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THE FORBIDDEN MAN by Elle Wright (July 28, 2015; Forever Mass Market; The Edge of Scandal #1)
In Love With the Wrong Man
Sydney Williams has forgiven her fiancé, Den, more times than she can count. But his latest betrayal just days before their wedding is too big to ignore. Shocking her friends and family, she calls off the engagement. She walks out on Den . . . and into the arms of his brother, Morgan.
Known as a player, Morgan Smith has secretly spent years fighting his feelings for Sydney. When Den's latest dirty deed leaves Sydney devastated, Morgan can't stop himself from coming to her rescue. What begins as friendship quickly escalates into all-consuming passion. Despite their intense connection, Sydney would rather deny her desire than come between brothers. But as Morgan is determined to make Sydney his, Den won't give her up without a fight . . .
My review - but before I do that, isn't that an awesome cover? Tender yet sexy. I love it.
In my reviews I don't tell the story, that's what the blurb is for and I don't give spoilers. So...
Ms. Wright has written a contemporary romance full of drama, emotion and scandal. Family loyalties are challenged as are friendships. The hero and heroine, Morgan and Sydney are well-written and very relatable. Many of us have had "friends" that may have turned into more, or at least we wish they had. They are determined, yet flawed and may not always make the best choices, but that's what love does, isn't it? The secondary characters (family and friends) are solid, lively with their own personalities and concerns, who bring added conflict and humor to the story.
This was a fast read for me as I rooted for Morgan and Sydney and was anxious to see how their dilemma was resolved. The writing was solid and the sex was spicy - just how I like it.
I give THE FORBIDDEN MAN four big glasses of delicious red wine!! Grab a glass and enjoy!!
Buy the book!
“Are you still feeling cold?” he asked, adjusting the heater and finishing off the contents of his flask.
“Actually, I’m feeling pretty hot.” She jumped when he started coughing. “Are you okay?”
He wiped his mouth. “I’m straight.”
“You sure?” Syd studied his face as she smoothed her hand over his back.
“Yeah.” He closed the flask and tucked it back into his pocket. “It’s the liquor.”
“The bourbon.” He patted his pocket. “It’s making you hot.”
“Somehow I doubt that,” she mumbled.
“What?” he asked, leaning in closer.
I doubt it’s the liquor. “Forget it. I’m cold again.” She burrowed into him.
“You want me to make you hot?” he asked.
Her eyes flashed to his and her lips parted.
“I meant . . .” He cleared his throat and shifted in his seat.
“Uh, I can turn the heat up.”
“No.” She forced a smile and lowered her gaze. “It’s fine.”
When his hand caressed her cheek, her eyes closed of their own volition. Time seemed to stand still. She felt his warm breath on her skin above her lips. “I think—”
She dug her nails into his knee. “Maybe you should call Kent again. See where he is.”
He slid his thumb down the side of her neck.
She exhaled. So this is what Terry McMillan meant when she waited to exhale? “Because this isn’t going anywhere good. You’re acting like you want to kiss me and I know that’s not true,” she joked.
He clenched her hair in his hands and tugged gently.
“How do you know that?”
She searched his eyes. “Do you? I mean—do you want to?”
“I do—and so many other things.”
She let out a nervous giggle. “I think you’re feeling the effects of that gasoline you’re drinking, Morgan.”
His gaze dropped to her mouth as his hand crept up her thigh and rested on her hip. She jumped in surprise when he squeezed. “Actually, I don’t believe I’m drunk enough,” he said. “At this point, I know exactly what I’m doing, which means I’d be held responsible for my actions.”
Syd placed her hands on his stomach and felt his taut muscles tighten in response. “Den would kill you. So would Red.”
Morgan traced her lips with his thumb. “It may be worth it. Let me . . .” Then, his mouth was on hers, drawing a low moan from her mouth. The simple touch of his lips to hers set off a fire in Syd that seemed to burn brighter and hotter with every second.
She wrapped her arms tightly around his neck as he continued to assault her senses with his kisses. He slid his tongue across her bottom lip, demanding entrance, which she happily granted. She gripped a fistful of his hair as he pulled her onto his lap. He rocked into her, introducing her to his rock hard erection. She braced her other hand against the window as she grinded into him. He trailed hot, wet kisses down her throat and cupped her breasts in his hands. As his thumbs traced her nipples, she cried out and he captured her cry with his hot mouth.
