Review: Forbidden by Janelle Denison

Format: Paperbackforbidden
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Blaze, #19
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Joshua Michael Marchiano
Heroine: Paige Montgomery
Sensuality: 3
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.

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Short & Sweet Review: Tempted by Janelle Denison

Format: E-booktempted
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Blaze #35
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Marc Jamison
Heroine: Brooke Jamison
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: September 1, 2000
Started On: October 20, 2010
Finished On: October 22, 2010

As I finished the last chapter of Tempted by Janelle Denison, my first book by the author, I can still feel the tingles running up and down my body from the wicked and sensuous ride Ms. Denison has taken me on. I am very intrigued about going through the blacklist of Ms. Denison to find out whether all her books are as wickedly sinful as this one!

Storyline: This is the story of Brooke Jamison who just recently got divorced from Eric Jamison, her husband of two years, who unexpectedly finds forbidden frissons of desire exploding within her at the merest touch of her ex-brother-in-law Marc Jamison. Story kicks off when during the celebration of the 35th wedding anniversary of Douglas and Kathleen Jamison, Brooke’s in-laws, a chaste kiss between Marc and Brooke explodes into something more – something that brings out the wild and wanton side of Brooke that she doesn’t even know exists. *Fans self at the thought of that kiss! Whew!!*

The First Meet: There is no mention of how Brooke and Marc first meet, but working under the assumption that Marc is Brooke’s ex-brother-in-law, they most probably must have met each other when Eric had brought her to meet his family.

Time period: This romance has a contemporary setting.

Awareness between the two characters: I don’t think that Marc and Brooke could have been more aware of one another even if they had tried. There are hints within the story that Marc had always envied his brother for finding Brooke to share his life. But the true awakening of the senses begin with that one kiss that turns so hot that everything else just obliterates into nothing around them.

How the relationship grows: Marc and Brooke had always had a comfortable relationship with one another, had in fact being friends when Brooke had been married to Eric. But with that one kiss that propels everything out of control, Brooke who has always been the steady and dependable sort finds herself in a state of panic over losing herself once more over a Jamison. Marc lets her run away from him though he is intrigued on more than one level to find out whether the hint of explosive passion between them could be explored further. A man who believes himself incapable of being faithful in a committed relationship due to his one blunder when he had been a senior in college, Marc is a man who is of the love em’ and leave em’ kind. Three months after Brooke runs off from Marc, these two are stranded together in a snowstorm in a cabin with nothing to do but give into the emotions warring between them as a wild storm rages on outside. It is at this cabin that Brooke lets go of her restraints, learns of the sensual creature that exists inside of her and understands the complex man that Marc is, enough to fall in love with a Jamison, the second time round.

The turning point: The utmost turning point in the story was the first sizzling kiss between Marc and Brooke that begged to be explored further. Their relationship turns into something which cannot be undone when both Marc and Brooke give into this explosive desire between each other which eventually grows into something much more than either of them had bargained for.

Likes: Mmmm… I loved the world of sensual exploration in this story. I have to say that at times I felt like I was reading a novel of the Erotica genre as encounters between Marc and Brooke were frequent and searingly HOT! I loved the fact that Brooke and Marc communicated openly with one another rather than just settle into a vortex of misunderstanding which would have dragged on their problems. I liked the fact that both Brooke and Marc changed for the better during their short and sizzling affair though Ms. Denison doesn’t provide overnight solutions to their problems.

Dislikes: Absolutely none!

Recommended for: Harlequin Blaze line lovers. Though this book was published on the year 2000, this is a lip-smacking good read that should not be missed.

Favorite Quotes

Too soon he pulled back, and she lifted up on her feet to place a chaste kiss on his cheek – the same time he turned his head. Their lips met, momentarily startling them both. Over the past four years she’d shared many platonic kisses with her flirtatious brother-in-law, and this one started as innocently as any, his mouth brushing hers lightly … except somewhere along the way the tenor of the kiss changed, for both of them.
This time his lips lingered a little longer, and his mouth gradually, instinctively, exerted a gentle pressure that surpassed those chaste kisses they’d shared in the past. To her shock, a soft, unexpected moan of pleasure tickled her throat and his tongue stroked along her bottom lip in tentative exploration.
Her mind spun, her senses reeled, and she struggled to keep her perspective on the situation. Desires and denials crashed, confusing her. Nerve endings that had lain dormant for too long sizzled and came alive. And then she did something incredibly shameless – she touched her tongue to his.

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