LOVE PLAY by Rosemary Rogers
Kirkus Star


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If Rogers' latest romance seems especially familiar in an old-fashioned way, maybe that's because it's essentially a sleek contemporary recycling of such flaring-nostril Rudy Valentino tent-creepers as The Sheik. Here the dark-skinned hero/villain/seducer is the Duc di Cavalieri, known to his friends as Marco--who shows his Moorish ancestry in ""the darkness of his skin, the blackness of his hair, the lips that were both sensual and cruel under slightly flaring nostrils."" And lately Marco has been flaring those nostrils in his castle in Sardinia (complete with ivory pool for skinny dipping). Enter, then: Sara Adams and her lookalike half-sister Delight--offspring of a British knight and Italian movie actress Mona. Delight, you see, has gotten pregnant by Marco's younger brother (she's the ""physical"" sister), and Marco opposes their marriage. So Sara (she's the ""cerebral"" sister) poses as Delight and winds up at the castle, where Marco sets out on a Passion Arousal program--which is eventually roaringly successful in the How-I-Hate-Him-But-Wow! manner. Much moldy dialogue ensues: ""I intend to keep you here as my new little toy--my whore and my plaything. . . ."" And though Sara tries to draw the line here and there (""You know I don't like kinkiness""), she is thoroughly deflowered, sensualized, and makes only a halfhearted attempt to escape sheik Marco's clutches. Finally, then, Marco realizes that he has debased Sara, not (as he thought) Delight, and he declares: "" 'I had begun to love you, my delight, my torment' . . . He almost snarled the last words before his storm-black glance caught her smile. . . . "" Don't look for watery Cartland silk here; this h more like damp camel--from a facile writer with that golden touch in paperback (now trade paperback) originals.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Avon