Review: Uncommon Passion by Anne Calhoun

Friday, September 6

Title: Uncommon Passion*
Author: Anne Calhoun
Series: N/A
Genre: contemporary erotic romance
Publisher: Berkley
Format: ebook and print
Date/Year: September 3, 2013
Reviewed by: Michele

*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

After leaving a restrictive religious community, Rachel Hill is on a mission to divest herself of her virginity. Newly independent and struggling to establish herself, she’s not looking for anything complicated. She bids on sexy SWAT officer Ben Harris at a bachelor auction, confident he’ll give her the night of her life and nothing more.

But Ben is jaded and detached, living his life in an endless cycle of danger-fueled adrenaline jags, drinking, and sex. When he misses the fact that his bachelor auction hookup is a virgin, he’s shocked by his obliviousness, and by the risk she took. To make amends, Ben offers Rachel all he can: a no-strings-attached sexual education.

Ben’s lessons introduce Rachel to down and dirty passion, but she’s searching for something more profound than sex, and she’s willing to walk away to find it. Ben can’t get Rachel out of his head, but will he come to terms with his troubled past and learn to love?

My Musings:

I’ve read everything that Anne Calhoun has published for nearly a year now, and every time I’ve been rewarded with yet another wonderfully engaging and passionate romance. Her latest book, UNCOMMON PASSION, features a pairing between two people who could not have seemed more different at first glance, but ultimately show they have more in common than anyone could have known.

Rachel Hill was born and raised in an isolated religious community (I think it’s fair to call it a cult) where women were taught to always defer to men and where she could only be alone in a room with her father or the group’s religious leader. After living her whole life under these restrictions, Rachel realized that her intelligence and innate veterinary talents with farm animals were worth more than what her father and religion dictated. The first brave act of her life was to take the money owed her for decades of back-breaking work and escape to the real world for an independent future. The second brave act of her life was to take the money she’d saved for vet school and bid it for a night with a man at the charity bachelor auction. Rachel isn’t looking for a date. She’s looking for a man who won’t have any problems going right to the bedroom for some quick and casual sex. After all, she doesn’t want a relationship, she just wants to not be a virgin.

Ben Harris is a troubled cop living only for the quick emotional fixes of danger and sex, both of which he gets in unhealthy quantities. He gets the danger fix from his job as a SWAT officer, taking so many unnecessary chances with his safety that his superiors threaten to remove him from the job. He gets his sex fix in his side job as the door bouncer at No Limits, the local dance club where people go to get drunk and get laid, usually in that order. Ben wasn’t even supposed to be on the bachelor list that night at the auction, but when he and Rachel make eye contact, she knows he’s the perfect choice for what she wants to buy with her hard earned money.

The “date” between Ben and Rachel goes pretty much as anticipated, with a quick dinner and an equally quick trip to Ben’s bedroom for some hard and fast sex. Rachel revels in the act that she knows she would never have experienced without leaving everything behind. Ben is relieved that she didn’t demand much of him and even left without having to be asked. But later when he realizes that she’d been a virgin, he somehow feels compelled to go back to her to ask for a do-over. It isn’t long before what started as a quick easy lay between strangers becomes an emotional journey between two lost souls afraid to see that what they have is so much more than sex.

The romance trope of a world-weary man providing sexual instruction to an innocent virgin is a common one, and one that I always enjoy. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen it with a woman who isn’t just an innocent to sex, but to adult life itself. Rachel is a truly remarkable heroine in that she has had to learn about so many things that most people take for granted. Her determination to experience everything an adult woman should have is what brings her to Ben’s bed and keeps her there when he insists on showing her everything she should know about pleasing herself and others in bed. Ben is over familiar with the adult world, to the point of seeming to have a death wish at times. Watching them become more attached to each other in spite of what they both insist they want is a wonderful experience and because this is an Anne Calhoun book, it is both beautifully written and incredibly moving. I loved every moment of UNCOMMON PASSION and recommend Anne Calhoun as one of the finest romance writers working today.


Overall:  5 stars
Sensuality level:  4

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