Book, Reviews, Excerpt

by Holly Jacobs

ISBN # 0-373-44133-9
Harlequin Double Duets, 01/02

Hannah Harrington wants a baby and needs someone to father it. Abel Kennedy is trying to talk her out of her crazy idea. He wants her try out her mothering skills on his best friend's kids...kids known in certain circles as "the demon-spawn." Despite kidnapped dogs, worm omeletes and four kids that steal their hearts, Hannah and Abel find that love can conquer all if they're READY, WILLING AND . . . ABEL to go after it!

In the same book read Ready, Willing and . . . Abel?'s sequel:

by Holly Jacobs

Lucy Caldwell volunteers to babysit Woody Pembrooke's four demon-spawn children for the summer, just so she can have more time for her son, Cain. Can she risk her heart to a man who's not sure he strong enough to be RAISING CAIN with her? Rejoin the demon-spawn from Ready, Willing and...Abel? as they find their own mom and their happily-ever-after!

Book, Reviews, Excerpt


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"READY, WILLING AND...ABEL? offers an engaging story with a credible, totally modern heroine."
"Charming at times, outrageously funny, Holly Jacobs' latest RAISING CAIN is a keeper." ~Catherine Witmer, Romantic Times

"Holly Jacob's world is populated with warm, captivating characters we'd all love to have living next door!"
~ JoAnn Ross, LEGENDS LAKE, Pocket Books, 7/01

"One of the things I enjoy most in reading Holly Jacobs’ (AKA Holly Fuhrmann) stories is her down-to-earth, every day characters, and the true-to-life situations she develops. Abel is a real estate broker and Woody is in construction. Holly delivers laugh-out-loud humor in both thoughts and dialog that leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling when you finish her tales; and Duet #67 is no exception. Both stories are connected, which makes it seem like one complete, seamless story, much to this reviewer’s enjoyment and satisfaction. Grab this one off of the shelves right away, take it home and laugh a little." ~Carol Carter, Reviewer for Romance Reviews Today

Book, Reviews, Excerpt

EXCERPT: Ready, Willing . . . and Abel?
Holly Jacobs

Sperm ‘R Us.

That’s what the catalog should be called.

#325. Six foot four, one hundred seventy pounds, chestnut hair, brown eyes. Studying for a degree in history.

Or there was #5571. Six foot, one hundred sixty pounds, blond hair, blue eyes. Masters degree in chemistry.

Or . . .

Hannah Harrington continued flipping through the pages of the catalog, but after reading the first few descriptions she overloaded.

It seemed she could pick any number of attributes for her baby’s father. It was sort of like visiting a toy store when she was little and picking out just the right Barbie doll. Only this time she was shopping for a Ken.

As much as she wanted a baby, finding its father in a catalog of sperm donors just didn’t feel right. But, even though she was a Certified Nurse Midwife and worked with mothers and babies every day, try as she might, Hannah just couldn’t figure out any other way to get a baby of her own. She’d spent months wrestling with the problem, but she was no closer to an acceptable answer than when she started.

She wanted a baby.

When she was young her foster mother, Irene, had had a parade of babies come through the house and Hannah learned to love everything about them. She loved their smell. She loved the feel of holding them. Okay, she didn’t love messy diapers, and wasn’t overly fond of spit-up, but those were minor annoyances that didn’t even begin to negate how wonderful babies were. And she’d always known that she wanted a baby of her own.

Hannah thumbed through the sperm bank catalog.

But much as she worried about the ticking of her biological clock, she just didn’t think this was the way to go about having a baby before it stopped ticking altogether.

Her intercom buzzed, pulling Hannah from her baby dreams.

“Hannah, there’s an Abel Kennedy here to see you?” There was more than a small question in the receptionist, Sharon’s, voice. An obstetric office was a place where men did not abound, especially men with their own appointments.

“Send him back.”

Hannah wouldn’t have confessed it to Sharon, but she was just a little curious herself about Abel Kennedy. The males who visited the Stephanson and Associates Obstetrics were either drug reps or were partners of patients. Mr. Kennedy had stated he was neither when he made the appointment. He said he had personal business with Hannah. But Hannah couldn’t place the name, and couldn’t imagine what personal business they could have together.

“You’ll tell me all about it later?” Sharon asked.

Hannah laughed. “No promises.”

“Okay, you’ll tell me if he’s pregnant though, right?” Sharon pressed. “I can supplement my income by selling the story to the tabloids.”

Hannah laughed. “Oh, show the man back.”

She slid her catalog under a stack of files. It might be one of the only options open to her, but she just didn’t think it would work. Clinical and impersonal. Hannah wanted more than that for her baby...if there ever was a baby.

There was a slight rap on the door and Sharon ushered in a gentleman. “Hannah, this is Mr. Kennedy.”

Mr. Kennedy was dark haired, dark eyed and was utterly gorgeous. Not too tall, she realized as she stood to shake his hand. But it didn’t take much to appear tall to Hannah’s five-four frame. Mr. Kennedy’s upper five foot range looked plenty tall enough to her.

“Mr. Kennedy, please have a seat.” He had that long, lanky build so many athletes had. Did he play a sport? If he did it would almost be worth sitting through a game just to watch him move, even though she was anything but a sports fan.

Yeah, she’d suffer through just about any type of sport if she got to watch this man in action on a court or field.

