Opposites attract when a troubled tattoo artist lands in a medical resident’s ER in this contemporary romance novel.
Dr. Leland “Lee” Hawthorne, 31, and
Wren Blanchard, 25, live near each other in Lafayette, Louisiana, yet they’re
worlds apart. He’s finishing his charity hospital residency, and his doctor
father, stepmother, and live-in decorator girlfriend, Marcelle, all hope that
he’ll transition to a lucrative private practice. She’s a tattoo artist haunted
by the fact that she was sexually abused at age 6 by her now-deceased addict
mother’s boyfriend. The unlikely couple meet when Wren collapses at her tattoo
parlor job with a ruptured cyst and Lee attends to her in the ER. He’s
impressed by Wren’s sassy remarks and amazing body art; she’s wary but drawn to
his kindness and bright-blue eyes. When Lee later spots Wren waiting for a ride
from the hospital, he drives her home. They discover they live near each other
and that they both lost their mothers and love fried peach pies. Wren later
brings some pies to Lee’s house but runs into Marcelle, so she leaves, hurt
that he never mentioned his current relationship during their flickering
flirtation. Lee soon breaks things off with bad-fit Marcelle to pursue Wren.
The two enjoy amazing sex, but later, Wren’s agony about her past reaches a
breaking point, and it’s only further aggravated by Lee’s relatives’ looking
askance at her tattoos. By novel’s end, however, Lee stages an intervention to
put Wren’s demons to rest. Lafayette resident Fournet (Butterfly Ginger,
2015, etc.) delivers another beautifully drawn novel set among her city’s
“Saint Streets,” with particularly lovely shadings of description. Wren’s
tattoos are gorgeously detailed, and Lee’s attraction to them—and to the
artistic, sensitive heroine—is both understandable and believable. Indeed,
Fournet’s celebration of tattoo artistry is the narrative’s most compelling
element. That said, the couple’s sex scenes and other romantic interludes, such
as bonding over a puppy or going kayaking, are similar to those found in more
routine romances. Still, Fournet competently crafts these necessary connecting
scenes and weaves in the abuse back story in an appropriate manner. Overall,
it’s an engaging effort that lives up to its title.
A touching and striking modern love story.