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Claiming His Own (Harlequin Desire Series #2265)

Claiming His Own (Harlequin Desire Series #2265)

4.9 10
by Olivia Gates

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It is only an affair…or so they believe in this Billionaires and Babies tale from USA TODAY bestselling author Olivia Gates

From their first explosive night, Caliope Sarantos and Maksim Volkov agreed to no commitment, only pure pleasure. Then her pregnancy changed everything.

Though the Russian tycoon made the baby his heir, he disappeared from


It is only an affair…or so they believe in this Billionaires and Babies tale from USA TODAY bestselling author Olivia Gates

From their first explosive night, Caliope Sarantos and Maksim Volkov agreed to no commitment, only pure pleasure. Then her pregnancy changed everything.

Though the Russian tycoon made the baby his heir, he disappeared from Caliope's life. Now, he's back, offering everything he didn't in the past. But the shining promise of a happy ending is eclipsed by the shadow of his tragic past…and his dark future. Will Caliope's heart break again? Or will Maksim risk everything to claim this woman and child as his own?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"No one does seduction and reparation better than Gates."
—#1 New York Times bestselling author Sylvia Day

"Gates has a gift for writing multi-dimensional characters and emotionally driven stories that resonate and stay with readers...a beautiful love story that readers won't want to put down."
—RT BOOKReviews on Claiming His Own, 4 ½ stars, Top Pick

Product Details

Publication date:
Harlequin Desire Series , #2265
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

"And he never came back?"

Cali stared at Kassandra Stavros's gorgeous face. It took several disconcerted moments before she reminded herself her new friend couldn't possibly be talking about Maksim.

After all, Kassandra didn't even know about him. No one did.

Cali had kept their…liaison a secret from her family and friends. Even when declaring her pregnancy had become unavoidable, with Maksim still in her life, she'd refused to tell anyone who the father was. Even when she'd clung to the hope that he'd remain part of her life after her baby was born, their situation had been too…irregular, and she'd had no wish to explain it to anyone. Certainly not to her traditional Greek family.

The only one she knew who wouldn't have judged was Aristedes. Her, that was. He would have probably wanted to take Maksim apart. Literally. When he'd been in a similar situation, her brother had gone to extreme lengths to stake a claim on his lover, Selene, and their son, Alex. He'd consider any man doing anything less a criminal. His outrage would have been a thousand fold with her and his nephew on the other end of the equation. Aristedes would have probably exacted a drastic punishment on Maksim for shirking his responsibilities. Knowing Maksim, it would have developed into a war.

Not that she would have tolerated being considered Maksim's "responsibility," or would have let Aristedes fight her battle. Not when it hadn't been one to start with. She'd told Maksim he'd owed her nothing. And she'd meant it. As for Aristedes and her family, she'd been independent far too long to want their blessings or need their support. She wouldn't have let anyone have an opinion, let alone a say, in how she'd conducted her life, or the…arrangement she'd had with Maksim.

Then he'd disappeared, making the whole thing redundant. All they knew was that Leo's father had been "nothing serious."

Kassandra was now talking about another man in Ca-li's life who'd been a living example of "nothing serious." Someone who should also hold some record for Most Callous User.

Her father.

The only good thing he'd ever done, in her opinion, had been leaving her mother and his brood of kids before Cali had been born. Her other siblings, especially Aris-tedes and Andreas, had lifelong scars to account for their exposure to his negligence and exploitation. She'd at least escaped that.

She finally answered her friend, sighing, "No. He was gone one day and was never heard from again. We have no idea if he's still alive. Though he must be long dead or he would have surfaced as soon as Aristedes made his first ten thousand dollars."

Her friend's mouth dropped open. "You think he would have come back asking for money? From the son he'd abandoned?"

"Can't imagine that type of malignant nonparent, huh?"

Kassandra shrugged. "Guess I can't. My father and uncles may be controlling Greek pains, but it's because they're really hopeless mother hens."

Cali smiled, seeing how any male in the family of the incredibly beautiful Kassandra would be protective of her. "According to Selene, they believe you give them just cause for their Greek overprotectiveness to go into hyperdrive."

A chuckle burst on Kassandra's lips. "Selene told you about them, huh?"

