Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Claiming His Own - Olivia Gates (HD #2265 - Nov 2013)

Series: Billionaires and Babies

It is only an affair...or so they believe 

From their first explosive night, Caliope Sarantos and Maksim Volkov agreed to no commitment, only pure pleasure. Then her pregnancy changed everything. 

Though the Russian tycoon made the baby his heir, he disappeared from Caliope's life. Now, he's back, offering everything he didn't in the past. But the shining promise of a happy ending is eclipsed by the shadow of his tragic past...and his dark future. Will Caliope's heart break again? Or will Maksim risk everything to claim this woman and child as his own?

There is so much angst in this story that it was occasionally hard to read, but worth sticking it out.  The affair between Cali and Maksim was explosive.  They had agreed to stay clear of any kind of commitment and it was working well for them - until Cali got pregnant.  At that point Maksim's actions became very erratic.  He told Cali that he would make sure that the baby would be his heir and she would be taken care of but he could not be part of their daily lives, though he still wanted to be her lover for as long as she'd have him.  Then he would leave for awhile, then come back as if nothing was wrong.  Finally, when she was about seven months along, he disappeared completely.  Cali was heartbroken and desperate to find out what had happened to him, giving up only when she gave birth.  When Leo was nine months old, Maksim suddenly reappeared, ready to explain what had happened and to give Cali everything she had dreamed of.  But there are still obstacles to their happiness.

Cali was an amazingly strong woman.  The chemistry between her and Maksim was strong and she had started to develop feelings for him before her pregnancy.  His actions afterward confused her and she didn't know what to do.  When he disappeared all she wanted was to find out if he was ok, but heard nothing from him.  After Leo was born she put her life back together and was moving on when Maksim suddenly reappeared.  He is explains what sent him running and she is ready to accept him back into her life until he tells her one more thing.  She is afraid of losing him all over again but cannot deny him the chance to get to know his son.  I loved the way that she does everything she can to make it easier on Maksim to spend time with Leo.  The more time he spends with them the closer she comes to giving him her entire heart. I liked the way that the more she saw of him with Leo and also with his mother the more she was convinced that he could never be like his father. When tragedy nearly takes him from her again she has to decide if she's willing to accept his limits or hold out for everything.

Maksim has a terrible secret eating away at any chance he has for a future with Cali.  He comes from a long line of abusers and desperately fears that he could become one also.  The strength of his passion for Cali makes him fear that other passions could overwhelm him.  When he finds out about her pregnancy his fears overcome him.  As much as he tries to stay away to protect her his passion for her keeps drawing him back, until finally he forces himself to stay away.  When he shows up again a year later he has finally gotten a handle on his fears and is ready to offer her his heart.  He is dismayed when she refuses to accept him back into her life, but does get her to allow him to get to know his son.  He would like nothing more than to become a proper family but accepts her demands.  I loved seeing the way that he became such a wonderful father, willing to do anything that Cali told him to do.  I also loved the way he accepted whatever her family wanted to say to him as being deserving of it.  Maksim's obvious love for Leo and the care he takes of his mother make it obvious that he could never be an abuser, but it takes a lot to convince him.  Then his health issues cause him to try to drive Cali away in an attempt to protect her from grief.  He nearly throws away his chance for a happy future because of a possibility.

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