Taste of Passion by Renae Jones
Fedni, an empath who can taste emotion, was once a highly desirable courtesan. But the conquering New Earth Federation has abolished her temple, forcing her into early retirement and making her struggle to find her place in a transformed world.
Lonely and bored, she visits her ruggedly handsome new neighbor, an off-worlder doctor named Rasmus whose strange ways and delicious body arouse more than her curiosity. Hot, hard lust flares between them, and a series of steamy encounters reveals to Fedni a generous lover.
But incredible sex can’t keep their cultural differences at bay. Rasmus is disgusted by the temple system, and Fedni leaps to defend her way of life and to show him the beauty of her traditions. As their heated arguments make them each question their long-held beliefs, Fedni must reconcile her newfound knowledge and her pride in her past, or risk losing the man who stokes her passion to new heights.
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Quick post for a short novella:
2013 is the year I’ve gotten really interested in sci fi romance and TASTE OF PASSION is an erotic novel set on a different planet, one that has been conquered by the New Earth Federation. As a result, humans have moved in to help the local population adjust to their new ways. Fedni, one of the locals, has had her life turned completely upside down. She used to work in a Temple of Passion, basically a courtesan, and the laws of the New Earth Federation make her previous profession illegal. She’s forced to retrain and adjust to human standards, which makes her rather grumpy. (As it would.) Despite this, she finds herself quite attracted to Rasmus, her human neighbour, and she decides to act upon her attraction. Fedni is definitely the more aggressive one in this coupling when it comes to initiating things, and she does it with an endearing mixture of confidence, brazenness, and (hidden) self-doubt. The fact that she’s an empath makes things a bit more interesting, since she knows how Rasmus is responding, but still isn’t always 100% sure of herself, as she would be with most other lovers.
On the whole, TASTE OF PASSION is quite enjoyable. It’s definitely a steamy, 18+ read but there’s a nice amount of story to counter all of the smexiness. Jones does a great job of developing both Fedni and Rasmus, so that you can see them as living, breathing people who just happen to get it on a lot. Jones manages to get a lot of story into the 21,000 words she uses. It felt a bit short to me, but that was mostly because she definitely left me wanting more. Fedni and Rasmus don’t get to their forever HEA but they definitely move from being sex buddies to something with more romantic potential. I appreciate the realism in this sense — they really don’t know each other terribly well though they are well on their way to a strong relationship.
Renae Jones is definitely on my watch list now.