Reluctantly, she tried to pull away, but he latched onto her bottom lip with his teeth and sucked. He obviously wasn’t ready for this to end . . . neither was she.
About the author:
Born and raised in Southeast Michigan near Ann Arbor, Elle learned the importance of reading from her mother. It was also her mother who, later on in her life, gave Elle her first romance nove: Indigo by Beverly Jenkins. From that moment on, Elle became a fan of Ms. Jenkins for life and a lover of all things romance. An old journal she wrote back in college became her first book (which she still wants to publish one day).
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The lovely and always funny Liv Rancourt is here today to talk about her new release, King Stud. I beta read this fun, contemporary romance (the final copy is waiting patiently on my kindle) and I can tell you it was a good one.
It also reminded me of a fun phrase that I liked to refer to Ryan as (and tease Liv) and how it came about. After a few drinks on Monday night poker games that my husband and I and two other couples used to play while watching Monday Night Football - yes I used to be able to stay up past 9:30 pm - we came up with a term of affection for 7 Card Stud**
Oh, and I still can't walk into Home Depot with thinking of Ryan...
Well over a year ago, when I thought my novel King Stud was ready for public consumption, I asked my friend Debbie to give it a read. She was generous with her comments and with her encouragement, and she said one thing that’s stayed with me and kept me going through all the rewrites.
“That Studly Hungwell,” she said. “You know, I like him a lot.”
So, for women everywhere, I felt compelled to continue working on King Stud so I could share Studly Hungwell….er….Ryan’s story. Because I’m conscientious like that. And when it came down to putting together this post, I realized you could learn quite a bit about Ryan in the novel’s first chapter. Let me give you a few examples…
Danielle’s at the Home Depot, trying to figure out where to start with a ginormous home remodel, when she runs into this (incredibly handsome) guy. Turns out he’s her best friend’s younger brother. Oops…
Ryan’s direct, the kind of guy who goes for what he wants.
"Must be bad to get you into Home Depot on a Sunday evening." Mr. Sideburns leaned on his cart and gave her an appreciative once-over, his almost-cocky baritone mellowed by a hint of laughter.
Hitting on me? Not until I’ve had a shower, dude. Danielle jumped up from the ladder, ready to run. "I’m good, thanks."
“Got that right,” he said, mostly to himself. “Sounds like you need a carpenter.” A wry grin tweaked the corner of his mouth, just enough to show a dimple. “Ryan O'Connor."
He’s effortlessly cool and incredibly hot at the same time.
He smiled wide enough to show both dimples. Yep. Definitely related to Maeve. As a kid he'd had freckles and a snub nose. His nose was still rounded at the end and it looked like he'd broken it at least once, and his jeans had the kind of shredded wear at the knees that L.A. hipsters paid big dollars to copy. Her reserve melted until it warmed parts of her anatomy that had no business heating up in a Home Depot store.
He’s got a helluva sense of humor and he’s kind of a flirt.
Finally a huge black pick-up pulled into the driveway. Ryan climbed out of the cab and surveyed the yard as if he’d already started a to-do list. “Nice pink Mini.” He gave her car a careless nod on his way to the front door.
Her eyes narrowed. Was he really going to make fun of her car? That was asking for trouble. “It’s cream.”
“Looks pink in this light. Only a real princess would drive a pink Mini.” He stood with his arms crossed and grinned up at her from the front walkway.
She squashed an answering smile. The O’Connors valued teasing more than anything, and if she didn’t dish it right back to him, she’d be in trouble. “And I suppose only a real man would drive a monster truck.”
“Don’t you mean F150? I’ve never heard of a 250.”
His half grin hinted at all kinds of inappropriate thoughts. “It’s bigger.”
Her stomach did a triple flip, and in self-defense she reached for the doorknob. I guess he’s old enough. “Compensating?”
“Don’t need to.” He put his foot on the lower step, his tone casual, his eyes hot.
She jerked her gaze away, convinced her blush would leave permanent burns on her cheeks. “Come on.”
Ryan didn’t move right away. Danielle gave him time to get a good look at the cracked 1930’s siding, the grass sprouting from the gutters, and the moss clinging to the shingles.
“Have you thought about tearing it down?” he asked.
“Come on, now,” she said, halfway laughing. “This place has great bones.”
His gaze worked her over with the same intensity he’d given the house. “Can’t argue with that.”
And did I mention he’s kind of a flirt? He’s also quite a bit younger than Danielle.
“This place ever get hit by a slide?”