Selene, Aristedes's wife and Kassandra's best friend, had told her the broad lines about Kassandra before introducing them to each other, confident they'd work spectacularly well together. Which they did. But they'd only started being more than business associates in the past two months, gradually becoming close personal friends. Which Cali welcomed very much. She did need a woman to talk to, one of her own age, temperament and interests, and Kassandra fulfilled all those criteria. Although Selene certainly fit the bill, too, ever since Cali had given birth to Leo, being around family, which Selene was now, had become too…uncomfortable.

So Kassandra had been heaven-sent. And though they'd been delving deeper in private waters every time they met, it was the first time they'd swerved into the familial zone.

Glad to steer the conversation away from herself, she grinned at her new confidante. "Selene only told me the basics, said she'd leave it up to you to supply the hilarious details."

Kassandra slid lower on the couch, her incredible hair fanning out against the cushions in a glossy sun-streaked mass, her Mediterranean-green eyes twinkling in amusement. "Yeah, I flaunted their strict values, their conservative expectations and traditional hopes for me. I wasted one huge opportunity after another of acquiring a socially enviable, deep-pocketed 'sponsor' to procreate with, to provide them with more perfect, preferably male progenies to shove onto the path of greatness, following my brothers' and cousins' shiningly ruthless example, and to perpetuate the romantic, if misleading, stereotype of those almighty Greek tycoons."

Cali chuckled, Kassandra's dry wit tickling her almost atrophied sense of humor. "They must have had collective strokes when you left home at eighteen and worked your way through college in minimum-wage jobs and then added mortification to worry by becoming a model."

Kassandra grinned. "They do attribute their blood-pressure and sugar-level abnormalities to my scandalous behavior. You'd think they would have settled down now that I've hit thirty and left my lingerie-modeling days behind to become a struggling designer."

Kassandra was joking here since at thirty she was far more beautiful than she'd been at twenty. She'd just become so famous she preferred to model only for causes now. And she was well on her way to becoming just as famous as a designer. Cali felt privileged to be a major part of establishing her as a household name through an innovative series of online ad campaigns.

Kassandra's generous lips twisted. "But no. They're still recycling the same nightmares about the dangers I must be facing, fending off the perverts and predators they imagine populate my chosen profession. And they're lamenting my single status louder by the day, and getting more frantic as they count down my fast-fading attractions and fertility. Thirty to Greeks seems to be the equivalent of fifty in other cultures."

Cali snorted. "Next time they wail, point them my way.

They'd thank you instead for not detonating their social standing completely by bearing an out-of-wedlock child."

A wicked gleam deepened the emerald of Kassandra's eyes. "Maybe I should. It doesn't seem I'll ever find a man who'll mess with my mind enough that I'd actually be willing to put up with the calamity of the marriage institution either for real, or for the cause of perpetuating the Stavros species. Not to mention that your and Selene's phenomenal tykes are making my biological clock clang."

Cali's heart twitched. Whenever Kassandra lumped her with Selene, it brought their clashing realities into painful focus. Selene, having two babies with the love of her life. And her, having Leo…alone.

"Being a single parent isn't something to be considered lightly," she murmured.

Contrition filled Kassandra's eyes. "Which you are in the best position to know. I remember how Selene struggled before Aristedes came back. As successful as she is, being a single mother was such a big burden to bear alone. Before her experience, I had this conviction that fathers were peripheral at best in the first few years of a child's life. But then I saw the night-and-day difference Aristedes made in Selene and Alex's lives…." She huffed a laugh. "Though he's no example. We all know there's only one of him on planet earth."

Just as Cali had thought there was only one of Maksim. If not because of any human traits…

But Aristedes had once appeared to be just as inhuman. In his case, appearances had been the opposite of reality.

Cali sighed again. "You don't know how flabbergasted I still am sometimes to see how amazing Aristedes is as a husband and father. We used to believe he was the phenomenally successful version of our heartless, loser father."

It had been one specific night in particular that she'd become convinced of that. The night Leonidas—their brother—had died.

As she and her sisters had clung together, reeling from the horrific loss, Aristedes had swooped in and taken complete charge of the situation. All business, he'd dealt with the police and the burial and arranged the wake, but had offered them no solace, hadn't stayed an hour after the funeral.

