Title: Seducing Cinderella
Author: Gina L Maxwell
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
May Contain Spoilers
Mixed martial arts fighter Reid Andrews’s chance to reclaim his title as light heavyweight champ is shattered when he’s injured only months before the rematch. To make sure he’s healed in time, his trainer sends him to recuperate under a professional’s care—Reid’s best friend’s little sister, all grown up. Disorganized and bookish Lucie Miller needs some professional help of her own. She’d do anything to catch the eye of a doctor she’s crushed on for years, so when Reid offers seduction lessons in exchange for 24/7 conditioning for the biggest fight of his career, Lucie jumps at the chance. Soon Reid finds himself in the fight of his life…winning Lucie’s heart before she gives it to someone else.
I admit the reason I wanted to read Seducing Cinderella is because of the hunky, tattooed guy on the cover. I like tats. More specifically, I like his tats. Add the ink to one of my favorite romance tropes, and “Hello, book, yes, I’d like to get to know you better!”
Seducing Cinderella is the first book that I have read under Entangled Publishing’s new Brazen imprint. I will compare this to a Harlequin Blaze, which is an imprint that I read infrequently, and again, it is usually the cover that tempts to me scoop one up. This is hard, admitting that I am such a shallow reader! Still, with the torrential glut of new releases every week, something needs to catch my eye, and I don’t have time to read all of the plot descriptions, so I guess cover illustration it is! I certainly don’t pick these up based on the title, some of which are so ridiculous I’m glad that I do have several eReaders!
Back to this book – if this is an indication of the Brazen imprint, I would read more, with no hesitation. This title did have a few irritating moments, but it is a fun, fast, sexy read. I liked the characters, especially Reid. While I was expecting a tougher depiction of his MMA manliness, he is a softie on the inside, and the alpha-idiot only reared its ugly head near the end, for which I am grateful. I like tender guys, who can make you feel like a million bucks with just a smile and few kind words. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in a battle of wills with my guy, which so many category romance heroines seem to be in for. That just doesn’t seem like fun, and I don’t care how rich the guy is. If he can’t set aside his own ego for more than a few pages, I can’t imagine what it would be like to be stuck with him for the rest of my life!
Physical therapist Lucie Miller is having a really bad day. She has been in love with a surgeon she works with closely, and when she thinks he’s about to finally catch a clue and ask her out, he asks for her best friend’s number instead. Instead of letting him know how she feels, she coughs up the number, waits for him to leave, and bursts into tears in her messy office. When her new patient arrives early for his therapy session, she’s shocked to discover that it’s her brother’s best friend, Reid, incognito. Oh, noes! He can’t help but see her puffy, tear-stained face, and after discovering her troubles, he has a proposition for her – if she dedicates the next few weeks to his rehabilitation so he’s ready to win his title back, he’ll help her win over the clueless doc. Reluctantly, Lucie agrees, and before she knows what’s happened, sexy Reid and his rippling muscles have moved into her apartment.
I thought the pacing was spot on. This is a whirlwind romance, and it reads like one, with all of the breathless anticipation and jittery nerves to crank up the impossible to ignore attraction that rages between Reid and Lucie. I enjoyed their banter, but I did not enjoy the make-over Reid insisted that Lucie receive. Her clothes are all wrong, her make-up barely there, and she can’t even make a positive impression when she enters a room. Reid’s words, not mine. I so do despise these miraculous make-overs, because of course Lucie would not have the faintest clue how to attract a guy without Reid’s coaching. This just made Lucie seem dumb and naïve, but we know that she’s not. She is a successful therapist, she is intelligent, and she was married previously. She didn’t just crawl out of a hole with no clue about what boys and girls do together, or how to get one to give you a second glance. This particular plot device drives me nuts.
Reid’s behavior near the end irritated me, too, because of his lack of faith in Lucie. She deserved more credit than he gave her, and I was just so disappointed with him. If stupidity was contagious, he had just caught it. Probably from his dad, which was a plot thread that seems unconvincing and tacked on at the end. It’s just not possible to fix decades of indifference in two short chatting sessions, but I guess Reid needed his happy ever after with his disapproving and demanding father, too. These quibbles aside, I found Seducing Cinderella a fun popcorn read. Take it to the beach the next time you go!
Review copy provided by publisher