Ryan’s question jerked Danielle back into the grubby basement. “A what?”
“Yeah, a few years ago. The road was closed for a couple weeks.” Danielle tried to remember the year by linking disaster with her favorite heels, favorite hairstyle, favorite song. “I was, like, a sophomore in high school.”
Ryan thought for a minute, frowning. “I would have been about second grade.”
Oh. Right. Good to remember. Not something to dwell on. Instead, she made a mental note that Ryan was cute even when he frowned.
Finally, and most importantly, Ryan takes care of people, even women he meets at the Home Depot.
He flipped a toggle at the bottom of the row of fuses and shifted to meet her eyes, though in the limited light she couldn’t read his expression. “You want the bad news first, or the good news?”
“That’s no fun.” The flashlight cast shadows in his dimples as his smile broadened. “The good news is, the foundation’s solid and the woodwork rocks.”
Okay. Things weren’t hopeless. “And…”
“The bad news is, I just cut the power, and you cannot stay here until you get an electrician to pull a permit and rewire the place.”
“Damn it.” Aggravation punched through her momentary peace, tightening the headache around her temples.
Ryan took a couple steps in her direction, and Danielle had to stop herself from putting her hands on his chest. She fought the uncharacteristic urge to lean into him and let him take over. Even more ridiculous, she had to cope with a gut level clench at being close to him. I don’t have time for this kind of bullshit.
“C’mon. We’ll go find some dinner and come up with a plan.”
She took a deep breath and blew it out loud. “We, as in you’re joining Team Jacobson?”
“Yep.” He rubbed his hands together, cracking the knuckles on one hand in the palm of the other. “All the original trim in this place it’s making my dick hard.”
Relief disabled her filter. “Dude, you’re what? Twenty-five? A gust of wind makes your dick hard.”
He shot her a sly grin. “Twenty-four, and, well…”
Maeve was so going to kill her.
And yeah, a flirt. But that’s okay, because he’s had a crush on Dani Jacobsen since he was old enough to know the meaning of the word. They’ve got some kinks to work out, but it’s a romance. Eventually they get it together. I mean, I couldn’t leave a guy named Studly Hungwell with anything but a happy ending, right?
Danielle’s got three months to make her Grandmother’s rundown Craftsman house livable. Her game plan is to get in, get grubby, and get back home to L.A. She needs a carpenter, and her best friend’s younger brother is a good one. It’s hard to ignore the buffed body under Ryan’s paint-splattered sweatshirts, but her friend declares he’s off-limits so Danielle reluctantly agrees.
Ryan doesn’t have the cleanest record, anyway. His recently ex-ed girlfriend wants him back, and he has a reputation for brawling. He’s also had a crush on Danielle since he was a kid. Despite their nine-year age difference, he knows she’s worth pursuing.
Soon the paint under Danielle’s fingernails starts feeling more natural than the L.A. sunshine. She’ll have to navigate plumbing disasters, money problems, and one seriously cranky best friend to find something she hasn’t had before: a real home, and a man who loves her.
I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire…or sometimes demon, and I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets. Who steal things. Because they’re brats.
I can be found on-line at all hours of the day and night at my website & blog (www.liv-rancourt.blogspot.com), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/liv.rancourt), or on Twitter (www.twitter.com/LivRancourt). Come find me. We’ll have fun!
I'm absolutely over the full moon!
Here's the gorgeous cover for my new anthology,
CURIOUSLY DARK TALES.
Supernatural beings and the evils of humanity come alive
in these six grim tales with a twist.
But wait…there's more exciting news - it's up for pre-order on Amazon for 99 cents. All you have to do is click HERE and it will be delivered to your Kindle on July 18th!
My first journey into self-publishing was not a solo trip. I couldn't have made it here without:
Jenn Gibson and Cindy Hammock. Between Cindy's wonderful artwork and Jenn's lovely photographs and computer genius they created my amazing cover. www.jennifergibson.ca
Jami Gray and Amber Kallyn at Wicked Dragon Writer Solutions for their professional and awesome editing job.
Erika Szabo, Author and Publishing Coach for designing the interior of my book, her expert advice and help guiding this newbie into the world of self-publishing. www.authorerikamszabo.com
And, the best beta readers in the world, Liv Rancourt, Nana Prah, Linda Rose, Terri-Lynne DeFino and Kathy Oliveri.
Thank you all so much. Huge cyber hugs for everyone!!
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