that outward perfection is a man who just wants to do the best he can for a little girl who lost both her parents. He is completely clueless about how to handle a tantrum throwing, devil child but that doesn’t stop him from trying. He can admit when he’s wrong, which he has to do a couple of times, and despite his lifestyle, Matt is capable and ready to love someone. His is the quintessential honorable hero, who just happens to have a dirty side behind closed doors.

Describe the heroine in five words: Survivor. Blunt. Vulnerable. Stubborn. Caring.
Did you like her? Yes.
Why? Darcy looks like a walking contradiction, a tough as nails MMA fighter who hides a fragile heart and is easily wounded emotionally. That soft side of her was what made her more than just another woman who could kick some serious butt. Darcy LOOKS the part of a dangerous ex-con but the truth was that having her as a friend rocked some serious perks, she was loyal to a fault and while she wasn’t comfortable with showing emotion, it didn’t mean she didn’t have them. I will say that sometimes Darcy came off as a tad childish when it came to Matt and her conflicted feelings that were popping up at odd times for her. I had hoped she would face them like she did her opponents in the ring.

Let’s talk about the romance: Matt and Darcy had an intense physical chemistry that all but exploded in their faces so I have zero complaints about that. The opposites attract tension was well done in my opinion and made The Bad Girl and the Baby the hottest book of the series without a doubt. However, I felt the romance fell a little flat. When Matt and Darcy weren’t jumping into bed together they were taking care of Lulu which is what brought them together in the first place but with almost no time spend out of bed and away from Lulu, these two didn’t really have a chance to build a strong foundation for a relationship that wasn’t about sex or kids.

How about that supporting cast? Darcy’s friends and fellow ex-cons pop in and out of the story at key times and I loved being able to see what they were up to in their new lives out of prison. I have a soft spot for Regan and Summer so getting to see their “After Ever Happy Ending” was great. Lulu though, dang but I had a difficult time with that kid. She is a demon child and not in a good way. Tantrums, fits, and overall just being a nasty version of a child did not endear her to me in anyway. I guess she was just being a more realistic child but dang she was terrible. Sometimes having a kid in a romance serves a good purpose and a kid can add to the story but definitely not in this case.

Click It or Skip It? Click It. While it isn’t the best of the series, it’s still worth a read.

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