In her second year of mourning, lovely, young widow Passion Elizabeth Dare never dreamed she would be with a man again—and certainly not a complete stranger. But amidst the crowds of London's Crystal Palace, Passion finds herself discreetly, yet insistently, pursued by a sensual gentleman who awakens her long-supressed desires. After a loveless marriage of restrained propriety, Passion abandons herself to true bliss for the first time.Intoxicated by his encounter with the beautiful stranger, Mark Randolph Hawkmore, Earl of Langley, cannot wait to see her again. As a series of rapturous rendezvous follows, he and his mystery lover find something rare and wonderful blossoming between them. But a blackmail scheme against the Earl threatens to destroy everything. As a scandal brews, each will have to choose between duty and desire...their love for their families—and their love for each other.
Passionate, scintillating, romantic, and erotic!
I absolutely loved this book, though I don’t know if I can put into words all the reasons why and do this story justice because it’s more than just a book...It’s an exciting escape into sexual fantasy, a touching love story, and a happily ever after to rival the best of them.
My review contains minor spoilers…
From the beginning, I was hooked! The prologue alone grabbed my attention and had me thinking Hmmm… there’s going to be trouble in paradise… Then chapter one starts off with one of the most passionate sexual encounters I’ve ever read, between two people who had never before met, in a place where the odds are very good that they’ll get caught. Talk about hot! These few pages alone made this book worth buying.
Now let’s talk about the main characters themselves, whom I adore. Mark and Passion are total opposites, but we know what they say about opposites attracting, right? Mark is one of those heroes that I am instantly drawn to; the kind who has built a fortress around his heart, not believing that true love can exist between a man and a woman, and especially not for him. Other than his father and his brother Matt, Mark has never cared for anyone and doesn’t believe that anyone, except for them, has ever cared about him. He is bored with society and cynical – trusting very few people. It’s as if he is in the world, but not truly part of it. He functions, going about his daily life and enjoying his work as a respected architect, but the feeling I get is that he’s a man who stands back and watches while everyone else lives and he merely exists.
Passion is the eldest daughter of a “man of the cloth” and was named for Passion Sunday, the day on which she was born. She is a widow who is just about to come out of a long, 2 year mourning. Her marriage was not a good one, and their sex life was dismal – well, hers was. Her husband seemed to enjoy himself rather frequently, and with everyone but Passion. She’s in no hurry to remarry which is part of the reason she stayed in mourning so much longer – according to her aunt – than was necessary.
Fortunately for them, and us, a most unfortunate turn of events bring Mark and Passion together in an exhibit hall at the Crystal Palace where they find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another. Their curiosity, desire and longing for something…different… sweeps them up in a torrent of passion where they share their bodies in an uninhibited, almost primitive, need for sexual fulfillment. Their encounter leaves them both sated and yet hungry for more, but having parted without even exchanging names, they may never again see one another. After returning to their homes that day, they are unable to forget their encounter and are left wondering what might happen next – if that passion could possibly be recaptured. They both, each on their own, decide to return to the Crystal Palace the next day in hopes of meeting again and finding out if they can repeat what they had shared, or if it was just a onetime marvel. They were not disappointed at this second meeting – or at the many that followed. The storyline itself is excellent! I love the suspense, the betrayals, the grief, the scheming and most importantly, the deep family ties that see these amazing people through all the heartache they must go through. And when all is said and done, they are so much stronger for having endured it.
In addition to Mark and Passion, we have Matthew, Mark’s brother as well as Patience and Primrose who are Passion’s sisters and will be featured in their own books. And we can’t forget poor cousin Charlotte who is her mother’s pawn through all this and well deserving of her own story. All of these characters are warm, loving people who I adore. Another person I came to care about is John Crossman, a young man who had begun to have feelings for Passion, but quickly realized, even before she did, that her heart was bound elsewhere. I hope to see him play a prominent role in future books and would be thrilled if he found his own happily ever after in one of them.
I really can’t stress enough that this book should not be looked at as just another erotic novel where page after page is devoted to words describing sexual acts. Though the sexual tension in this book is through the roof amazing and the writing of those scenes is breathtakingly erotic and primitive – it’s so much more than that. This is a heartwarming story about 2 lonely people who, as the walls they have built around their hearts finally begin to crumble, find in one another that one other person in the world who can fill their soul’s emptiness and make them whole again.
The bottom line…
It’s not often that I find a book where I adore both the hero and heroine equally, but Passion is one of those rare instances where it all comes together perfectly for me. And while, as I've said, the sensuality of this book is amazing, it's Mark and Passion's relationship that has given them a place on my list of all time favorite couples and made this a 5 star read. I will come back to this book again and again just to have the chance to spend time with them.
One last thing - I just read the excerpt for Patience at the end of the book and let me just say... you don't want to miss that. So when you finish reading Passion, keep turning the pages for the excerpt of Patience. ***fanning myself***
Sexual Content: While this book is loaded with sexual situations and very erotic, there is no ménage, anal sex or BDSM.