|5 very big stars. |
After I finished Uncommon Passion, I sat with a stupid grin on my face for a few moments before logging onto B&N and putting a reserve on Unforgiven. While, okay, it's only the beginning of August, this is my second favorite book of 2013. It's Written in Red by Anne Bishop, Uncommon Passion, and then Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh. Yes, it bumped Nalini.
The heroine, Rachel, she is the type of heroine that I want to be. She has the courage to break away from everything she's ever known, the compassion to keep reaching out to her father and the hero (Ben), and the self-respect to walk away when Ben is unwilling to meet her halfway. Ben is a police/SWAT officer who's running from his past and chasing adrenaline thrills to distract himself from the emptiness inside. He thinks that teaching a virgin about sex is something new to break the ennui he's been experiencing, but Rachel knocks him on his ass. She doesn't offer him ultimatums or ask him to go beyond the rules he's set out, but rather, Rachel, by simply accepting Ben, makes Ben want to be better than he is. He tentatively starts to examine his issues because she makes him believe that there is more to life than emptiness.
The writing was amazing. Calhoun made the smart call of keeping the book's time frame focused on the weekends, at least at the beginning. So we get the sense of time passing, we can see how their relationship develops, slowly and in a burst of passionate fire, without a lot of exposition dragging down the pace. By the end of the book, there was no doubt in my mind that these two belonged together and that they were going to live happily ever after. The sex scenes were hot and yet Calhoun managed to keep the reader emotionally connected as well. At the second-to-last sex scene, I was right there with Rachel as on one level, she enjoyed herself, and on another other, she figured out the psychology behind Ben's actions.
My favorite of the book has to be the end. We all know that I love a book that shows the characters making smart, self-aware, decisions, and Uncommon Passion delivers on that with a vengeance. When Ben starts getting himself together, he doesn't rush over to Rachel and be all, 'you were absolutely right, I need to change. Let's get back together!' No, instead, he acknowledges that he's f-ed up and that he needs to get himself straight before he can be a worthy partner for her. When he and Rachel finally do re-connect, it's like a new beginning. They don't jump right back into bed. They date. There's coffee and long conversations and all the getting-to-know-yous that they didn't do the first time around. They love each other and for the sake of that love, they take the time to do their relationship right. I'm getting teary just thinking about it.
Long-time followers probably have guessed that I'm quite the speedy reader and, due to the whole anti-delayed-gratification that I have going on, it's rare that I savor a book. Yet with Uncommon Passion, I took breaks. I didn't want it to end too soon. I haven't even started a new book yet, I'm not ready to say goodbye.
I hate that this is going to be a trade paperback because I want to tell y'all to run out and pre-order it. So email your public libraries, and tell them to add it to the collection, but if you're going to splurge on one book next month, make it this one.