Bantam Loveswept, $3.50, ISBN 0-553-44547-2
Contemporary Romance, 1996
I have no idea whose smart idea it is to put that man on the cover. Dr Marshall Devlin is tall, speaks with a British accent, and is all over gorgeous. The man on the cover looks as if he’s the sort who drinks six glasses of alcohol before noon.
Anyway, Dr Marshall Devlin is a brilliant surgeon, but he forgoes a chance at driving a Porsche to be a small-town doctor at Sunrise Key. Now, he finds himself playing Doc Hollywood to sick people as well as James Herriott to cows and horses. The man even takes up vet classes at college to improve his foal-delivery skills. Awww.
And he has a secret. He is in love with his best friend’s sister Leila Hunt for a while now. Leila and he started out adversaries for reasons best known to adolescents, but now, oh, he wants to know her better. But Leila is marrying boring Elliot and she sees Marsh as nothing but an icy, condescending British bore. But when Leila returns to Sunrise Key for a brief vacation, Doc here will do his best to make her stay for good.
During a fancy-dressed party, Marsh dresses up as a ninja and gives Leila a firecracker of a kiss. Leila, dazed, decides to track down this mysterious ninja with her friend Frankie the PI. Alas, so now Marsh has another dilemma. How on earth will he tell her it’s this boring icy Brit who set her hormones to macarena line-dancing that night?
The reason I gave this book a nice rating is because I am utterly taken by Dr Devlin and I like Leila. The author, unfortunately, mires them both in a silly story of increasingly siller misunderstanding issues. No petty bickering – much – but these two just can’t talk without thinking wrong things of each other’s motives, intentions, etc and hence prolonging the story. It’s irritating, particularly towards the later stages of the story. There, things start to drag on and on until I hear the painful sound of burning tires in my mind.
Still, oh, the chemistry between those two. Brit accent’s sexy, yes, but a man in love is even sexier. When Dev says the following as his blustery protest of Leila’s engagement to Elliot, excuse me while I melt into a puddle on the floor.
“You know, you don’t need to marry a man who doesn’t love you simply to have a baby. Any man in the world can give you that. Axel Bayard could give you a baby. Old Marrin Hampton could give you a baby. I could give you a baby.”
And oops, I really would have swooned were I not a tough old chick when I read this.
“I’d choose true love over a million dollars. In fact, I’d trade a million dollars for even the mere hope of finding true love.” He smiled at the look of sudden comprehension on her face. There was more, but he couldn’t bring himself to say the words: If I were Elliot, I wouldn’t have stayed in New York this weekend. I would have gladly traded a million dollars to spend the weekend with you.
The annoying miscommunication runarounds those two give each other aside, I like this story, if only for Dr Devlin in his tight white briefs and that oh-so-sexy true love philosophy of his. It’s a plus to read of a small-town romance between a “mere” doctor and a “mere” accountant (instead of super rich brilliant millionaires and clueless virgins), but oh, if doctors are this adorable, I will be having a flu every day.