Seriously, it is the worst trope out there. The only thing I can think of that is worse is the falling-in-love-with-her-rapist trope. I would like to take all the secret baby books, put them in a pile, and make a huge bonfire.
The heroines in these stories are flaming trash piles, with few exceptions. Terrible human beings, and yet I'm supposed to believe in an HEA let alone root for one?
The heroine in this book is no different. Terrible excuses for not telling the hero when she could. And had the nerve to sleep with him before being forced to come clean! Coupled with the heap of other lies she was keeping. I know I'm supposed to be horrified that the villain knocked her the fuck out. But seriously I was just glad someone did what I had been aching to reach through my speakers and do. Because that'll be the only comeuppance she gets.
Of course, much like all the other heroes in these stories he comes up reasons to forgive her. He understands her lame-ass reasons, and even takes blame upon himself. Gaaaaahhhh! *rips out hair* All so they can end up together when they shouldn't. I always wish the heroine would die or just fuck off in some way that the hero can claim his child and they can live happily ever after.
I hate this trope so much. HATE. The story for me becomes all about what the hero has missed in his child's life. He never gets any justice for that. It's never an HEA for me.
New rule: I flounce the hell out of secret baby books instead of trying to power through. The rage isn't worth it. I may stick around long enough to ascertain what the heroine did to try and find/notify the hero. But if it's not enough, or later she doesn't tell him when she has the opportunity I'm out.
To add insult to injury in this book the sex was so graphic. I liked this series because they were decent romantic suspense, light on sex and not graphic. Actual romance sex scenes. Then somewhere between the second and third book "cock" became Naughton's favorite word —judging by how much she uses it in her PNR series — and so now it is said constantly in this book. It's obnoxious as fuck. Romance doesn't need such graphic euphmisims.