Charlie Feldman wants a baby. But where is he going to find the woman to bear him one? In a comic debut novel, narrated alternately by 44-year-old Charlie, a sportswriter for a Chicago daily, and Lacy, a 36-year- old single mom at the paper's advice desk, it's the guy, not the woman, who hears the ticking of a biological clock. The voices of both, though, are authentic and touching, displaying a raucous wit as well as Charlie's believable, desperate yearning for a child of his own. His dream, however, isn't likely to be fulfilled: Younger women are too young, and divorced moms his age don't want more kids, so what's a decent guy to do? Write a personal ad, perhaps, as per the advice of Lacy Gazzar. Meeting by chance at the paper, down-to-earth Lacy proves a sympathetic ear, especially as Charlie begins his dating merry-go-round. Considering their mutual attraction, Lacy is the obvious choice for Charlie, though she wants no part either of romance or babyhood. Pregnant at 18, she now has a teenaged, college-bound daughter of her own who's about to flee the nest, leaving Lacy free at last to pursue her own goal of a college education. But while Charlie's on the road following the home team, he and Lacy develop a close bond via the telephone, and an even closer one on an innocent camping trip that becomes transformed into moonlit passion. Accidentally pregnant again, Lacy is the answer to Charlie's dreams, a woman he loves providing a baby to come. But Lacy has other plans, like never seeing Charlie again after she hands over the baby for him to raise. With gritty humor, Markey builds a convincing story--and one that doesn't follow predictable lines. The only question is whether Lacy can stick to her resolution to stay away. With wit and warmth, newcomer Markey, a longtime syndicated humor columnist in the Chicago Sun-Times, gets the tone just right.