The secret baby theme in romance is a contentious one. My unofficial twitter poll revealed that people either really like it…or they hate it with the fire of a thousand suns and hope that all secret baby books will become infested with fleas.
And while there are notable exceptions for me (there are exceptions to every rule, after all!) I have to make a confession…*whispers* I don’t like secret baby books.
I know. I know, it’s a terrible admission. But it’s true!
In fact, I made that stunning confession to my RT roommate last year. “I’ve never written one,” I said. “And I’m not sure if I could.”
So imagine the LOLs when I got home and got an email from my editor. Would I be interested in doing a linked duet. Why, yes I would. They would be released back to back! Terrific. And if they could have a secret baby theme, that would be great!
I think Alanis could write a new verse to her classic song, Ironic, just for me.
That was what led me to do a poll on twitter about secret baby books. Because I wanted to figure out a way I could avoid some of the things about them I find problematic, while honoring what people enjoy about them.
So I asked people: If you like secret baby books, what, for you, are the factors you find most compelling? What is it about them that draws you in?
Overwhelmingly, it had to do with the reveal. The hero finding out he was a father. Then, the hero dealing with this sudden an irrevocable change to his life. The all-power alpha male brought down by a tiny baby. The playboy’s life disrupted by diapers.
Armed with that information, I set out to create the books that would become the Secret Heirs of Powerful Men series.
Book one, Heir to a Desert Legacy features Sayid and Chloe. Now, the secret baby technically isn’t Chloe’s or Sayid’s.
Chloe was acting secretly as the surrogate for the royal family of Attar and when the sheikh and sheikha are killed in a car accident, she’s left holding the baby. A baby she’s not sure she wants, a baby she doesn’t really have any right to keep.
When Sayid discovers his brother’s child, and heir to the throne is alive, he goes to get him at once and bring him back to his own country. Chloe has a life that doesn’t have a place for a child, and she briefly toys with the idea of letting Sayid take the baby. But ultimately, Chloe can’t just let Sayid walk away with the child she gave birth to, and she agrees to go back to Attar for six months to give herself time to prepare for their eventual separation.
I enjoyed the dynamic of this one, because both characters are rocked by their love for this child that neither are very equipped to deal with. And then of course by their attraction to each other.
Book two, Heir to a Dark Inheritance features Sayid’s brother in arms, the Russian ex-mercenary Alik. Alik is essentially morally bankrupt and has spent most of his life man-whoring his way through the world.
Until he gets a notice that he has a child, and that unless he comes to claim parental rights, that child is going to be adopted out to someone else.
Alik is in no position to take care of a child, but he can’t imagine never seeing his daughter either. Can’t imagine abandoning her like his own parents did to him.
But Jada Patel, the widow whose been caring for little Leena, and who is attempting to adopt her won’t be parted for the child she considers to be hers. Which leaves them with one option, naturally. Marriage!
In the end, I had a blast writing this ‘secret baby’ series. The characters were some of my favorites to play with (how can you not enjoy an amoral ex-merc??). And it was truly rewarding to watch all of them try and deal with the demands, both physical and emotional, that loving a child, even an unexpected one, places on you.
So now I’ve talked about secret babies…what are some of your favorite romance themes? Comment below and you’ll be entered to win epub copies (DRM free so conversion is possible) of BOTH of my Secret Heirs of Powerful Men books, Heir to a Desert Legacy and Heir to a Dark Inheritance!