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Publisher's Summary

When the handsome, wealthy Max Fortune, art collector extraordinaire, inherits five paintings at the death of his long-time friend and benefactor, he expects to receive them. Instead, his benefactor leaves only a clue to their whereabouts in a cryptic note which reads, "The most precious things I leave you, you'll find at the Robbins' Nest Inn."

Cleopatra Robbins, the beautiful owner of the Inn, always believed when the man of her dreams came along, she would know. When Max's fierce treasure hunt brings him to her doorstep, she realizes he is the embodiment of her fantasies -- except he's all wrong!

Could this hard-edged man make her risk trusting and loving again? Cleo decides to help Max break down his defenses, while keeping her own intact. Max knows she's hiding something - and by the time he realizes it's not the paintings, it's almost too late to save her from her dangerous past.

©2012 Jayne Ann Krentz (P)2012 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

"Jayne Ann Krentz at her best... with the snappy dialogue that has become her trademark and a cast of characters you want to know personally." ( Romantic Times)

What listeners say about Grand Passion

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A winner

This is a book I originally read on paper so I knew the story but it was interesting to hear it aloud and get a different view of the characters. It's always a winner when it's s Jayne Krentz book so I enjoyed it very much. I wish more of the older books were on audible.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Pleasant but predictable personal interaction.

I wanted more meat. Audiobook narrator made it worse.

Cleo runs a small hotel/inn. Her parents were killed a few years ago. A small group of friends work at the Inn. They call themselves a “Family.” This book takes the prize for using the word “Family” more than any other book I’ve read. Max arrives. Because he was a friend of Cleo’s friend, she gives him a job at minimum wage doing maintenance. He also gets room and board. She tells him he is now part of the “Family.” He likes this because he was brought up in foster homes. In one part Max wasn’t able to do something and thinks he might leave, but Cleo says it’s ok if you don’t succeed when you are part of the “Family.” (By the way, Max is wealthy and recently worked as a corporate executive. But Cleo doesn’t know that.) When talking to a bad guy Cleo says “you’re a product of a dysfunctional family.”

Someone is threatening Cleo. Max hires O’Reilly a PI to investigate. As soon as O’Reilly arrives, he and one of the women have an instant attraction. He is now also part of the “Family” and will walk a young woman down the aisle at her coming wedding. Max and Cleo had an instant attraction with a marriage proposal that was too soon for me. Their relationship needed more time. It felt thrown in.

This was mostly people puttering around the Inn, interacting, and getting along with each other. That was pleasant and kept my interest. But I’m marking this down because the suspense parts of the book were weak. There are three mysteries/subplots: 1. Where are the paintings that are supposed to be in Cleo’s possession that she knows nothing about? 2. Who is threatening Cleo? 3. Max used to work for a large hotel chain. They want Max to come back to his old job. Things get resolved at the end but not in new or different ways. It’s like the author just ended things the way she always does.

AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR Richard Ferrone:
I did not like his emotional interpretations for both the hero and heroine - like he made someone sound whiny or like a little girl. He was not sexy doing Max. He overacted when doing the villain art dealer Spark. He had an awful voice for Sammy the little boy. At times I heard his breaths which were annoying.

OTHER BOOKS:
This author is hit and miss with me. I liked her following books. All Night Long, Trust Me, Running Hot, Deep Waters, Sizzle and Burn, Twist of Fate.

Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: contemporary romance with some suspense.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent narration of 1997 romantic suspense

Max Fortune is a handsome, wealthy, 34-year-old businessman whose passion in life is collecting art. At the death of Jason Curzon, his extremely rich, 80-year-old friend, benefactor, and boss, Max has inherited from him five valuable paintings by modern artist, Amos Luttrell. The problem is, the only clue Jason has given him as to where the Luttrell paintings are located is a cryptic note which reads, "The most precious things I leave you, you'll find at the Robbins' Nest Inn." It takes Max over a month to locate the inn and its owner, whom he has cynically concluded must have been Jason’s mistress. However, on arriving at the cozy inn, there is nothing of the greedy temptress about Cleopatra Robbins, the 27-year-old, beautiful owner of the inn.

