Prescription for Seduction, one of the ‘Return to Tyler' series, uses the theme of the Ugly Ducking, and it works, mainly because the heroine doesn't change physically as much as she develops self-confidence and grit. Unrequited love will only go so far, as she discovers.
Florist Eden Frazier has been in love with Brady Spencer since she was a child. Her hero rescued her and soothed her childhood hurts. She's seeing a lot of Brady lately. He comes to her shop late at night, ordering flowers as a surprise for various people. He's known as the Flower Phantom. In less complimentary terms, he's known as Dr. Devine and Dr. Meet and Mate, a reference to his love ‘em and leave ‘em approach. Now a physician, Brady considers Eden a friend, but never has thought of her as a woman.
When Brady is seen leaving Eden's shop, people in Tyler begin to draw the wrong conclusions. Are Brady and Eden dating? Getting serious? The gossip is so rampant that Brady feels remorse for sullying Eden's reputation. His remedy for repairing her reputation is to stop seeing her. For a doctor, he's a bit dense at times.
Eden is able to convince Brady that their friendship is important. She's then taken under a well-meaning friend's wing and given a make-over. She's amazed that today's bras can give her cleavage. A new hairstyle and some more flattering clothes begin to garner her more attention, all positive. Feeling sexy and self-confident, she gathers her courage and decides to let Brady know that he's the ‘one'.
Just so you won't be surprised, here's a direct quote that headlines the back blurb. "What's the Sexy Doctor Doing with the Town Virgin?"
Yeah . . . yeah, this is a familiar plot. What sets it apart is Darlene Scalera's ability to make the characters seem real and approachable. Eden was raised by elderly parents and has always been quiet and unassuming. She's a gentle soul who's never really looked past the reflection in the mirror to the fascinating woman below.
Brady is a bit more problematic. An incident from his childhood has warped his ability to feel loved and needed. He considers that he's basically a loner, never meant for Happily Ever After. Various revelations change him from a clueless dunderhead to a caring, considerate man. The revelations and changes all make sense, which is another reason this book works.
Something that didn't work for me and it's entirely my own fault is Tyler
itself. Lots of residents make appearances, some so often that I think that they must have had their own story. That lack of background information has me skimming a lot in the beginning. Gradually I placed most people and was able to make some sense of things. If you're a ‘Return to Tyler' reader, then I'm sure you'll recognize familiar faces. You're in for another book next month. Two of the secondary characters will be featured in the next
Tyler book. You can spot them; they're the ones circling around each other.
Perhaps I was just in the mood for a story of gentle people who finally recognize and accept what's been in front of them for years. Perhaps the depth of the characters snagged me. Maybe it was the occasional burst of wry humor that tickled my fancy. Whatever the reason, I like Prescription for Seduction.