DESTINY'S SURRENDER - Beverly Jenkins
Wilhelmina (Billy) is a whore at the Black Pearl. Her favorite customer is Andrew Antonio Yates, a local lawyer, who treats her kindly, presents her with gifts, and takes her places like the opera besides providing glorious sexual encounters. She knows her position, and she can never dream of anything more than she has, but is disappointed when Drew tells her he won't see her for eight or more months. After he has been gone several months, Billy finds herself pregnant. She tells her proprietress, Madam Pearl, that she plans to keep the baby. Because so many men enjoy Billy, the woman decides to allow this, but Billy will pay for her keep with housekeeping and the many dresses and other gifts she has been given. Later, for the last few months of her pregnancy, Billy goes to stay with the house's healer and herbalist, Addy, who is also clairvoyant. The two get along very well and both have reason to hate Madame Pearl's son, the despicable and dangerous Prince DuChance. Billy has a year until Madam Pearl expects to find her child adoptive parents. By then Billy knows that Addy, she, and her baby Antonio, named after the man she now knows is his father, are in danger. She flees for her life, taking Tonio with her.
As much as Drew enjoyed his time with Billy, he must find a respectable wife. He comes from a wealthy and socially elite Afro-American-Spanish mix family with many acres of ranch land. He finally finds a woman whom he thinks he can live with (although her mother is another story). At the engagement party, Billy shows up with a child she claims is his son. He never expected her to be a gold-digger. Only his mother Alanza listens to Billy, who promises to leave and never come back if Tonio is kept safe.
Cultural changes are coming to California, but Drew is a stalwart man who, once he has given his love, doesn't hide it. Billy is a surprising woman all the way around, courageous, truthful, and despite her past and her own upbringing, a loving, protecting mother and more (surprise!). Nor does she ever deny her past. Prince DuChance is an inherently amoral and evil man who is a perfect foil to Drew. Many characters from the first volume, DESTINY'S EMBRACE, appear in this story, providing background and history. Once I was over the shock of the heroine beginning as a prostitute, DESTINY'S SURRENDER became an extraordinary romance story, which shows author Beverly Jenkins skillful talent.