Cleo is a cheerfully harried proprietor of her cozy, family-friendly retreat, but underneath her sunny smiles, she is a woman with a tragic past. Her parents died a violent death four years before. The police concluded her father murdered her mother and killed himself, but Cleo knows how totally devoted her parents were to each other, and she never accepted that conclusion. Unfortunately, she has had no means to prove otherwise. With the money she inherited from her parents, she purchased her colorful inn, and has gained peace and healing by creating a family of affiliation with her quirky staff. A sentimental romantic, Cleo has never been willing to settle for less than the type of true love her parents enjoyed, and she always secretly believed that when the right man came along, she would recognize him instantly. The problem is, when Max appears in her life, her heart recognizes him instantly, but her logical brain questions her magnetic pull to him, because it is clear from the first that he is an emotionally closed off lone wolf.

From Max’s perspective, he is more disturbed than delighted when he finds himself more attracted to warm-hearted, lovely Cleo than any woman he’s ever known. It is clear from the start she is keeping a secret, and he’s afraid that secret is the fact that she is hiding the Luttrell paintings from him in order to keep them for herself.

This single-title, contemporary romance novel was first published in 1997. At the start of the story, Max more closely resembles the somewhat one-dimensional, emotionally stunted, traditionally masculine heroes so common in romance novels of the 1980’s versus the more emotionally open heroes that romance authors, including JAK, began to write after the early 2000’s. However, the saving grace of this hero is that, once he is surrounded by Cleo and her wonderful, loving friends, Max experiences a compelling, well-motivated growth arc into a three-dimensional, caring, loyal hero who more closely resembles romance heroes of the recent past.

Interestingly, at age 27, Cleo is perhaps the youngest heroine JAK has ever created in one of her contemporary novels. Virtually all of her other contemporary heroines have been 30 or 31 years old. In addition, as far as I can recall, having read every contemporary novel of JAK, Cleo is the only virgin heroine JAK has ever produced.

Though this is not the most complex or sophisticated romantic-suspense plot JAK has ever written, it did keep me guessing, and I was barely a step ahead of the climax in figuring out who the villain is.

I am a big fan of romance novels which contain a family of affiliation, and this novel offers one of the most adorable coterie of friends that JAK has ever created.

There was a previous audiobook version of this novel narrated by Joyce Bean soon after the original release date of this novel. I liked that version, but I got it from the library and did not own it myself. I recently purchased from Audible the current version, which was released in 2012 and is narrated by Richard Ferrone. He does an excellent job acting out all the parts and portraying male and female voices of characters of all ages.

I rate this novel as follows:

Heroine: 4 stars
Hero: 4 stars
Subcharacters: 4 stars
Romance Plot: 4 stars
Family of Affiliation Plot: 4 stars
Suspense Plot: 4 stars
Setting: 4 stars
Writing: 4 stars
Audiobook Narration: 4 stars
Overall: 4 stars

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Narrator sounds like a dirty old man

This was one of my favorite JAKs and the narrator ruined it. Why do they pick a narrator with such an old-sounding voice for a contemporary romance? Ferrone may be great for non-fiction, but definitely NOT for a lighthearted romance.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A good listen despite narrator's female voice impersonation flaws

When I first began to listen to this audio book I was bothered by the narrator's impersonation of female voices. However, I persisted listening because this is one of my absolutely positively favorite JAK novels. Eventually, the wrongness of the female voices by deep voiced narrator Richard Ferrone faded into insignificance and I was able to fully savor this audio version of a favorite romantic suspense with humor novel. I have gotten countless hours of joy savoring the novels of JAK especially during times of personal stress. Reading (and now listening) to her novels brings me smiles and a lightened heart. Always happy endings for heroines and heroes and their friends.

This particular novel is about a hero who never had a family from a very young age. For over 30 years he has substituted collecting things to replace the hole left in his life by a lack of family. He ends up at Robin's Nest Inn that is owned by the heroine who has created a very special family, a very good family. There is nothing in the world that can replace a very good family. I was and still am blessed by my own very good family which is why I appreciate JAK's romances in which family, whether by blood or by loving friends, always plays an important part.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting

An oldie but interesting retelling of two very different people who change and fall in love while battling a stalker and looking for a mysterious inheritance.