Forbidden Pleasures

Forbidden Pleasures by Monica Burns
Publisher: New Concepts Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full
Other: M/F, BDSM
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Xeranth

Love’s Revenge: Quentin Blackwell, the Devil of Devlyn, has returned home five years after a bitter betrayal by the woman he loved. He’d like nothing better than to extract his pound of flesh and when the opportunity presents itself, he’s more than eager to accept the challenge. Especially when it means exploring Sophie Hamilton’s delicious curves.

Love’s Portrait: When Julia Westgard commissions a nude portrait of herself, her rebellious behavior puts her at odds with the Marlborough Set’s most notorious rake, Morgan St. Claire. From the first moment Morgan sees Julia’s portrait, he’s determined to have her. But the woman he meets is a far cry from the image on canvas. What starts out as a simple exercise in seduction quickly evolves into a quest to reveal the true Julia Westgard. With each sensually, erotic encounter, he employs every seductive weapon at his disposal….

Rating: Contains graphic sexual content, adult situations, and explicit language.

Forbidden Pleasures is a double whammy of romance, fun and a sensually satisfying read. The stories are loosely linked to each other and their heroes are hard to choose between. It’s a toss up as to whether Quentin or Morgan is the hottest because they both have traits that hooked me.

Love’s Revenge follows Lord Devlyn, Quentin, and he’s got a major bone to pick with the Hamilton family. It was interesting to read about a man, a tried and true rake, who’d been taken advantage of by a woman so thoroughly, he was almost ruined. Usually it’s the men ruining women during that time in history. Quentin isn’t just your run-of-the-mill rake either; he is a survivor and a man of hidden honor and depths. How do you reach a man who’s been burned so badly? You waltz into his parlor with an outrageous proposition.

Sophie Hamilton is a surprising character. I enjoyed her innocence and bravado. She was such a contradiction that she had Quentin fighting with himself. She was like the sun flirting with the clouds and Quentin was akin to a cave dweller being dragged out into her light. He didn’t want to, fought it even, but in the end, the lure of Sophie’s warmth and feminine power broke through his reluctance. Together they wrought a change that benefited not only themselves but Sophie’s brother, Spencer.

Spencer Hamilton was a nice secondary character for whom I’d love to see a book with him as a hero once he got a bit older. There was something about him that intrigued me. Perhaps it was his bucking the odds, of being a better person that the man who begot him? In any event, he showed enough strength of character for me to want to read about him again.

Sophie’s introduction to the pleasures of married life was quite hot and very fun reading. The story is told from both Quentin and Sophie’s POVs and the dialogue was well paced and natural. Very fun.

Love’s Portrait introduces Morgan St. Clair and his prey, Julia Westgard.

Julia is a tortured heroine who is valiantly trying to heal from her horrid past marriage. She’s a strong character with a few verbal zingers that were a delight. Being a widow, she can do things an unmarried woman cannot and she pushes those boundaries in hopes it will satisfy something deep inside her. The only thing it’s succeeded in doing is put her on the radar of the very tantalizing and infamous rake, Morgan St. Clair.

Morgan has a chip on his shoulder from his past, so he fits the tortured hero mold. His life choices in how to deal with it are interesting and I think made him a better man and person than he thinks he is. He does have major issues with trust and hope, for he has none of the latter as far as hearth and family go. A chance encounter, a mistake even, has him discombobulated while at the same time very focused on one thing, on one person — Julia. Except Julia has no idea. And that is when the fun begins.

Love’s Portrait is a story of the chase. Both Julia and Morgan are chasing each other for different reasons and it’s wonderful how they end up finding something totally different in each other. As we all know, how men and women think can be totally different so it adds a frustrating challenge to Morgan’s pursuit of Julia. In the end though, they heal and the process is very romantic. Of course, when they get together the pages steam and that is fun too. This is the story that illustrates the connection between the first story and this one.

The dialogue was witty and fast paced, the secondary characters –except for Quentin and Sophie – were fiendishly villainous and there was only one burp in a POV shift in an otherwise perfect story.

Forbidden Pleasures is a surefire hit for anyone who likes their historical romances steamy, humorous, and romantic with enough conflict to make the peanut gallery cheer and go wild for our heroes and heroines.

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