A new story of dangerous temptations from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the This Man trilogy.
Annie has never experienced the 'spark' with a guy - the kind of instant chemistry that steals your breath and blindsides you completely. Until a night out with friends brings her face to face with the wickedly sexy and mysterious Jack. It's not just a spark that ignites between them. It's an explosion. Jack promises to consume Annie, and he fully delivers on that promise.
Overwhelmed by the intensity of their one night together, Annie slips out of their hotel room. She is certain that a man who's had such a powerful impact on her and who could bend her to his will so easily, must be dangerous. But she's already in too deep. And Jack isn't only dangerous. He is forbidden.
This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. For so many reasons. The writing; the story; the willingness of the author to tell a story that is messy, one in which the hero's armor is just a little tarnished, and the heroine isn't quite someone you can fully want to be. Jack and Annie are both flawed, human, and so drawn to one another they aren't able to fight it.
This book, if you haven't figured it out by the reviews, the blurb, and the note from the author at the beginning has cheating. I am not going to get into the details of the who, and the how, but it is definitely in there.
And, that is going to turn some off of this title. Full disclosure, I am not bothered by books with cheating in them, so this was not a concern for me at all. I find them fascinating, as it is not a world I have ever been in, or an experience I have ever had, making them books that take me to situations I haven't lived in my own life.
I get it. Cheating is tough, it hurts everyone, it's awful if it has happened to you, and it is awful if it hasn't. Or is it? When is it justified? Never? In certain circumstances? What about in the case of physical or emotional abuse? What if one partner in the marriage/relationship wants out, so they cheat? Is it ok then? You want to say no. That it is never ok. And, in the romance world, that is often the case. So, this book is just a little taboo, and a little forbidden, just like their relationship.
In this book, you explore an affair between Jack and Annie. You are with her as she struggles with herself, with what she wants, and her actions, and with him as he is aware of the hurt he is causing, the hurt he is going to cause to someone, no matter how it ends. Their story, and this book, is one of an affair.
To me, the forbidden in this was less the affair and more the directness with how it was handled. Ms. Malpas doesn't pull any punches. It's not sweetened, it isn't unicorns and kittens, it's tears and heartache. It's real. It's the story of people, to paraphrase the book, who finally want something enough that they are willing to put aside their integrity. And, isn't that when you listen to your soul, your heart, when it wants something that badly?
As the author says, I hope you give this a chance as it is a stunningly well written book, and it is amazingly thought provoking.
Would you walk away?
Would you stay?
You think you know what you would do, but then you get into a situation like Annie and Jack, and as often happens in life, the hypothetical things you always knew you would do in a situation are just that much harder. When feelings and emotions get involved, the decisions become harder to make, even if you know what you think you should do.
This book picks up the messy parts of the life choices that got Annie and Jack to where they are, and it makes the reader face them as they do. As a reader, you are not always totally sure if there will be a HEA for them, and there are times you are not sure they deserve it. Then you are reminded that they truly love one another, and they want their happiness, so you want it for them. And, then you question, as a reader, if it is ok to want it for them, to want them to be happy, because you like them and want the HEA.
Skillfully, almost so you don't notice it, the author puts the reader into Jack and Annie's position. To want them to have their HEA, you have to embrace the same reasons that are willing to take the chance on their entire relationship. You have to believe, as they do, that no matter how they got here, they are meant to be with one another. And, to get to this point, you have to be willing to accept how they got there.
It was perfectly written and executed flawlessly. The pacing was strong, with the plot moving quickly enough that you were along for a fast paced ride that told a story with depth and sincerity.
I recommend this title.
THE FORBIDDEN MUSIC PLAYLIST
The Forbidden tracks
Unlike This Man & One Night, I didn’t really use much music in The Forbidden. But I did listen to it during the writing process, and there are a few tracks that had a place within the story for one reason or another.
Madonna – Like A Prayer
When Annie is getting ready for her girls night out, she’s dances around her bedroom in her towel with a glass of wine singing along. Because what woman doesn’t like a bit of Madonna? It’s like the perfect track to get ready to. Any everyone knows the words!
Above & Beyond – Sun & Moon
This was the track of the moment for me while I was writing The Forbidden. The lyrics ring so true for Annie’s disposition at this moment in the story, and I kept imagining her bursting through Hyde Park on a spontaneous morning run, feeling like she had a new lease of life. “We’re in heaven, you and I. When I lay with you and close my eyes, my fingers touch the sky.” Perfecto!
Moby - Go
Annie’s friend, while slightly drunk on their night out, puts herself on the dance floor and has a bit of a drunken sway. This track has always been a firm favourite of mine, the tempo intense, and it was perfect for the atmosphere in the bar when Annie and Jack first set eyes on each other.
Jean Jacques Smoothie – 2 People
This track was originally in the book, but after edit was removed. The words are perfect for the chemistry and feels that Jack and Annie had on their first encounter. There are literally 16 words in the whole track, and each one is perfect. To me, the lyrics represent the joining of two people who are just meant to be.
Two people, just meeting Barely touching each other Two spirits greeting Trying to carry it further
Zedd – Clarity (Feat Foxes)
This didn’t make it into the book, but it was a huge track at the time I was writing The Forbidden and always seemed to be on the radio everytime I got in the car! I always thought how apt the words were for Annie & Jack.
