So, what makes an enjoyable “secret baby” romance? First, a child complicates things but must not overpower the romance, which should always take center stage. Second, the introduction of the baby into the plot must come at a pivotal moment. Our two protagonists need to care deeply about the child and be willing to make sacrifices to assure her well-being. And last, when all is said and done, the child should bring the hero and heroine together.
In Loretta Chase’s Not Quite a Lady, Lady Charlotte Hayward is seduced and gives birth at age seventeen. The child, a boy, is given to a “good” family to raise, but Charlotte secretly hopes that someday she’ll be reunited with him. After what happened, she’s determined never to marry. Darius Carsington, our hero, also has no intention of marrying. So, of course, the two meet and sparks fly. Just when the reader is wondering when the secret baby will ever make an appearance, the author reveals the child in a surprising and clever way. When the boy goes missing, Charlotte and Darius spring into action to find him, solidifying their trust in and love for each other.