by Jackie Lau
Series: Fong Brothers #1
Publisher: Jackie Lau Books
Publication Date: May 26, 2020
I received an advance review copy of this book from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
I’ve got a pretty great life, if I do say so myself. I made a fortune when I sold my tech start-up, and I’ve spent the years since partying, drinking, and inviting a parade of women into my bed.
I should be happy, but I feel an annoying lack of fulfillment, and there’s no way I’m going back to the work I did before.
At a friend’s party, I meet Marissa. We have hot sex against the door and agree to spend the weekend together. Just one weekend. I never expect to see her again.
Except now she’s pregnant with my baby…and I think this is the solution to all my problems. This is what will bring meaning to my life. I’m going to be a devoted father and husband.
Marissa—whose last name I still don’t know—wants me to be involved, though she rejects my marriage proposal. But before the baby arrives, I’m going to prove to her that I can be something other than a playboy.
And the rare times I set my mind to something, I don’t fail…
Content warnings: View Spoiler »accidental pregnancy (characters used condoms), MC’s mother has health scare prior to start of book (benign tumor), MC’s father died when she was a child, depression, burnout (prior to book but described), MC had previous abortion (prior to book) « Hide Spoiler
Ever since reading Mr. Hotshot CEO, I’ve wanted a book about Vince, the guy who refused to return his workaholic brother’s cellphone unless he attended an orgy with him. Accidental pregnancy books are usually not my thing, but Jackie Lau has a knack for exploring tropes, and I thought this navigated the issues I usually have with them quite well. While I reread Mr. Hotshot CEO before reading this book, this would work fine as a standalone.
“You need something to do in life other than spoil my daughter,” Julian says.
“Ah, that reminds me. I should head out—I have an orgy to attend.”
Even though Vince and Marissa hooked up at a friend’s party and had a steamy hot weekend, they never expect to meet up again – that is, until Marissa discovers she’s pregnant. She figures Vince won’t want much to do with the kid anyway, but for Vince, the baby seems like the answer to his question of what to do with his life. But Marissa’s not so sold on the whole idea – a baby does not a relationship make. Can Vince convince her that he’d make the perfect partner and husband before the baby arrives?
Sure, Vince cultivates the whole playboy persona, but that’s not all he is. After five years building up his Silicon Valley tech company, he burned out bad and has spent the time since selling it trying to recover and find a new purpose in life. Sure, there’s lots of parties, but he also loves spending time with his family, especially his baby niece Evie. If I had to pick one word to describe Vince, it would be impulsive. Once he finds out Marissa’s pregnant, he’s elated – and immediately wants to marry her, despite not even knowing her last name.
“I thought life was supposed to get more straightforward as you got older. Instead, I feel more confused.
The one thing that’s straightforward, however, is that my body always responds to his.”
Marissa is (obviously!) surprised and reluctant to marry just because they’re having a kid together. She wants a relationship built on love like her parents had before her dad died. Plus, while his single-minded devotion to fulfilling her pregnancy cravings (including multiple matcha double fromage cheesecakes) is sweet and romantic, she’s uncomfortable with her and the baby being his sole source of meaning in life. I thought this was an interesting role reversal, that Marissa is balanced and logical while Vince is flighty, plus in romance it’s usually women who are the ones who think marriage and family are their keys to happiness and fulfillment. Vince worries that beneath all the flash, he’s not lovable – that people only like him because he’s fun to have around, not because of who he is as a person. It’s not that Marissa doesn’t think she could ever fall in love with him, it’s that she doesn’t really know him, and on paper, he’s the exact opposite of what she’s looking for in a partner. Luckily there’s plenty of food runs, dates and family get-togethers for them to get to know each other.
One of my favorite things about Jackie Lau’s writing (besides the food) is the way she writes families. The Fongs continue to be hilarious, especially Po Po, and it was nice to see Courtney and Julian again and meet baby Evie. That family warmth is special to Marissa, too, especially since she grew up the only child of a single parent. While she doesn’t regret her childhood, she wants something different for her kid, and she also has to come to terms with the death of her father while she’s negotiating her relationship with the father of her child. The balance between serious issues and light humor is well done, as always.
There’s a combination to Jackie Lau’s books that really appeals to me – the delicious food, the emotional authenticity of the characters, the humor – and this is another wonderful addition. I can’t wait to see what happens with the remaining Fong brother!