Passion for the Game (Georgian, Book 2) - Sylvia Day My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...

I am so disappointed in Christopher’s story. It started out quite promising but went downhill after a few chapters. I didn’t really feel the plot, skipped quite a bit. And then, it just had many eww-factors/awkward situations than I care to read. I tried but just couldn’t really like or connect with either Maria or Christopher. I’ll try to point out the problems I had in this book in my review.

I wasn’t sure when this story started since there was not specific timeline. I guessed a few years into the 1st book, Ask For It. There were no mentions/re-visiting the Westfields, Marcus and Elizabeth, which I would’ve definitely loved. Christopher, who used to be a pirate and smuggler, played a vital role in that book and I really admired him. He was caught in a fracas at the end of the book but was released by the agency, where Marcus, the hero of Ask For It worked. The agency is basically a spy network working for the Crown. Most of its spies are from the peerage. So, one lord Sedgewick asked Christopher to do something in return for his so-called freedom- he needs to seduce and coax information out from the Wintry Widow, Lady Maria Winter because she’s a suspect of the murders of her two husbands, who were agents. Sedewick, as far as I understood, was holding some people/alibis to Christopher so that he does this job to save them. It would give Sedgewick a boost in his career. Needless to say, the agency probably didn’t know about it. I’m not sure. So Chritopher is a rake who has never reined in his physical appetite. He knows seducing the widow won’t be a problem but he doesn’t like her kind, always so conscious about their looks that don’t know how to enjoy a good, vigorous shagging. But he’d do it because he needs his freedom. Anyway, he sees her in an opera and instantly attracted to her beauty- a Spanish blooded one, with dark eyes and hair. An incident introduces them informally and she recognizes him, the reason for which I’ll explain shortly. The intense lust is there and both are determined to have their way with each-other, and it’s not just sex but a trap of lies and deceptions.

Maria’s Spanish mother married Lord Welton when her English father died. Her childhood was full of happiness, until her mother married the serpent that had a very appealing physical structure. Yes, Welton is very good looking and was charming to her mother before marriage. And afterwards, when her half-sister, Amelia was born, her mother begins to go into a decline. Maria didn’t know what happened to her but when she died, Amelia was only 7 and she around 15/16. Welton, from then on, kept saying how ‘useful’ she’d be to him with her beauty and the social deportment she learned, for which he paid generously. Of couse, none came from his pocket. Welton is not only a selfish whoremonger but also pure evil. He manipulated her to marry her 1st elderly husband at 17. Maria liked the man, even loved him but was never in love with him. That man, Dayton, was in love with his deceased 1st wife. I understood that he was very fond of Maria and knowing her problems with Welton, he taught her how to work with a gun and study maps etc., very secretly of course. He never consummated the marriage or rather Maria’s 1st time was with a servant of the house that she fancied and it was done by Dayton’s consent. I think he never slept with her. That was not an information I’d admire in a heroine. Then he died soon enough, about a year or so after their marriage, from poisoning. I got that Maria knew of it, as she learned later that her mother was also slow poisoned by Welton for money, as he did to Dayton. Maria kept it all a secret because Welton moved Amelia just after their mother died and Maria hasn’t seen her since. She wants her sister back but doesn’t know how to get past Welton’s mechinations. Well, given to how ‘smart and sly’ she was portrayed here, I had no idea how to feel about this situation. So Welton manipulated her more, kept her in a good position and social status but underneath, her job was to snare men and their money. So I think she slept with many men (with consent or otherwise) and a few years ago married Winter. About Winter, nothing much is known since she didn’t like him. It was implied that he used her for his physical pleasure only and nothing else. Winter died the same way 2 years ago. Afterwards, Maria got the title of Wintry Widow. When I read about the title (since the blurb explained nothing else) I thought maybe she keeps men at bay, cold but not promiscuous. It would be so much fun to see Christopher the randy pirate and the Wintry Widow fall for each-other! But of course, it didn’t happen that way. Then, as the story continued, I learned that Welton wants Maria to seduce Christopher for the same reason, money. Maria knew of the pirate from his fame and the wanted posters (I’m assuming lol) so when she saw him, she recognized him instantly. Maria was adamant that she has to sleep with the pirate to go with Welton’s dictate. Then Christopher makes sure she attends a house party of some lord, where they could play out this charade.

