by Alisha Rai, contemporary (2010)
Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-60928-047-5
Alisha Rai's Veiled Seduction features a cop and a doctor, both of whom are ripped off particularly dramatic episodes of NYPD Blue and ER respectively. Dr Maira Khan is a medical genius as she is, at 24, the youngest doctor at the hospital where she works. Sasha Karimi is the guy who has always viewed her as a sister when all she wants to do is to play doctor with him - okay, that is bad, but you know I have to say it. As you can predict, Sasha has a swelling he'd love to have Dr Maira look at - hey, stop throwing stones at me - but these two have no idea that the other person is feeling the way they do.
In this story, the catalysis for their rocketing from friend-zone to third base is someone shooting at kids, which causes their worlds to collide as Sasha becomes a hero and ends up in Dr Maira's hospital. Suddenly, they realize the intensity between them. The kisses are amazing, and the next thing you know, they are indulging in some rather familiar Harlequin Presents-style drama.
The plot of this story isn't much, the exploitation of a situation of grave tragedy to kick start a romance aside. The major internal conflict between them is pretty silly, actually, but still, the relationship between Sasha and Maira have some genuine moments of warmth and tenderness underneath the glaze of contrivance that blankets the whole story. The characters are pretty familiar but the chemistry between them manage to make them more likable than boring.
This story is readable, but it is also rather anticlimatic to realize that the last few chapters of this book fizzle out into mostly sex scenes sequenced one after the other. The momentum has long dissipated by this stage. I'm sorry to say that the love scenes aren't hot enough to prevent me from yawning a little and wondering why this story is taking so long to finish when the most pressing conflicts seem to be concluded a while ago.
To conclude, Veiled Seduction is a familiar premise and it boasts some familiar characters, but there are some chemistry and romantic moments that make the story work for a while. But the story eventually fizzles out considerably in the later chapters. All in all, a decent but rather uneven read.
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