by Lisa Valdez, historical (2010)
Berkley, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-425-21054-3

Patience, Lisa Valdez's troubled follow-up to Passion, is almost a great romantic historical erotica. Almost, that is.

The erotic relationship with Matthew Morgan Hawkmore and his sister-in-law Patience Emmalina Dare is the plot of this story. Oh, he was socially ruined when word came out that he is actually the son of the gardener his mother had an affair with, while she is thinking of leaving London to study the cello, but once these two get down and heavy by the fourth chapter, the story focuses heavily on their erotic shenanigans. Domination, fellatio (she swallows - on the second date!), mild bondage and punishment, and the more conventional shag positions are all featured here. If you don't like erotic romances, needless to say, you will find little to savor in this one.

And by domination, I mean just that - Matthew proceeds to dominate Patience, to the point that he pushes forth the belief that men like him are born to do so while women like Patience are born to submit. While this is not the most politically correct element around, the author makes the concept of erotic domination work in this story where I am concerned. Another thing I should warn you folks: the love scenes here, predictably, have a male domination tinge to them. Patience learns to find pleasure in sexually servicing Matthew, so some readers may get uncomfortable with the many scenes of Patience using her mouth on Matthew without Matthew repaying the favor. Again, I have no issue with these scenes because they are executed pretty well in the context of the whole male domination thing. But such scenes can be pretty controversial and maybe even exploitative and sleazy to some readers, so be warned.

Patience has some major flaws, however. The story can be tough to get into: until the hero and the heroine start making out on their first date, I have a hard time getting into the story. The author repeats the hero's social disgrace again and again in the prologue and the next consecutive two chapters to the point that I begin to wonder whether I am going to be tested on that subject matter. And right up to the last page, the main characters are barely developed. Matthew wants Patience and only her, while she learns to enjoy his erotic attention, and that's about it where their relationship is concerned. Matthew behaves like a lumbering and obsessed man with the social skills of a lummox while Patience's most memorable character trait is her amazing skill at fellatio.

The prose is tinged purple and there is much ridiculous and over the top phraseology, but the author still manages to make her love scenes work for me. Once her characters start, I can't stop reading until they stop, and lucky me, these two have the stamina of Energizer bunnies who have learned the pleasures of BDSM.

At the end of the day, Patience is a very compelling erotic romp once the characters begin to bop the bop. I also appreciate the fact that Lisa Valdez opted to explore an erotic theme in a way that can push hot buttons. Despite the boom in the erotic romance market, Patience still manages to push the envelope when it comes to exploring the theme of male domination. In many ways, the author is taking some risks in this book, and I like that. It's just unfortunate that there is very little else to this story that can compare to the erotic elements of the story. All I can say here is that you know what kind of love scenes there are in this story. If you think you are up for the wholesome fun, feel free to take a look at this one. Just don't read this one expecting a good plot or character development. Oh, and be patient with the slow start of this book.

Rating: 80

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