That had still been far better than Andreas, who hadn't returned at all, or even acknowledged Leonidas's death then or since. But it had convinced her that Aristedes, too, had no emotions…just like their father.

She'd since realized that he was the opposite of their father, felt too much, but had been so unversed in demonstrating his emotions, he'd expressed them instead in the support he'd lavished on her and all his siblings since they'd been born. But after Selene had claimed him, as he said, something fundamental had changed in him. He was still ruthless in business, but on a personal level, he'd opened up with his family and friends. And when it came to Selene and their kids, he was a huge rattle toy.

"So your father was that bad, huh?" Kassandra asked.

Cali took a sip of tea, loath to discuss her father. She'd always been glib about him. But it was suddenly hitting her how close to her own situation it all was.

She exhaled her rising unease. "His total lack of morals and concern for anything beyond his own petty interests were legend. He got my mother pregnant with Aristedes when she was only seventeen. He was four years older, a charmer who never held down a job and who only married her because his father threatened to cut him off financially if he didn't. He used her and the kids he kept impregnating her with to squeeze his father for bigger allowances, which he spent on himself. After his father died, he took his inheritance and left."

Cali paused for a moment to regulate her agitated breathing before resuming. "He came back when he'd squandered it, knowing full well that Mother would feed him and take care of him with what little money she earned or got from those who remained of her own family, those who'd stopped helping out when they realized their hard-earned money was going to that user. He drifted in and out of her and my siblings' lives, each time coming back to add another child to his brood and another burden on my mother's shoulders before disappearing again. He always came back swearing his love, of course, offering sob stories about how hard life was on him."

Chagrin filled Kassandra's eyes more with every word. "And your mother just took him back?"

Cali nodded, more uncomfortable by the second at the associations this conversation was raising.

"Aristedes said she didn't know it was possible for her not to. He understood it all, having been forced to mature very early, but could do nothing about it except help his mother. He was only seven when he was already doing everything that no-good father should have been doing while mother took care of the younger kids. By twelve he had left school and was working four jobs to barely make ends meet. Then when he was fifteen, said non-father disappeared for the final time when I was still a work in progress.

"Aristedes went on to work his way up from the docks in Crete to become one of the biggest shipping magnates in the world. Regretfully, our mother was around only to see the beginnings of his success, as she died when I was only six. He then brought us all over here to New York, got us American citizenships and provided us with the best care and education money could buy.

"But he didn't stick around, didn't even become American himself, except after he married Selene. But his success and all that we have now was in spite of what that man who fathered us did to destroy our lives, as he managed to destroy our mother. All in all, I am only thankful I didn't have the curse of having him poison my life as he did Aristedes's and the rest of my siblings'."

Kassandra blinked, as if unable to take in that level of unfeeling, premeditated exploitation. "It's mind-boggling. How someone can be so…evil with those he's supposed to care for. He did one thing right, though, even if inadvertently. He had you and your siblings. You guys are great."

Cali refrained from telling her that she'd always thought only Leonidas had been deserving of that accolade. Now she knew Aristedes was, too, but she felt her three sisters, though she loved them dearly, had been infected with a degree or another of their mother's passivity and willingness to be downtrodden. Andreas, sibling number five out of seven, was just…an enigma. From his lifelong loath interactions with them, she was inclined to think that he was far worse than anything she'd ever thought Aristedes to be.

But while she'd thought she'd escaped her mother's infection, perhaps she hadn't after all.

Apart from the different details, Cali had basically done with Maksim what her mother had done with her father. She'd gotten involved with someone she'd known she shouldn't have. Then, when it had been in her best interest to walk away, she'd been too weak to do so, until he'd been the one who'd left her.

But her mother had had an excuse. An underprivileged woman living in Crete isolated from opportunity or hope of anything different, a woman who didn't know how to aspire to better.

Cali was a twenty-first-century, highly educated, totally independent American woman. How could she defend her actions and decisions?

"Look at the time!" Kassandra jumped to her feet. "Next time, just kick me out and don't let little ol' kidless me keep you from stocking up on sleep for those early mornings with Leo."

Rising, Cali protested, "I'd rather have you here all night yammering about anything than sleep. I've been starving for adult company…particularly of the female variety, outside of discussing baby stuff with Leo's nanny."

