The Seduction Request
by Michelle Celmer
(Silh. Desire #1626, $4.50, R) ISBN 0-373-76626-2
Sometimes there is too much predictability, too many unusual things to believe and too many sex scenes to make a story one that a reader can sink their teeth into. The Seduction Request is one of those stories.

Emily Douglas has little self-confidence and her parents are constantly telling her to do things and be things even though she is 30 years old. She has a dream of owning her own landscaping nursery, but of course, no one really believes her. She is spending her time trying to run the Marlette Nursery for a gay friend, Alex Marlette. She is so desperate to get her parents and brother Ty off her back that she makes them all think that Alex and she are dating.

Enter an old flame, the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, Matt Conway. Matt left Chapel, Michigan, eleven years ago to play college then pro football. An injury ended his career, but he has made millions owning restaurants. Now he is back hoping to open up his newest place and show the people of Chapel that he has made it. He and Emily have a history. Just before he left, they spent the night on the beach and made love. Emily has never gotten over it and neither has Matt.

Ty asks Matt to seduce his sister. He thinks that there is still some feelings between them, and he wants to protect his sister from Alex, who he thinks is not willing to commit. Ty is worried that Emily will make the mistake of her life. Matt agrees, partly because he wants to see if Emily still has feelings for him. Here is the predictable part: this comes back to haunt Matt when he least wants it to.

We must believe that Matt has never gotten over Emily, even though for eleven years he has been dating starlets and football groupies. We must believe that Emily has never gotten over Matt. And we must believe that the townspeople hate Matt so much (because his parents were drunks) that they purposefully cause delays in the construction of his restaurant, therefore he has a reason for continuing to stay in this small town and see Emily.

Of course, Emily and Matt still have the hots for each other and show us often how good the sex can be. However, there is little evidence given of the supposed great friendship they had and how much like soulmates they were. Yet, we are expected to believe they have picked up where they left off, with the intermittent arguments over the fact that they are not good for each.

Matt is portrayed as whiny and self-centered. He is supposed to be a hotshot businessman, but lets things like building inspections and plans cause major headaches. All the sudden we are to believe that he is running the construction site, not a contractor. I often wondered what Emily saw in him.

Emily is described as a savvy businesswoman who is doing everything she can to keep the nursery running, yet she is outsmarted by those around her, and is so lacking in self-confidence that she constantly allows her parents to patronize her about her life and choices.

Predictable misunderstandings, less-than-stellar lead characters and plenty of hot sex without much substance leads me to steer you away from The Seduction Request.

--Shirley Lyons

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