The return of serve is one of the two most important shots in tennis—the serve being other.
Most people can hit their serve faster than any other shot. In addition, the serve has to land inside the service line forcing the returner to hit the return of serve sooner than other shots. Because of these things, the preparation when returning serve should be more simple.
Try using your shoulder turn to bring the racquet back and start your forward swing with the racquet no further back than your back foot, using a normal follow through. This will allow you to hit the ball early and use the pace that is already on the serve.
The key to a good return is hitting the ball early and solid as often as possible and this preparation will help you do both of these things better.