Seduced By A Stallion
by Deborah Fletcher Mello, contemporary (2012)
Kimani, $6.25, ISBN 978-0-373-86258-0


Doesn't the title Seduced By A Stallion seem more appropriate for some pornographic movie involving acts with a horse that is probably illegal in most places in this world? Be rest assured that the stallion in question is our hero. A human, if you have read too many paranormal romances and need some reassurance. Matthew Stallion is his name, and he is an attorney who is also, of course, a billionaire and a "playboy of the Western world". I guess he's not hot enough for the Eastern world. Oh, and Matthew is also a cowboy because he has a ranch. This darling is like a salad with every single cliché from the garden of love.

In this story, he meets our heroine, the judge Katrina Broomes, when her son ends up stealing his car and Matthew ends up mentoring the kid during the kid's community service stint. Katrina is a single mother whose husband died while on duty in the Middle-East, and she has reservations about tangling limbs with the Western world player. But there's no denying the mojo of a determined Stallion man, oh no.

And that's pretty much the story here. Seduced By A Stallion is a slow-moving and cozy story all about the courtship and passion. Here, Ms Mello gets to demonstrate that she has the chops to transform clichés and tropes into something that is her own, with her own flavor. Matthew may seem on paper to be another standard one-dimensional "billionaire, playboy, insert random successful corporate, NBA, or NFL career here" hero of the Kimani line, but as the story progresses, the fellow displays some nuances in his personality that make him a character in his own right. Katrina's character also at first seems like another stereotype - the harassed single mother who needs a man to help her straighten out her kid - but she too develops into her own character as the story progresses.

The only thing is, the romance here is fine, but the noticeable lack of compelling conflict, coupled with the very slow pacing of the romance, makes this book a bit too easy to put down. And once I put it down, I don't experience any urgency to resume reading again. The story is pleasant, but there are no fireworks. And this may seem like an odd thing, considering that there are some naughty love scenes, but I actually find the love scenes rather purple and even strange at times.

I mean, Ms Mello uses some euphemisms in these scenes. I don't have problems with this practice when it's done well, but here, the author goes from one tangent to another. On page 129, for example, the author starts by describing the main characters' panting and deep breathing and Matthew even blowing out "a gust of air out of his own lungs". And from two greedy wolves trying to blow down the pig's house, we abruptly go to food euphemisms, as Matthew starts nibbling on "one rock-candy nipple" while Katrina gushes about this "luscious dark chocolate lollipop". And since she doesn't take a lick or a bite out of this "lollipop", the food euphemism is wasted altogether. And from food, it's a rapid shift of mood to mountain climbing and bungee jumping next, as these two begin "racing to the summit" and going into "free fall". And, of course, the explosion is next. Ka-boom!

Really, these love scenes make me laugh because the author seems to be throwing in all the euphemisms she can think of without trying to put them together in some kind of cohesive theme, if I am making sense here. If we want to turn the bedroom festival into a food fest, then yes, bring on the chocolates and candies, but let's not toss in bungee cords, bicycles, and what not as well. Or else, the whole thing just seems ridiculous, like the author throwing everything to the wall and hoping that something will stick, which is what happened here.

Anyway, Seduced By A Stallion is a pleasant read, but I'm afraid that's as good as it gets where I am concerned. On one hand, I'm glad that the author seems to be getting back into the groove where her writing is concerned. On the other hand, this one lacks a good conflict, with the late conflict is essentially a silly case of the heroine jumping to conclusions and refusing to talk to the hero. It would have been a ho-hum read, were not for the unintentionally humorous love scenes, but I don't think that's the effect the author was aiming for when she wrote this book.

Rating: 68


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