CLAIMING HIS OWN – Olivia Gates
Billionaires and Babies Series
Harlequin Desire #2265
Contemporary Series Romance
New York City and Russia – Present Day
Eighteen months ago, when Caliope Sarantos discovered she was pregnant with billionaire Maksim Volkov's baby, he turned his back on her. Now a single mom to Leo, she's stunned one night to find Maksim on her doorstep. Should she let him back into her life and possibly face heartbreak again? He tells her that he was afraid there was an abusive gene running in his family and then about his horrifying accident that happened shortly after he left her. But now he wants to make amends and be a part of his son's life—and offers marriage. Should Cali accept his apologies and proposal?
Maksim's father was a beast who destroyed a family, and he doesn't want history to repeat itself, so he walked away for the better of Cali and their child. But the accident changed him and made him realize that life is precious and one must take chances. Yet his abandonment of a pregnant Cali has left its mark on her; she's afraid if she gives in that he will eventually leave again. Her first priority is her son, but an instant connection between father and son ensues, making it difficult to keep Maksim away. When they travel to Russia so that Leo can meet his grandmother, the magic of love and being given a chance at a future together soon envelopes them.
Cali understands the pain that Maksim has gone through as her own family has experienced heartache. The moment they met that fateful night, the passion exploded furiously and pulled them into an affair with no thought of what the future would bring. The pregnancy wasn't planned, but instead of it drawing them closer, Maksim informed Cali that he could not be a part of his child's life. Cali held out hope, but in the seventh month of her pregnancy he disappeared, never to be heard from again until now. Hence, one can understand Cali's reluctance to let Maksim back in her life. What if he decides—once again—that he doesn't want to be a part of Leo's life? Slowly and surely he brings about acceptance into his son's life, and Cali soon can't resist returning to his bed. Maksim has experienced the dark side of life, but Cali and Leo show him the way to the light of life—and a future together as a family. Or will tragedy play a part due to Maksim's many issues?
CLAIMING HIS OWN is a standalone story, but it's connected to THE SARANTOS SECRET BABY (Desire #2080). Having not read the first tale, I didn't have any trouble following this one; in fact, it made me curious to want to read Cali's brother Aris and his wife Selene's story. The Sarantos family is rich and has plenty of power, but Maksim is richer and more powerful. There is definitely a bit of a power play going on here between the two men. Will Cali be caught in the middle?
The timeline for CLAIMING HIS OWN takes place over several months, so this allows time for Cali to become comfortable again about Maksim, because she certainly has legitimate reasons to not trust him. CLAMING HIS OWN takes readers to Russia, a country where few romance readers have ventured, so it was nice to “visit” uncharted territory. The sex scenes sizzle, yet it is the heavy emotion that underlies Maksim's reasons for abandoning Cali and Leo that will capture your heart. Grab a hanky or two and be prepared to fall in love with this Russian billionaire in CLAIMING HIS OWN.