Read with: Paperback
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Blaze, #19
Hero: Joshua Michael Marchiano
Heroine: Paige Montgomery
Date of Publication: April 1, 1999
Started On: December 17, 2010
Finished On: December 17, 2010
I have always been interested in reading about the love that blossoms between two people that society or circumstances deem SHOULD not fall in love. Feelings that they both should deny makes itself known, regardless of how much they try to control their emotions and that in itself makes for a deliciously clandestine read. After reading and reviewing Ms. Denison’s book Tempted which was a delightfully sensual novel, I forayed into her backlist to stumble upon this title which seemed to call out “pick me!” from the book synopsis and raised high expectations within me keeping me on tenterhooks till my precious books made their way to the Maldives from USA. This book ended up being totally different from what I expected, not that the story that unfolded was bad in anyway, but because I expected something other than what I found in the story, I ended up sort of between being happy that I did get to read a good story regardless and a tad disappointed because I didn’t find in Josh and Paige’s story what I really wanted from them.
The story kicks off during Paige’s husband, Anthony Montgomery’s funeral. Paige and Anthony had been married for 3 years, the last 2 years of which was lived in abject misery on Paige’s part. It is Anthony’s best friend Josh that steps in and offers her his friendship, an act which backfires on Josh when he hopelessly falls in love with the one woman he will never get to have; until Anthony is killed in his latest undercover mission bringing to light the fact that Anthony had been a dirty cop who had profited from underhand deals in the criminal worlds that he had inhibited as part of his job.
Paige had always been treated more as a possession than as a wife by Anthony and Paige had just initiated divorce proceedings when she gets the news of Anthony’s death. The depth of Anthony’s immense betrayal hits home 3 months later when Josh comes bearing news that Anthony had actually been killed by the mob boss of the jewelery smuggling ring that Anthony had been assigned to infiltrate because he had stolen a necklace worth millions of dollars from them inevitably putting Paige in danger.
Vulnerability and the shock of betrayal which leaves Paige reeling sends her into the arms of Josh where at last she gets the type of physical and emotional fulfillment Paige has only dreamed about till now. It is Josh’s mission to protect Paige at any cost, use her as bait to draw the mob boss in and act as her live in lover whilst all this takes place. And when Josh learns of the extent of hurt and resentment that Anthony had bred in Paige’s heart towards marriage to anyone working in the law enforcement, the hope that had burgeoned in his heart after Paige turned to him for comfort and they both had experienced out of this world passion with one another as a result comes crashing down leaving Josh with only one choice; let the woman who has captured his heart walk away forever if that’s the only way that Paige can be happy.
I liked the overall premise of the story which is a mix of a friends to lovers story with very little “forbidden” moments thrown in to the mix of bad guys who were after the necklace which Paige’s dead husband had stolen. Josh is a likable hero who has given his heart to Paige somewhere along the way when their friendship had first started to blossom, which makes him the vulnerable one in the story. Paige was likable as well because she is determined that she learn from her mistake with Anthony and is wary of trusting someone with her heart again, and though Josh shows her in all the ways how different he is from Anthony, Paige is stubborn enough to hold on to her convictions until it becomes almost too late for her change her mind.
Obviously as I started out saying, I expected something a bit more different from this story. With a title like “Forbidden” my mind conjures up stolen kisses that heat up the reader’s insides, breathless passion between the hero and heroine which they both try to deny but which explodes anyway because they are two halves of one soul who have just found their way to each other. And though this story delivers in spades in the awareness department between Paige and Josh, there just didn’t seem to be enough moments of the forbidden variety in the story which kind of depleted my enjoyment levels with this one.
All in all, not a bad read though I wish the story could have been a different one altogether.