Hannah noticed Sharon lingered at the back of the room. “Thanks for showing Mr. Kennedy back, Sharon.”

“No problem.” The receptionist made no move to leave the office.

“You can go now,” Hannah said bluntly.

Sharon heaved a put-upon sigh and left, shutting the door behind her.

“Mr. Kennedy. I’m not sure what I can do for you...” Hannah just left the sentence hanging, waiting with almost as much curiosity as Sharon for his answer.

“I guess obstetric practices don’t get many men with appointments?” he asked with a killer smile on his face.

The man just looked better and better.

“Well,” she said hoping he didn’t notice she was noticing him, “men certainly do come with their partners, but solo males? No, we don’t see many of those. So what can I do for you today? I’ll confess, I’m curious.”

“It’s about some property you own.” He paused, then prompted, “Irene Cahill?”

There went Sharon’s story for the tabloids, Hannah thought as she smiled. “I know the property you’re referring to. Irene gave it to me, but it’s not really mine.”

Irene Cahill had been Hannah’s foster mother. She’d raised Hannah, and her friend Lucy, and mothered the parade of babies who were waiting to be adopted. When she’d moved to a Florida retirement community, she’d gave Hannah the three small lots downtown, knowing Hannah’s dream of building a health-center.

“I know about the health-center,” he said. “Irene told me about it.”

“I’m sorry, I’m not sure I understand.”

“I went to her to buy this property and she told me that she’d given it to you, and told me about your health-center,” he continued. “I’m here to offer to find some other property nearby for it, if you’ll sell me those lots.”

“I see.”

“I don’t think you do. I need that property. I can find you some other location that will more than suit your needs. I have to have these lots.”

“What’s so important about three small plots of property in an old neighborhood?”

“My partner and I are planning to bring new homes to that area. The new census figures show Erie needs new, more modern, housing in the city. The city is losing too many citizens to the suburbs. It’s time to bring them back into downtown Erie ...”

Hannah half-listened as Abel Kennedy jumped right into a subject that was obviously near and dear to his heart. He spoke at length about developing blocks of land, pushed figures at her about the viability of attracting young professionals to stay in the city. He talked about tax bases and investing in the city’s future.

Hannah heard very little of it. Instead, she studied him. Abel Kennedy was exactly what she wanted in a father for her baby. Too bad she hadn’t found someone like him in that catalog.
He spoke with passion. Passion was a good thing.

Hannah watched his movements. Graceful. In control. He was gorgeous. Tongue-hanging-out-of-the-mouth gorgeous. Eye candy, pure and simple.

And listening to him talk it was clear Abel Kennedy had a brain. A good one. So intelligence was no problem.

He looked healthy enough. A healthy father was important. The sperm people tested their donors. Abel Kennedy would more than likely pass his physical with flying colors.
Did he have a sense of humor? Not that it really mattered.
From a fantasy standpoint, Abel Kennedy would be a perfect candidate for fathering her baby. All she really needed was a living, breathing, healthy, intelligent male. Humor was just a bonus.
Abel Kennedy seemed to fit all her absolute requirements.

His schpiel had ended and the floor was Hannah’s. He sat back in his chair, obviously waiting for her response.

“A subdivision in the city, rather than in the suburbs? Well, yes, that has merit,” she managed, thankful she had caught that much while she indulged in her baby-fathering fantasies.

“And if we can buy up the entire nine block section, City Council will let us close off some of the through-streets. A real subdivision with no through-traffic. We need your property to make that happen.”

“Mr. Kennedy, I’ll have to think about it.”

“Ms. Harrington, I sell real estate, so I know that I should play it cool here, but I’m going to lay it on the line. I need this property and I’ll do whatever it takes to get you to sell. I’ll find you new property for your health-center. I’ll even make a healthy contribution to its building fund. I’ll pay a better than fair market cost for this property. Just tell me what it is you want, and I’ll do my best to see to it you get it.”

He paused, focused his complete attention on her and asked, “What is it you need?”

“Want and need. Two very different things. The only thing I want right now is a baby, and the only thing I need is someone to father it.”

Hannah’s mouth snapped shut. What on earth had she said? Maybe she’d only imagined she’d said it out loud.

“What?” Abel’s tense scrutiny gave way to surprise. No, more than surprise. Shock.

Nope, she had definitely said the sentence out loud. Airing her fantasies wasn’t what she’d planned.

She chuckled nervously and tried to think of something to say.

But her laughter died abruptly as she realized that, though she hadn’t meant to say the words, Abel Kennedy was a perfect solution to her baby-making problem. He was a perfect daddy candidate.
The sheer insanity and audacity of the thought hit her. She wanted to laugh again and assure the poor man that she’d just been joking.

But being sane and unassuming would never get her what she wanted. And Hannah Harrington wanted a baby. So she sucked in a fortifying breath and -- before she could change her mind -- blurted out, “I’d like you to consider fathering my baby.”

Book, Reviews, Excerpt

From the book: Ready, Willing and...Abel?
Raising Cain
By: Holly Jacobs
Imprint and Series: Harlequin Duets
Publication Date: 1/02
ISBN: 0-373-44133-9
Copyright © 2002
By: Harlequin Enterprises
® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher.
The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.
For more romance information surf to: http://www.eHarlequin.com


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