When is it revealed to everyone in the ton that Matthew Hawkmore is actually the son of a gardener, and not an Earl, he is immediately cut by everyone of his acquaintance and dumped by his fiance, Rosalind Benchley. He had believed himself in love with her, but now that her father has decided to take his anger out by attempting to completely ruin Matthew, he realizes that Rosalind would not have made a good wife. Instead he is suddenly free to allow his attraction to his sister-in-law, Patience Dare, free rein. Patience never wants to marry after having learned a harsh lesson that love is not compatible with perfect artist expression, when the cello instructor she had fallen for threw her over after she had fallen in love with him. She is much sought after by all the men in the ton, but none of them appeal to her. After a kiss with Matthew he is convinced that what she needs is a man who will not make things easy for her, who will take control and dominate her.
The two begin an unconsummated affair, with Matthew taking the reins and sparing Patience no quarter. When she disobeys order, he knows it is just because she is testing him; that she is worried he will leave her and wants prove that he will always be there. It does not take long for him to know that he wants Patience as his forever, but he knows it will take much to convince her. Meanwhile his ex-fiance's father is doing his best to ruin Matthew by spreading rumors that cause investors to back out of Matthew's Grand West Railroad. He knows he will be ruined soon so he sets about, by any means necessary, to gain information to bring down Benchley. He is also fortunate enough to win one of Benchley's mines at the gambling table and he and Patience immediately fall in love with this beautiful small mining community that has been so neglected. But when things literally blow up in his face, Matthew risks losing Patience forever if he cannot prove to her that she really is his everything and win her love forever.
I was very much looking forward to reading this book after the excellent Passion, but I liked Passion much more than I like Patience- the characters. Patience is an excellent cello player, but apparently she has no love for it and I felt like the end where she came to like the mining town was just so that she would have something besides being Matthew's lover. Matthew was awesome though- the ultimate alpha male (probably more so than most would like admittedly) and I liked how he was ruthless in going after his revenge and so perfect in pursuing Patience. I would have definitely liked more non-sex time between the two of them, but I do believe that it was fairly obvious that these two had a great, strong relationship and that sex was just a (large) part of it. As usual I loved her writing style in general, from the conversations to the descriptions and the internal musings- all were brilliant.
Obviously sex, or at least sex games, play an immensely important part of this story, and it is not quite what one would call conventional. Apparently Patience is submissive at heart and needs the control and dominance that Matthew is all to happy to dispense with. There is punishment in the forms of delayed gratification, quite a lot of spankings when she does something he does not like or if he just feels as though she deserves it, and lots of fellatio and tears. I don't want to be judgmental about this and as long as it's consensual adults I'm fine with it, but I will admit it's not really my cup of tea in a romance novel. I especially did not like when he had to justify by talking about how it was her "proper place" and when passages from the bible were used to justify it, or when he kind of made allusions to his belief that it was the right way for men and women to behave with each other because of the positioning of their sexual organs. So- I would have been at least somewhat fine if they had just done it and accepted it as something that just worked for them without trying to make it more than that.
Rating: The sex was not to my taste, but I like that it was done in a very emotional manner that worked toward their relationship and I liked the writing.