Type: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Berkley Trade
My Copy: Sent
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?
This is a wonderfully emotional story that had me tearing up several times. The characters are so well written, so compelling and intense that I really could feel what they were going through. This is the first Anne Calhoun book I have read and I enjoy her voice so much that I am about to buy her back list.
Rachel Hill lived all but the last year of her life at the Elysian Fields Community of God, her father and her are very close but she could not live that life anymore and did not fit in. She has a list of things she wants to do and has been checking them off and as she is watching the bachelor charity auction at the farm she works at, she realizes she can mark another off her list – so she bids on Ben Harris.
Ben took the place of another bachelor who had to work; he is a SWAT member and part time bouncer on the weekend. He thinks it will be fun to be auctioned off and believes he may get a night of good company that ends with some hot sex; amazingly he gets that very thing and when she leaves he thinks it was the oddest date of his life. It is not until the next day that he notices something wrong and immediately drives to the farm where Rachel works, to confront her. She wanted something from him and although he is in shock at first, he is willing to help her.
They begin to have a once a week “date” she wants to learn and Ben is perfect as her teacher, yet the more she visits him the more she wants to know him, but he holds back his feelings. One Sunday she takes control and blindsides him, the next Sunday he is not there. She is hurt, but when she yells at her friend, something she has never done, she goes back to confront him. He is there but you can see him backing away emotionally and physically, she is not sure if she can fight something so strong.
Wow, this is a sensual, emotional journey through the eyes of a naïve young woman who wants to feel for the first time in her life and a man that does not want to feel. They both broke my heart. Ben is so broken and in pain that he can’t help himself and is almost self destructive at work. He has a very close bond with his twin brother Sam, and he knows when Sam gets hurt yet he can’t let himself feel that way about Rachel, afraid he will feel the same pain as when his brother left one time years ago. After several times of trying to get him to open up and share, she finally tells him she does not like who she is becoming and leaves. Oh the emotion!
The plot progression is so well done as we jump to a new scene each weekend, keeping things light, and as with most relationships things grow slowly. Rachel is the first to realize she wants more; but it takes a lot for Ben see what he wants. I liked Ben right away, maybe it is because I like those tortured heroes that I know can be redeemed. The chemistry is amazing between the two and the sex is hot.
The only problem I had with this story is that I was not sure I liked Olivia at first. I thought she was too naïve, too sweet but wow, she grew on me so much that I loved her in the end as I cried with her and cheered her on. I fell in love with her courage, she wants to feel, something she was never permitted to do at the commune. I think I warmed up to her when she would not stop sending the letters to her father even though he would send them back unopened, and the letters at the end – wow – so emotional – I am tearing up as I write this review. I highly recommend this book and look forward to many more from Ms. Calhoun.
I give Uncommon Passion by Anne Calhoun 4.25 stars!