Passion by Lisa Valdez 301
Passion Elizabeth Dare is minding her own business at the Crystal Palace when she is rescued from a falling frond by a handsome gentleman. Not ten minutes later she and this gentleman are ensconced behind a screen having very passionate sex unlike anything she had experienced with her deceased husband. For Mark Hawkmore, the Earl of Langley, this semi-public encounter is eye opening as well. He cannot get the beautiful woman with the wide eyes out of his mind and he meets her there twice more for scandalous sex. But Passion's father is a vicar and she can't help but feel guilty about letting her base nature get the better of her and she wants to call it off. Mark is incensed when he finds out and he is especially wary of letting this bit of happiness escape him. He is being blackmailed by his mother's former friend. Abigail Lawrence is insisting that Mark marry her daughter, Charlotte, and is using a letter that Mark's mother sent her stating that Mark's "brother" Matthew, is in fact the by product of an affair with the gardener.
What Mark does not realize is that Charlotte is Passion's cousin and just as he convinces her to give them more than the four days she had allotted, she discovers that he is engaged to her cousin. He confesses all to her and while Passion cannot help but desire him she is an honorable person and does not want to hurt her cousin. Mark is furious that Passion is turning him away and desperately wants to find that letter so he can destroy it and be together with Passion. He knows that there is more than just incredibly sex with her and both of their hearts are breaking. Passion knows that even if Mark finds the letter she cannot accept Mark's suit because it would mean him backing out on Charlotte and that would ruin her chances forever. When Mark realizes that he is in love with Passion he decides that the best way to prove his love for her is to try to make the best life for Charlotte that he possibly can. But when Lucinda Lawrence's mistreatment of her servants leads to some very public scandals it frees Mark from his obligation to Charlotte and allows her to run after the woman he thought he could not have.
Wow- I was not expecting an erotic novel when I started reading this so I was not exactly prepared for the amount of sex, and the language used during it, that came in the book. There was a LOT of sex, it was very descriptive, there was some very crude language used, and it was certainly varied. Quite a bit was made of cervix opening up enough to take all of him and there was a lot of "Open ups" and "Take me all the way" and he is described as being 10.5 inches long. There were also some rather distasteful reference to his being turned on by her tears- she had been crying because it had been so long not out of pain. I normally don't mention sex first but it is literally the first thing that happens and very liberally peppers the first 100 or so pages of the book- although it does become less frequent as the book goes on and Passion becomes all noble. I was a little thrown by how one-dimensional both Mark's mother and Lucinda Lawrence were- they were truly irredeemable villains with absolutely nothing justifying their awfulness. I prefer more nuanced villains.
The negative reviews of this book (there are surprisingly few) focus on Passion's passivity and I am admittedly torn on this issue. I understood that she was being all noble but I liked that she wasn't all sassy and ride off on dangerous horse daring, but giving up the man you love without a fight after he admits he loves you is a little much. I didn't mind her submission in the bedroom (or not the bedroom) because Mark made up for it later by really laying his heart on the line in some really beautiful scenes. I really truly believed in Mark's transformation from cold and rather heartless to a man desperately in love with a woman he fears he cannot have. There were some incredibly heart breaking moments in the book as they first admit their love and then as they say goodbye and I literally cried for some of it. All of the problems and angst and gut wrenching emotion that accompanied their romance really made me want a long, beautiful, and very romantic happy ending and I have to admit that it was just a little disappointing.
Rating: Very erotic book with some very beautiful and quite emotional writing. I would have preferred more happy romantic times between Mark and Passion.