"Heart of the West"

The Twenty-Four Hour Bride

The Perfect Solution by Day Leclaire
(Harlequin, $4.50, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-82594-3
Cute! That’s the word that pops into my mind when I think of Day Leclaire’s entry into the “Heart of the West” bachelor auction series. Unusual, too. Unlike the heroes in the previous books, Flynn Morgan was not one of the Lost Springs Ranch’s great successes. Oh sure, he now is a partner in a successful security firm. But his path to success was unorthodox, to say the least. Even though his memories of his time at the ranch are not the best, he feels that he owes an appearance at the auction. After all, he recognizes that most of his problems were all his own fault.

Imagine Flynn’s surprise when he is purchased by three elderly, eccentric gentlemen. Not what he had in mind. Hickory, Rube and Dogg are all brilliant chemists and they have bought Flynn for their niece, Jane Dearly, who is also a brilliant chemist. They think she needs security since her old boyfriend is hanging around trying to get his hands on her research. And they want Flynn to convince Jane that she needs protection. They also wouldn’t mind if he charms the dear girl a bit. She needs her spirits lifted.

Jane is down in the dumps because she can’t find any subjects for her latest experiment. She’s working on sex pheromones, those tricky little devils that lead to all sorts of interesting interactions between the male and female of a species. Jane has the idea that if she can create a perfume with just enough human female pheromones, she will indeed have made her mark as a chemist.

Flynn’s appearance on the scene does not thrill Jane. She really doesn’t think she needs a security system. But when Flynn agrees to be a subject in her experiment if she allows him to protect her lab, she decides that she’ll go along, in the interest of science, of course.

Cute, as I said. Jane is perhaps the stereotypical science nerd, who hasn’t taken much time to smell the roses. Flynn, the charming con man, is just the person to introduce her to the delights of fun. Of course, Flynn is also attracted to the lovely woman behind the facade of lab coats, glasses, and serious science. But is it real or is it pheromones, that is the question.

The three uncles, the nasty ex-boyfriend, the tolerant citizens of Salmon Bay, Washington, the lovable St. Bernard Dipstick, all provide additional opportunities for the gentle humor that pervades The Perfect Solution. Perhaps the brilliant scientist and the one-time ne’er do well are an unlikely couple, but Leclaire convinces us that sometimes opposites attract and that these two are each other’s perfect solution.

The Perfect Solution left me smiling and I think you’ll smile too.

--Jean Mason

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