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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Passion's Professor by Samantha Rhodes

Passion's Professor by Samantha Rhodes
Publisher: Midnight Showcase Fiction
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (120 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5
Reviewed by Hibiscus

Twenty-eight-year-old UC Berkeley reentry student Elise Richards is involved with one of her professors, gorgeous Rafael Segura, who, she fears, may be a modern Don Juan. Elise struggles with her conflicting feelings for Rafael until she learns what only he can teach her—the liberating power of pure passion.

As it was full of stereotypes, I wasn’t sure if I would like "Passion’s Professor" but my mind was quickly changed as I got into the story of Professor Rafael Segura. What truly amazed me were the details that went into this book. As I read of Berkeley University, I felt that I was on campus walking through Sproul Plaza and passing Sather Gate. The details of the city itself, its neighborhoods, streets and Blake’s on Telegraph along with the cute earthquake reference had me totally engrossed in the story.

Professor Rafael Segura is a hot, Latin teacher. A little over six feet tall, ebony eyes, classic features and a cute cleft in his chin, I thought of Antonio Banderas every time I envisioned Rafael. When he first hit on Elise, I thought of the typical teacher looking to pick up a student. Then when I found out he was married, I thought nothing good could come of this. As the story progressed, Rafael’s pride plays a large part in how he reacted to Elise but I could see that he did care for her in his own way. I liked how he slowly seduced her. It looked like all the classic steps but when he refers to Elise as Maja in Goya’s masterpiece after their first night together, I knew he was serious about her.

Elise Richards is a mature returning student who had been married previously and was looking to finish school. She kind of had the deck stacked against her with her friends all hooking up through the story. I didn’t like how Elise acted like an child with her temper. She’s quick to judge Rafael when she finds out he is married and when she walks out in the tea house, I found it hard to believe that she is as old as she was. I liked that Elise drew Rafael and though their paintings of each other were different, they complimented each other similar to how they were in the story itself.

There was a “bad guy” in the character of Professor Louisa Smythe. Not only was she going for the chairmanship of the department but she kept letting little bombs drop in Elise’s ears. Elise also had a want-to-be-more-than-a-neighbor by the name of Mike. He provided a few cute scenes and I especially like the search for the chess piece. The other minor characters were not well fleshed out and of little consequence to the story besides being background.

I found "Passion’s Professor" to be a remarkably well done first effort by Ms. Rhodes. With her attention to detail, I can’t wait to see what is next in store.