So far, I was sympathizing with Maria for her bad luck in life but then we met Simon Quinn, an Irish commoner who lives with Maria and investigates her matters. He is her junior but not a green boy by any means. She saved him 2 yrs ago, just after Winter died, from a brawl or something by taking a pistol to men who attacked him. Simon was impressed, so was Maria not only with his fighting abilities but also his virile body... Whoa there, huh? Then the bomb blasted, yes, they’ve done it ever since. I mean WTF? Why do you have to sleep with a man you saved, just like this? Just because he’s handsome and all that? So, was it a gratitude f*ck? I don’t know. But I got that Simon was very interested to take it deeper, he really likes her but Maria put a halt to it. It’s not that she didn’t like the f*ck, that she didn’t like Simon but..... I have NO idea why! Simon is still interested in her though he sleeps with other women which include subjects he’s investigating to coax out information for Maria. And these two, they discuss about whom they would f*ck next like they’re talking about the dinner plan. Holy f*ck! Soooooooo grooossss! Yeah well, Simon was a bit possessive of Maria and didn’t like her sleeping with other men but he never said anything. And Maria? She has NO problem whatsoever with Simon’s lifestyle since it only complements hers and brings the information she needs. Simon is working for her, cares for her etc etc so why give a damn? I found her too sly and cold for my liking. And so it went on; Simon was there everywhere, for the better part of the book, playing the possessive ex-lover whenever Christopher was around. When he wasn’t being angry on Maria’s behalf (something I don’t think she genuinely appreciated), he was holding her, kissing her, touching her, even seeing her naked from the bath etc. while dropping subtle hints that he’d like to continue with what she stopped a yr ago. Can you tell I was gagging? *gag* Then I learned that he’s the hero of the 4th book, oh good lord! I don’t think I’ve read another HR series where there was a messy situation like this one. In between, Maria was planning her seduction of Pirate St. John and asked Simon to sleep with the woman he brought in the house party, which Simon does like a good boy... of course, information are to be gleaned! Whatever!

Christopher was fantasizing about one certain Wintry Widow, which he was venting on one whore in his keeping, who has Maria’s coloring. It’s nothing new to him and I was tired of reading about his sex life with thousand other women, including his 1st time, which was done against a wall of an alleyway with a whore and many spectators close by. They were his cronies. YUK! Lord but I HATE to read such things about a hero of the book. But this information came to me in the later part of the book, with Maria’s 1st time as they talked about it like they’re planning the next outing in the park. So, he keeps whores who service him, he also gives them assignments to sleep with suspects and so on for information. He goes to a certain brothel too where he not only f*cks it’s madame (rather a f*ckbuddy type thing) but also her chosen girls. Then there are other implied situations (and I thought he’s a man I could resepect while I was reading Ask For It) .... Someone scrub my brain so that I can forget what I read, egh! .... In the house party, he brings the same one he shagged fantasizing Maria, to use her against the Irishman. It works but she also slips information to Simon. I didn’t particularly like the 1st sex scene between Maria and Christopher. It was weird; they were quarrelling and fighting while going about it... if that means anything at all. It was pure f*cking, nothing else which rather reminded me of the Tasmanian devils in heat. I saw something like that on Animal Planet a while ago and was laughing hard seeing how they go about it. So..... erm, I wasn’t sure what to think here.

But it seems like both leaves their ‘imprints’ on each-other *snorts* and doesn’t see each-other for sometimes. Maria was a bit shaken by the intense sex, so was Christopher. Since Maria leaves the house the next dawn without telling him anything at all, Christopher took the easier way out to get off the edge, by f*cking 3 girls in 2 nights of that certain brothel. And all these happened in about 1st 4/5 chapters of the book. I kinda lost my interest afterwards but I had to know what happened to Amelia and so on. I had no interest in the trap of deception they build around each-other because it was one utterly horrible mess. So, they dance around each-other for a while but don’t have sex. Both are obsessed but I think Christopher was more so than Maria. He was ‘a little’ jealous of Simon but not enough to stake his claim like the primitive man, which I would’ve liked. Then again, I didn’t care for Maria much so I was going through a motion myself. I’ve already mentioned how Simon was for the better part of the book and took the spotlight off Christopher. I was seriously confused as to why Simon was such a prominent figure. I already thought his and Maria’s relationship should’ve better played out if it was chaste. Then I would’ve respected them more for not falling for the convenient way since it never developed anything beyond physical. Yah they are still good friends and work together..... blah di blah di blah!

