Pocket, $7.99, ISBN 978-1-4767-5937-1
Contemporary Romance, 2014
Like the previous entry in Kristen Proby’s Love Under the Big Sky series, Seducing Lauren has a very strong stench of wish fulfillment almost to the point of desperation. Loving Cara, the previous story, had a fat heroine, so the wish-fulfillment thing was to be expected. Here, however, the heroine is a super bestselling author who is just so lovable and precious just by being, and without the usual huge rolls of fat to mask the one-dimensional “This is your Sue, relate to her and love this story!” state of the heroine, Lauren Cunningham just comes off as the avatar of someone who is so desperate for love and attention that she probably weighs at least 950 pounds in real life, and is furiously upset that she’s never going to marry Blake Shelton since he goes for skinny blonde bitches like that Miranda Lambert skank.
Lauren, as I’ve mentioned, is secretly a super bestselling romance author whose books sell for “tens of millions” and they are all optioned for movies. Eat your heart out, Nora Roberts! Of course, she just has to leave her work in the open for hero Tyler Sullivan to discover, hee-hee, because such ditsy absent-minded behavior is so cute, hee-hee-hee. Oh, that Lauren. She really tends to walk around, say out loud things that she never wants people near her to overhear, and it’s so cute when she acts all flustered after those characters go, aw, she’s so cute and beautiful and precious and cute, hee-hee-hee! The author says that Tyler has always seen Lauren as a friend and sister, but when the story opens, he quickly gets a chubby all over the place because she’s like, awesome, hee-hee, cute, hee-hee-hee, and precious, hee-hee hee-hee. Life with Lauren, hee-hee, is like a funny Dolly Parton song playing all day, or maybe a Life with Lucy episode, only Lauren is more cute and ditsy and precious, hee-hee.
Okay, I’ll quit with the hee-hee stuff, but this story may as well come with a canned background track of nauseating hee-hee giggles all over the place because the heroine is oh-so-precious. The author tries so hard to make Lauren ditsy and likable that the poor darling heroine comes off as completely affected in a cloying everything pink and bubblegum way. The hero keeps calling her beautiful and wonderful that this story stops being a romantic tale and more like the desperate vicarious fantasy of people who must be slowly going crazy from a lack of a man’s affection in their lives.
Oh, there’s a conflict here. Lauren’s ex is up to no good. This set up allows Lauren to act like a wide-eyed bobblehead with no sense of self-preservation. Seriously, she gets verbally abused and almost receives a beating, and in the next heartbeat she is blinking and wondering why the hero is so mad. Gee, I wonder why. Scenes in this book are painfully obvious in how they are designed to either have the hero rescue the heroine or be wildly overprotective since the heroine is like a dazed goldfish most of the time, or they are crafted to allow the hero and every secondary character to praise the heroine sky high even as she blinks and goes, “Aw, shucks, I’m not so special, y’all!”
Now, I’m all for wish-fulfillment stories – some of my favorite books are of this sort, as the cliché would go – but come on, why be so transparent in being one, to the point that it practically stops being a story and starts being a cry for love and affection instead? Reading Seducing Lauren makes me feel like I need to put on even more weight and beat myself with an ugly stick a few more times so that I’d be really miserable enough to find vicarious joy in such a blatant tale of wish-fulfillment.