Provocative Passion
by AlTonya Washington, contemporary (2013)
Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86315-0


Provocative Passion is a sequel of sorts to Provocative Territory. There are many references to events that took place in that other book, and this story takes place shortly right from where the last story ended, so perhaps it is best to read that book first before tackling this one.

This one intrigues me because, for once, the heroine Sophia Hall is the cop, a job usually reserved for the heroes in this genre. She is promoted to detective after her role in the previous story, and she's back to dating Santigo Rodriguez, a defense attorney that she walked away from once upon a time when he insisted that she gave up her job. While Sophia deals with the fall-out from the events in the previous book, Tigo has his own suspense drama to deal with.

And suspense drama is the main offering here, as the romance is static. There is hardly any development on that front, and the characters show more interest in their job than in one another. They are already dating at the start of this book, and the few scenes devoted to their relationship rehash the same thing over and over: he has issues with her job, so she has doubts about their happily ever after. When they finally decide to get hitched, it seems more like a "yes, the end is here, so we may as well hook up or the reader would be furious" thing than an organic development in their relationship.

It is also disappointing that Santiago's attitude to Sophia's job is summed up in his own statement, uttered at the penultimate moment of the story: "I'm done fighting. I'm already at acceptance if that's what it takes to have you." It's not very romantic, and more importantly, it tells me that he will always have issues about her job being "too dangerous" for her. Therefore, I can't really see a happy ending for this couple. Also, every character in this story doubts Sophia's ability to do her job or insists that she quit her job, so it's frustrating that the hero isn't any different.

Oh, and I have to warn you: there are nauseating nicknames galore. Santiago is "Tigo", Sophia is "Soapy" or "Soap". It's all cringe-inducing and cheesy.

As for the suspense part, it may be interesting if the characters do more than talk. I know, in real life, it's not like cars explode every day or cops have to dash through speeding traffic while firing away at criminals armed with bombs and what not. But the characters here talk and talk and talk, and often, the more exciting moments happen off-stage, only to be talked about by these people. This story already suffers from a romance that has zero chemistry, so the boring suspense elements only add to the tedium. This one is too dry and boring in and out.

Rating: 48


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