A Date with Dr. Frankenstein
Leanne Banks’ A Date for Dr. Frankenstein is the first of two connected series titles she wrote for Silhouette Special Edition in 1995; the other is Expectant Father, which earned a B+ from me many, many years ago. This one is also good, featuring a romance between a widowed father of a small boy and his neighbor, who worries about involving herself with another man who might want her less as a wife than a ready-made mother.
After the death of his ex-wife, Dr. Eli Masters, known to his neighbors as Dr. Frankenstein for his work in a research lab, moved with his young son to a suburb of Raleigh, North Carolina. The scientist is a genius, as is his son Fletch, who likes to take clocks apart to see how they work. Eli lacks strong social skills. He’s straight-forward about what he wants, but keeps his fears locked away.
His neighbor is pediatric intensive care nurse Andi Reynolds, whose engagement to a man with a young daughter ended the year before when she discovered him in bed with another woman. She’s a very nurturing woman who lacks confidence in her sexuality, and though the attraction between Andi and Eli is immediate and powerful, she refuses to act upon that attraction. She isn’t used to the sort of visceral signals Eli sends her. For his part, he falls hard and fast, and wants Andi in his life…permanently.
It’s a bit of a contradiction that Eli is such a good flirt considering his lack of social graces, but through flirtation their friendship moves to a higher level of intimacy. Eli’s attentions continue to baffle Andi, as do two of his three brothers, both of whom are also geniuses. When the brothers Master get together, it’s a separate sort of together, with each doing his own thing. Andi, who helped raise her younger brothers, introduces them to the Three Stooges, allowing them to be together together. Moments like these enrich the story by grounding it, and scenes involving colleagues at Eli’s lab also add texture to the story.
The relationship between Eli and Andi unfolds over time; this is not a series romance that takes place in a matter of days or weeks. Their chemistry is intense, and their love scenes are sexy, loving, and joyful. But it takes a while for Andi to grow confident in her ability to be loved for herself, and for Eli to work through his insecurities as a dad. As for Fletch, he’s a wonderful little boy whose fears about illness after his mother’s death play an integral role in the story’s climax.
A Date with Dr. Frankenstein has long since been out of print, but it’s well worth the hunt, either through a virtual or real used book store. And while you’re at it, try to find Expectant Father.