Kassandra hugged her, chuckling as she rushed to the door. "You can use me any time to ward off your starvation."

After setting up a meeting to discuss the next phase in their campaign and to go over Cali's progress reports, Kassandra rushed off, and Cali found herself staring at the closed oak door of her suddenly silent apartment.

That all-too-familiar feeling of dejection, which always assailed her when she didn't have a distraction, settled over her like a shroud.

She could no longer placate herself that this was lingering postpartum depression. She hated to admit it, but everything she'd been suffering for the past year had only one cause.


She walked back through her place, seeing none of its exquisiteness or the upgrades she'd installed to make it suitable for a baby. Her feet, as usual, took her without conscious volition to Leo's room.

She tiptoed inside, though she knew she wouldn't wake him. After the first six sleepless months, he'd thankfully switched to all-night-sleeping mode. She believed taking away the night-light and having him sleep in darkness had helped. She now only had the corridor light to guide her, though she'd know her way to his bed blindfolded.

As her vision adjusted, his beloved shape materialized out of the darkness, and emotion twisted in her throat as it always did whenever she beheld him. It regularly blind-sided her, the power of her feelings for him.

He was so achingly beautiful, so frightfully perfect, she lived in dread of anything happening to him. She wondered if all mothers invented nightmares about the catastrophic potential of everything their children did or came in contact with or if she was the one who'd been a closet neurotic, and having Leo had only uncovered her condition.

Even though she was unable to see him clearly in the dark, his every pore and eyelash were engraved in her mind. If anyone had suspected she'd been with Maksim, they would have realized at once that Leo was his son. He was his replica after all. Just like Alex was Aristedes's. When she'd first set eyes on Alex, she had exclaimed that cloning had been achieved. Now their daughter Sofia was the spitting image of Selene.

Meet the Author

USA TODAY Bestselling author Olivia Gates has published over thirty books in contemporary, action/adventure and paranormal romance. She currently writes exotic, passionate modern-day fairytales for Harlequin Desire and dark, erotic paranormals for Harlequin Nocturne. She loves to hear from readers at oliviagates@gmail.com and connect with them on Facebook facebook.com/oliviagatesauthor, Twitter @Oliviagates. For her latest news visit oliviagates.com and oliviagates.blogspot.com/

