Argentinian Playboy, Unexpected Love-Child
by Chantelle Shaw, contemporary (2009)
Harlequin Mills & Boon, £3.19, ISBN 978-0-263-87420-4


Argentinian Playboy, Unexpected Love-Child features a same old story that you will be most familiar with if you have read enough of series romances: boy meets girl, the boy knocks up the girl, and the boy then calls the girl a whore. The year is 2009; I can only wonder just what kind of audience books like these are targeted at.

The "infamous Argentinian" is Diego Ortega while the heroine, endearingly termed "the pregnant stable-girl" by the synopsis at the back cover of this book, is Rachel Summers. He is a "billionaire polo player" while she is, naturally, the white-trash virgin who looks like a Barbie doll. She also has no capacity for human libido until she meets the hero, so the Barbie doll comparison is not that far off after all. She is such an adorable young lady who had no interest in boys because she was too busy trying to qualify for the polo team in the next Olympics.

They spend the first few chapters of this book arguing because Rachel has this "innate stubbornness", as Ms Shaw calls it, which sees her going against common sense and Diego's sensible advice. She injures herself early on in the story, but she will insist that she is fine even when she's hurting all over. Fooling nobody, she then gets angry when Diego bans her from tending to his horses as a result of her injury, to the point that she actually sides with the guy that gives her the creeps just because she wants to spite Diego. But Diego likes her a lot anyway because she's innocent and she's also described several times as looking much younger than her age of 22. Eeeuw. How cute.

Rachel has never felt desire, Ms Shaw claims with a straight face, until she meets Diego. But her mother had married several times, and Rachel now has issues about putting out to men... but because this is the first time she feels desire, she pretty much puts out to Diego within the first few chapters of their meeting anyway. OMG WHAT A WHORE. How cute, she's such a weak-willed whore with no self control like her mother after all that is said and done a lovable innocent like that. She then spends some time moping about the shame of being a man's mistress, they break up, she realizes that she's knocked up, and he accuses her of being a whore because clearly she must have slept with someone else while they were apart.

The rest of the story proceeds down a familiar path. It turns out that we can't blame Diego for being an ass, you see, because his mother made him like that. Meanwhile, Rachel begins to mope again because to her, it's so obvious that Diego loves her kid rather than her, so ooh, how sad. She has whored herself to an ass without even getting paid for her services, what a loser, ha ha ha! I can only shed tears of sorrow for her. If this is how she behaves, can you imagine how she will deal with the stress of being a mother and a wife later on in this marriage?

From the antiquated use of a woman's promiscuity as a reflection of her lack of morals while allowing promiscuous men a free pass to the tired use of big misunderstanding plot device to the presence of bizarre Madonna/whore characterization of women to the presence of two main characters that must have come from another galaxy, Argentinian Playboy, Unexpected Love-Child is exactly what you may expect from a series romance of this line. Whether you read this to get genuine pleasure or a sadistic thrill from being subjected to a story of this sort depends on the kind of reader you are. Me, I wish I have a polo stick that I can put to good use on this book.

Rating: 45


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