“If our love is tragedy why are you my remedy If our love's insanity why are you my clarity”
The Forbidden – Alfie Malpas
This seems a bit strange to share, but, ultimately, it deserves first place in my list in terms of ‘the feels’. This is the track for the book trailer, and it was produced by my son J He’s a bit of a whizz when it comes to music, and there have been many tracks I’ve used in past books that Alfie has brought to me because he just knows I’ll love them. He has a knack of finding immense music by artists many haven’t heard of yet. But this track he actually produced from scratch himself. I went to him with a brief. I wanted intense, almost uncomfortable. He came back with this, and though it is massively far removed from what he usually produces, he done me so proud. It is perfect for The Forbidden.
James - Top Of The World
One of my all-time favourites. There’s a scene in The Forbidden when Annie is aimlessly wandering the streets of London. It’s a moment in which she is lost and trying to silently comprehend where she is at in her life and what she is doing. Top of The World couldn’t be more fitting for her frame of mind.
Alanis Morissette – Uninvited
Another old favourite. Simple, really. “You’re not allowed. You’re uninvited.” In my mind, that’s what Annie is saying to herself all the time about Jack. She’s angry at his persistence. Tries to tell herself to steer clear. But your heart doesn’t always listen to your head.
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“Thank you for your help,” I say quietly, studying him, definitely detecting that he’s deep in thought. Don’t ask, don’t ask, don’t ask. I need to get back into my apartment without engaging with him, which could prove tricky when he’s blocking the doorway and looking like he has no intention of shifting to let me in.
“Annie,” he breathes. “I’m struggling so badly.”
“I’m not doing this.” I swallow, pushing my way past him. He grabs me by the top of my arm and holds me in place. “Let me go, Jack.”
“I’ve already told you I can’t do that. Annie, I’m drowning here. I’m going out of my mind, and the more time I spend with you the fucking worse it’s getting. Listening to you, talking to you, sharing a passion with you that goes way beyond the amazing time we had in bed together.”
“You have to forget!” I yell, knowing anger is the only way forward. Be angry with him. Let it dominate me and rule me, because the alternative scares me to fucking death.
He pushes me into the hall and slams the door behind us, forcing me to back up. “No,” he says, straight and even. “No,” he repeats, moving one more step forward, except this time I don’t retreat. Because I can’t. Because he has me locked in place with those grey eyes, and now they’re back to their full glory. Sparkling, even if it’s with anger. He reaches for his shirt and starts unbuttoning it before shrugging it off and throwing it to the floor, revealing the chest that’s haunting me.
I quickly look down at the pile of material, my mind reeling. His chest. His perfect damn chest.
“What are you doing?”
“I have no fucking idea.” He reaches for me and slides a hand around my neck, pulling me to him. Our chests meet, and my determination to repel him vanishes under our connection. Wrongs turn into rights. Conflict turns into craving.
“I can’t get you out of my head, Annie.” His forehead meets mine, his palm massaging away the tightness in my neck muscles, softening me up until I relax in his hold. “I want you all over again, and I can’t even find the will to worry about how much more that’ll make me want you.” He breathes down on me. “I’ve played that night on repeat. I’ve dreamed of holding you in my arms again. I’ve craved the sound of your voice, the feel of your touch, the softness of your lips on mine. I know I shouldn’t want you. But I do. Nothing has ever made me feel this insane with need. Nothing has taken up so much space in my head. I can’t fucking help it, Annie.” His grey gaze sinks into me, my heart steadying to an even thrum. His head starts to shake mildly, his splayed hand moving up to the back of my head and fisting my hair. “I don’t want to help it,” he growls. “I want you. I don’t care how wrong it is.” His clenched fist tightens, gripping my hair harshly. “I know I’ve been on your mind since I fucked you every which way in that hotel room. Stop denying it. Don’t insult me and tell me you don’t crave that amazing feeling all over again. I can see it in your eyes every damn time I look into them. You. Want. Me.”
It’s me who moves in first. All me. I lunge forward and smash my lips to his, the magnetic force winning. His words winning. Jack winning. My heart winning. I coax his mouth open with hard, hungry kisses. I’ve lost my mind to a craving too powerful to fight off. And, like Jack, I don’t care how wrong it is.
Yet as he walks me backward until my back slams into the wall, I feel found again.
I cry out, and Jack moans. We’re clumsy and desperate. He’s pushing me up the wall with the force of his kiss, then he’s rolling away, taking me with him until it’s his back slamming into the wall. It’s the elevator all over again. The atmosphere is sizzling. I’m on fire. He scoops me up, pinning me to him, and carries me into my bedroom. I focus on him. Only him and the return of feelings that I’ve fantasized about since that unforgettable night. All the guilt is abandoning me, and I let it, unprepared to let anything stop me from taking the forbidden.
About the Author
Jodi Ellen Malpas was born and raised in the Midlands’ town of Northampton, England, where she lives with her two boys. Working for her father’s construction business full-time, she tried to ignore the lingering idea of writing until it became impossible. She wrote in secret for a long time before finally finding the courage to unleash her creative streak, and in October 2012 she released This Man. She took a chance on a story with some intense characters and sparked incredible reactions from women all over the world. Writing powerful love stories and creating addictive characters have become her passion, a passion she now shares with her devoted readers.
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