In between we learn how Maria is trying to find Amelia. She almost does in one incident and then got badly injured. Christopher rushes in like the concerned lover and Simon was already raging as the possessive and concerned lover since he resided with her. *rolls eyes* And oh, oh, Maria calls him ‘love’ all the freakin’ time, it’s Simon love to her... Ewww! So does Christopher to his whores. Charming pair, they are! And Simon? He calls Maria his bloody mhuirnín, can’t start addressing her without it. Lord, I loved this word from another HR where the H used to call the h this but here? Nope! Anyway, this and that happens and we see how Amelia is living a very sheltered life her very coldhearted father made her live, in a very distant English countryside. He ignores her to the max, never keeps her in one place, changes her governesses very often so that no emotional attachment is formed with any of them. The only thing constant in Amelia’s life is their coachman, a Roma and his half English nephew, Colin the stable boy who used to be her playmate. Amelia has a girlish infatuation on Colin now that she’s 16 and he’s 19. But Colin ignores her because his uncle reminded him of his status and that this will never be. Colin loves her, no doubt about it but he’s unable to act on it. Amelia is hurt by Colin’s behavior. She’s also very lonely so one day she spies out of the boundary wall to go out in a nearby stream where she meets the Earl of Ware, a very friendly fellow close to her own age. They form a pleasant relationship over the days and Ware came off as a very nice guy, who might grow up to be a true gentleman. It was apparent that he cared for Amelia, treasured their friendship and was concerned about her predicament. As Colin keeps ignoring her, Amelia feels depressed. One day, she goes to the town with her governess where she sees Colin with another girl, kissing and on the verge of making out. She is very hurt and shocked to see this. Colin runs after her and tries to talk but she keeps avoiding him. But soon, he catches her alone one day and kisses her senseless while telling her of his despair for their impossible situation. Oh, I did feel for this young pair. Though Colin was not so intense like Merripen, I believed in his feelings for Amelia. Then, the incident in which Maria was injured, Amelia keeps thinking of that too. She saw Maria but her father always told her she’s a bad influence and lives a shocking lifestyle. But Amelia begins to doubt her father’s words and her determination on seeing her sister grew with it.

Back to Maria and Christopher. Another agent called Lord Eddington, another rakehell, was introduced to Maria by Welton for you-know-what purpose. Have to mention, one of Maria’s goal was after saving Amelia somehow, she’ll take care of her ghastly business with Welton. So she keeps dancing on his tune so that he doesn’t get suspicious. But, it turns out Eddington knows her association with Christopher and wants her to work for him. He also wants information on the pirate to use it against him. Eddington keeps coming back for the rest of the book to coax Maria so that she stays in her track. I don’t really remember the continuation of the story paragraph by paragraph since I skimmed though a lot of it. More investigations were done from both sides, with Simon sleeping with more women that included one maid of Sedgewick’s house (ewww!). Maria wanted to know what is Sedgewick’s relationship with Christopher. On the other hand, a man called Tim who works for Christopher, was inside Maria’s house now and relaying messages for him. Soon, they both learned of the deception they’re playing at each-other. In between they had sex a few times, most of which was to get each-other out of their systems, something that never came to pass. Maria, by now, knew she’s falling for her pirate. So was Christopher. After knowing that they’re both deceiving each-other to do themselves in, Christopher decides to sacrifice himself so that Maria could keep Amelia. And Maria? She plans with Eddington to betray Christopher for Amelia’s sake. Yess, she did that! I would’ve definitely given this book a 2 (or less) star if she went through with that plan but I’m glad she saved the book by informing him about it soon afterwards. Here, Simon was absent on some other errands (Sedgewick case I think) so these two got sometimes to come to terms with their feelings. They also had some chitchats, like ‘the 1st time story relay round’. It was very hard for me to read that Maria wasn’t jealous about Christopher’s other women whereas I was feeling sick to my stomach.

Anyhooooo! After Maria and Christopher talk openly about the betrayal thing, they decide that their feelings for each-other are more solid... That it’s love. So they cooked up some plans together to get rid of the people causing trouble in their lives, like Welton and Sedgewick and then save Amelia. Eddington was another trouble since he was now blackmailing Maria with Amelia’s whereabouts and that he’d use her to get what he wants from Maria. Meanwhile, Christopher has already learned of Amelia thorough his men to find out more about Maria and her situation. When they plan, Maria and Christopher leave Eddington out of it and focus on Welton and Sedgewick. They make a good plan which played out nicely and removed both men from their life. In the meantime, Colin was fighting a battle on Amelia’s behalf when Eddington and Christopher’s men collide. He saves Amelia but something happens... Amelia is brought home safely by Christopher’s men when she breaks down, wailing about Colin being dead and so on... I did like this last part with the actions and the sisters reuniting. Oh yah, Simon was in residence by then but knowing that things have gone far between Maria and the pirate, he decides to bow out. *shakes head in exasperation*

But Colin wasn’t dead. It was hard for me to understand the whole situation since it wasn’t described. We never really knew what happened to Colin in that fight. Anyway, he comes to see Simon for Amelia’s whereabouts. Simon was now living apart from Maria as she has agreed to marry Christopher. He then tempts Colin with some incentives that might work well for him... El fin. Or rather, on to the next installment. Ah, well, 3.5 stars because honestly, there were moments I did enjoy this book (some banters between Maria and Christopher were good and I liked that she was smart and so on). I would be cheating if I don’t appreciate those. But those were too few and far between for me. I only hope that I enjoy the next installment that tells us of Colin and Amelia’s story.