Rachel and Ben
Um, wow? My favorite Anne Calhoun yet. So freaking good. I adored both characters especially Rachel. Full review on Fiction Vixen Book Reviews
Rachel Hill was raised in a fundamentalist religious community and one day finally found the courage to break out. She was tired of being told who she was supposed to be, what she was supposed to do and that her thoughts and ideas were not good enough to be anything worth listening to. While living in the community she worked on a family farm so she has skills she used to get a job in the outside world.
When the farm holds a bachelor auction to raise money for equipment Rachel bids on Ben Harris. He is just the type of man to take her virginity and not know the difference, or at least that is what she is gambling on. He is the love ‘em and leave ‘em type so Rachel hopes that one more woman in his bed won’t make a blip on his radar.
She is half right when Ben is too tired and drunk to realize what is going on when he takes her virginity. Unfortunately, the next morning the evidence is glaringly obvious and Ben confronts Rachel. He wants to know why and he wants another chance to make it better for her. Rachel is desperate to try new things and learn new sensations so she takes him up on the offer. Ben is able to make the next time something even better for her but strangely he finds himself wanting more. He rationalizes that he should be the one to teach her the ins and outs of casual sex, because that is all it will be. Casual.
She turned to look at him over her shoulder. The interior light cast his square jaw and forehead in planes and shadows. “You’re going to confuse it with love. It’s not. It’s sex.”
“Actually, I don’t think I will,” she said. “I know what love feels like. That wasn’t love.”
Rachel and Ben have a standing date once a week where the meet and do things Rachel never even dreamed of doing. The encounters become more and more heated and emotional and Ben starts to pull away. He has nothing for someone else. He works and casually fucks. That is all he does. He needs to figure out a way to cut this relationship off as soon as possible, even if it isn’t what he really wants to do.
Uncommon Passion has some outstanding characters. Rachel is one of the best heroines I have come across. She has inner strength and will that come across the pages so clearly and brilliantly. She had the courage to leave her home and father all because she wanted something else for herself. It might take her a while to work up to submitting paperwork for vet school but eventually she does it. She is not afraid to put herself out there, to put herself in uncomfortable places and positions just to learn what it is she really wants. And most of all, when Ben starts to demean what they have in an attempt to run her off, she is not afraid to tell him and then walk away. There is one particular scene where my heart was breaking for her but she is so strong in the face of what is being thrown at her.
Ben is complicated, broken and so lost. He has issues that stem from his father kicking his gay twin brother out of the house at a young age. His brother was his other half and when he brother was lost, so was he. His brother is back and now happy but that doesn’t change the anger and confusion Ben feels about what happened so many years ago. He has no room for anyone else because he hasn’t figured out how to forgive. So when Rachel comes along making him feel things he just can’t do he pushes her away just like everyone else.
The last 10% of Uncommon Passion is so incredibly sweet. We see a side of Ben that we knew was there but was always hiding under his hurt exterior. Rachel has moved on from the farm and has settled somewhere good for her. And the relationship they form is lovely and a wonderful contradiction to what we saw the rest of the book. The first portion of the book showed us their passion for each other, this last part showed us their love.
I really enjoyed this book. It easily jumped to be my favorite Anne Calhoun book which saying a lot because there is always Liberating Lacey. Uncommon Passion has steamy hot love scenes and scorching emotional conflict that made this book a joy to read. Once I picked it up I didn’t stop until I turned that last page. Final grade- A-
Love. This was the love she never expected to find with a man who wouldn’t care.