by Patrice Michelle, contemporary (2007)
Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 1-59998-596-9
Susanna's Seduction is a simple story of courtship with no distractions from dead bodies, stolen valuables, or overlong sex scenes with furry animals. It's pretty much an old-school story in the sense that this one is all about the love and romance.
Susanna "Sensible Susan" Brennon's brother Jason is getting married and she is inevitably roped into the wedding preparations. When she tries to sort out the menu with the caterer, an upscale Italian place called Piccoli's, she meets the manager and owner, Michael Piccoli. Michael is a dream - he knows all the names of those expensive wines and no doubt gets to spell them and the word "sommelier" in spelling bees without breaking a sweat or using a pretentious French accent. Hooking up with him pretty much guarantees yummy meals that you don't have to cook for life, plus he's hot and his bank account is even hotter. Since Susan is neither brain-damaged nor masochistic, she agrees to go on a date with him.
The story pretty much chronicles all those romantic things Michael do to woo Susan, who he has pretty much fallen for at first sight. I like that he wants to take the time to know Susan before he breaks out the expensive ring but to be honest, I'm not sure that he knows Susan all that well when he finally proposes to her at the end. Still, he's sweet. As long as Susan can avoid signing a prenuptial agreement, she's all golden. Some of the things Michael does can be quite stalker-like and his dialogs often have that unfortunate cheesy "smarmy European gentleman" vibe to them but since he's nuts about her and he often comes off like a besotted puppy (a rich besotted puppy), what's not to love? It is also a nice bonus that Susan comes off like a sane heroine without having some kind of bizarre or exaggerated sexual hang-up.
Susanna's Seduction is a simple story of a fairytale courtship. It's not the deepest story around nor will it be the love story that I will remember for days to come, but I have to say that this story is a pretty enjoyable vicarious trip for as long as it lasts.
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