BLOG REVIEW: Dangerous Passion by Lisa Marie Rice

27y.o heroine lives a simple life alone in Manhattan, focused on her art. 
She hardly has any friends and dallies with the occasional lover, when she feels really lonely. Her life drastically changes one day, when her art-dealer friend gets killed and she's taken hostage. 
34y.o international arms dealer Hero puts his life on the line for her and saves her. 
She soon finds out that the attempt on her life was due to his bi-monthly habit of secretly watching her when she visits the art gallery.
Hero is known to have no weakness by both his rivals & friends alike. 
Until now. His obsession with heroine is exploited by his unknown nemesis. 
Time is of the essence as Hero must figure out who the assassin is and how to outmaneuver him. In the meantime, he also has to convince heroine to stay with him long term for her own safety. And he'll use whatever he can to bind her to him. 
When she realizes the truth, how does she respond to his plans for her?
How much time do they have left before the assassin finds them?

I've had this Rice book on my TBR (to be read) shelf for 6 years. I've never read Rice before and I've heard great things about her writing & books for years. I've been saving her books for a rainy day & the time finally came. I've been on a reading slump for months. I picked up this Rice book to see if it would stimulate my romance-novel reading pleasure again. The answer: maybe. 
 
This was a pleasant read. I'd classify this more as a romantic suspense than erotic romance or standard romance. It has explicit sex scenes but the sex scenes were not as frequent nor did it fill 1/3 of the book as some more recent erotic romance & even standard contemporary romance have. I appreciated that. It's sexy & sensual enough but the sex didn't overwhelm the plot and wasn't the main focus of the romance. The emotional connection between Hero and heroine and their choices to be together for the long-haul were the main crux of the book. I loved how usually-detached Hero loved heroine. His vulnerability with her, his attempts at not manipulating her, and his self-sacrifices for her displayed the extent of his love for her. Heroine was no slouch either. She was like him in many ways. A loner, socially & emotionally closed-off, and independent. She took to falling for Hero almost as quickly as he did with her. Their lives being greatly endangered by some unknown person made their instant emotional and sexual connection believable somehow.

The action-suspense part of the book was thrilling. We know who the enemy is from the get-go but we know that the main characters do not. We get the enemy's POV (point of view) along with Hero and heroine's. Our knowledge of the workings of the enemy's mind coupled with the main characters' ignorance of his identity kept me on the edge of my seat. The gory factor of detailed info about body parts injured & whatnot was low to mild. There's a lot of shooting scenes but, thank God, not a glowing description of how people were injured. The action-suspense part highlighted the survival & fighting intelligence of both Hero and his enemy. I thought the ending, where the enemy was finally dealt with was quite cool.

    -------------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details-------------

Hero's enemy (Rutskoi) was a former Russian colonel who worked with Hero at some occasion in Eastern Europe in the past. He was admirer of all that Hero has accomplished, knowing Hero's hard life growing up. Rutskoi planned to be Hero's second-in-command now that he's finally in the US and proposed this very thing to Hero. He was summarily rejected, which greatly offended him. His offense spurned his hatred & jealousy of Hero, motivating him to murder. And his plan to subsequently takeover Hero's arms-deal empire.

Rutskoi's murder attempts of Hero and heroine were almost successful several times. Rutskoi was a determined and clever man and experienced in the art of war. However, Hero was more determined and clever and got him instead. Rutskoi thought that he was finally going to be able to kill Hero and heroine by sneaking up on them, while they were sailing on their yacht alone in the middle of the ocean. He heard their voices inside the yacht & he went in with satisfaction. What he got instead was Hero speaking to him on an open laptop's videophone inside Hero's yacht, with Hero telling him that he suspected it was him and goodbye. The yacht blows up with Rutskoi in it, since Hero rigged it with explosives.

    -------------------------------------------------END SPOILERS-------------------------------------------------

I mentally high-5ed Hero for his smarts! And sighed from the sweet epilogue.

I recommend this book.
4-star

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