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Claiming His Own 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
ssmommie75TB More than 1 year ago
I loved the way Olivia Gates wrote Claiming His Own. Maksim and Caliope seemed to have everything go wrong in their lives, so it was only fair that they get a Happily Ever After, once they worked things out and started actually speaking to each other
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hooked_on_romance More than 1 year ago
Claiming His Own is an emotional read with a strong heroine and an alpha hero who, despite himself, despite conflicts with the heroine, and despite all other circumstances, is passionately and unwaveringly in love with her. The author brings the tears, and she brings the heat.  Most of all, she brings the love that dries the readers' tears and makes everything better again. Caliope Sarantos lives in the shadow of her mother's weakness for Cali's father, who showed up in their lives only long enough to impregnate Cali's mother and spend all the money she had scraped and earned for her children before he left them again to fend for themselves.  He left the family for the last time just before Cali's birth.  As a result, she is determined that she will never be her mother; she will never be emotionally vulnerable to a man.  To her, commitment is nothing more than a setup for mediocrity and disappointment. She has never met a man who tempted her to explore physical intimacy.  However, the heart wants what it wants, regardless of what the head knows is smart. When Cali meets Maksim Volkov, a Russian steel tycoon, at a charity gala, the attraction between them is instantaneous and explosive. Within an hour, she finds herself on the way to his presidential hotel suite. After the intensity of her first night with him, she realizes that it could never be a one-night stand, so she forges an agreement with him to protect herself. They will be together whenever their schedules allow and for as long as they mutually desire each other.  Maksim, a man with quite a playboy reputation, adds one surprising requirement of his own: mutual exclusivity. For his part, Maksim is harboring his own secrets. What Maksim does not tell her is that he fears that he will become like his father and his father's paternal lineage: an abuser.  His father had been cold and abusive to Maksim's mother and to him, as his father's father had been and so on far into the history of his family.  He fears that abusiveness is in his genetic makeup and that, if he is too involved in a child's life, he will be unable to stop himself from becoming abusive as well. So when Cali learns that, despite using precautions religiously, she is pregnant, she is sure that her decision to keep the baby will mark the end of her relationship with Maksim.  Maksim, however, has some surprises up his sleeve as well. At times, this story has you weeping for Maksim and at other times for Cali; sometimes you weep for both of them.  Between these times, they share a bond so potent and overwhelming that you cannot resist turning to the next page, even when it’s after 2:30am and you know the 6:10 alarm will come all too soon! If you like stories with big personalities and full of bold, sweeping passions that will keep your emotions on edge throughout, Claiming His Own is definitely  the book you want to read! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When Caliope Sarantos becomes entangled with sexy Russian steel tycoon Maksim Volkov she knows pleasure is in the cards. Their attraction is nothing short of a conflagration. Far from burning itself out, her desire for him only grows stronger the longer they remain together. But the all-consuming entanglement implodes when Cali finds she’s pregnant. She shares the news with Maksim only to be slammed with heartbreak when he insists he does not want to be a part of his child’s life. Maksim remains with Cali for a while, but he disappears before the birth of their son. Cali is shaken when Maksim returns after an accident hoping to spend time with her and their infant. What ensues is an amazing tale of hope, redemption, and the power of love. Olivia Gates delves into complex emotions as Maksim struggles to overcome his belief that he is destined to be an abuser like his father and grandfather before him. Ms. Gates’ tough yet tender-hearted hero is driven to protect the ones he loves from himself. The gorgeous, feisty Cali is every bit his match; tough enough to guide him through his tumultuous journey as he learns to overcome his misconceptions. She shows Maksim the happily ever after he didn’t dare hope could be possible can indeed be a reality. Ms. Gates is a gem amongst storytellers, but she has outdone herself with Claiming His Own. Brimming over with blazing hot passion and intensely emotional moments, this book will surely earn a spot on your keeper shelf.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this story.....brought me to tears a few times!
Debby236 More than 1 year ago
Calliope Sarantos finds Maksim Volkov to be incredibly sexy and the two embark on a no holds barred affair with only a few rules. Their affair is to be about pleasure with no commitment. All that changes when Calliope finds herself pregnant. Maksim agrees to give the baby his name but not himself. He disappears from her life before the baby is born. When he returns, Maksim offers everything he denied before, but Calliope is not sure she wants to take a chance. A tragedy from his past threatens her future happiness. Calliope is not sure she should allow him the chance to potentially hurt her again. Olivia Gates lands her magic to the Billionaires and Babies series with Claiming His Own. Maksim suffered so much and wanted only the best for Calliope, but instead he only wound up hurting her more. The love between the two was very strong but Maksim’s past interfered. It was uncertain through parts of the book if Maksim would become the hero we love but he redeemed himself in the end, particularly when he learned of his past and his noble intentions. Another great love story to entertain us for the coming cold nights, Claiming His Own by Olivia Gates will take its place as another great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A hot sexy Russian hero, a super fabulous plot with lots of twists and turns and an explosive ending that will leave you in complete awe, yes this book had it all and so much more. Definitely one of the most intense reads of the year! The book tells the story of Caliope and Maksim, brought together by a fierce attraction their raging passionate nights leads to Cali becoming pregnant but instead of the normal he will do anything to be with her and the baby the author took this read in a whole other direction. Maksim will claim the child as his heir but does not want to be part of it's life, but he will be around for Cali as long as she will have him. So when he suddenly disappears Cali is convinced something terrible happened to him, after all he said he would be with her till their passion fades with the baby only in the background ( yes I know this sounds incredible and believe me it was the plot of the year). A year goes by and suddenly Maksim is back, but standing on Cali's doorstep is not the man she fell in love with, he is only half the man she knew, when he reveals the reason for leaving Cali is not only in shock but also a state of utter confusion., Maksim wants her and the baby and a marriage. Why now and not before? And how is she meant to make this decision without it being a direct reflection to her mother's past? The character of Maskim was truly mind blowing-ly fascinating! I truly could not get enough of this hero. Strong, sexy and confident the one minute and helpless and a heap of sorrow the next. His reasoning for taking off then just popping back up made him a very intriguing hero and his kind and caring nature touched my heart. But what I found most fascinating was the inner battle he fights with himself in wanting to be with Cali but not wanting to hurt her. This reminded me that in real life it is what each and everyone of us do, we want, need and crave but in an attempt to not face failure we try to control the future and of course this is impossible and in the process our attempts cause more damage. The character of Cali was brilliant. Strong and always ready to push for what she wants and needs, but also always alert to know when it is time to stop pushing and rather start re-directing those in her life ready to meddle in her happiness. I absolutely adored how the author let Cali have this hangup with her mother and the actions she takes in life, it showed her as I think most woman are, afraid to turn into their mothers yet when faced with similar circumstances the true understanding into their mothers actions becomes a clear and very vivid reality, opening the road to understanding. The backdrop settings were simply amazing! Each and every setting was mouthwatering, laced with so much vivid description it left me in a state of wonder and wanting to be right there to see what was being described, but with the exquisite descriptions it was as if I truly was! The dialogue was filled with such heartbreaking emotion and intensity it left me in tears more than once both of sorrow and joy. The most amazing of all was the twists and turns of this read, just when I thought I had it figured out the author would take it to a whole new level which reminded me that this is exactly what real life is like, it is never the perfect road , and therefore this read was as real as it gets and I found it simply brilliant. But it did also leave me with quite a number of stares in my direction when a twist happened and I would shout out a big ear piercing "NO!" yes I truly believe the others in the room thought me completely mad. For me this just meant that the author truly wrote a masterpiece and I was completely entranced. I am taking away a message of  tragedy can strike at any time and our perfect happy lives can become bleak and meaningless but we have no control of the when or where or what and for this reason it is of the highest importance to always live each day to the fullest and be with the ones we love for tomorrow they may be gone. I highly recommend this read for all fans of romance so intense and filled with the wonder of life, you will be in trapped in world of pure brilliant romance! Sensual, sexy, passionate, spicy and simply beautiful! 5 star review " Claiming his family brings him back to life" 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is truly the first romance book I read that followed that trajectory in relationship between hero and heroine, making Aram and Kanza unique for me. And they were the best in every stage. I laughed out loud so many times and shed tears when all seemed lost. But my jaw dropped when the twists kept coming, as Kanza the unpredictable didn't behave like it's expected from romance heroines and believed in her man, when any other would have run screaming, making everything worse. And Aram....oh, Araaaam! He's so absolutely luscious...alpha all the way yet with a fathomless need for love and belonging and a gigantic heart.  I can't recommend this book enough!
PrincessFiona More than 1 year ago
Reading Olivia Gates books are like serving up the most decadent over the top dessert and then adding sprinkles on top. They are almost too much. The smex scenes sizzle, the emotions are full on, the language is often almost poetical. In some ways they remind me of Violet Winspear if she'd been allowed to write Smexytimes. This is one of the most emotional category reads I've come across for a while. Maksim and Caliope are lovers but neither want to get too involved because of the tragedies in their past. When Caliope gets pregnant, it changes everything. Maksim at first seems to be prepared to take responsibility without becoming emotionally involved but then he vanishes entirely for almost a year. The story really gets going when he returns but Caliope is reluctant to take him back. What follows is a roller coaster ride of emotions. This books made me cry more than once. Maksim is a fascinating hero. Underneath his steely facade is a cauldron of seething emotion, for Caliope and for his son Leo. Caliope is a strong woman but is reluctant to take a chance on Maksim, afraid that it will make her weak. I really enjoyed every bit of this story, even the bits that made me cry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book tells the story of the unexpected and passionate relationship between Selene and Aris. It has all the basic flavor of our Harlequin novels, but with Olivia we always have more. The word that defines Olivia's heroes is INTENSE. They're not afraid to feel, to surrender. They live the passion completely on edge. In some moments I was breathless, sighing like a fool with things that Aris said to Selene. Oww this Selene is a lucky woman! He is completely in love with her and to their little boy, Alex. Aris is just so cute when he is with his son. And folks, LOOK THAT COVER! Who does not want this adorable baby and this handsome Daddy all to yourself? I wanted them at the first moment! I'm bonkers for books with babies and Olivia is one of the best authors to write about it. I am COMPLETELY recommending this book!