Burning Love

Melting Point

One Silent Night

The Private Bodyguard

The Rescue of Jenna West

Still the One

The Forbidden Bride
by Debra Cowan
(SRS #1602, $4.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-0373-27672-1
The heat between these two characters and the romantic suspense add enough to this story to earn it 4 hearts. The Forbidden Bride has a few issues but it generally delivers. 

Robin Daly is a police detective who was jilted at the altar three years ago. Her fiancée broke it off on the advice of his friend Nate Houston. The fiancé Kyle Emrick has never given Robin an explanation, although we learn early on that it involved another woman on the day of the wedding. He is a police officer too and she sees him in their home town of Presley Oklahoma.  Robin really thinks she is over him, but she is still curious as to why Kyle called it off; a truth Kyle has never gotten the courage to tell her. 

Nate Houston, meanwhile worked in Chicago and is now in Oklahoma. He is a fire marshal investigating arson cases. He comes to Presley since he has a case that seems to be connected with two fires that have happened around Presley. He and Kyle are no longer in touch. The cases involve an accelerant that takes some time to ignite, which points to a person who sets it and has a chance to leave before the fire is noticeable. All three fires have involved deaths, but as of yet, there is no clear connection. Robin is assigned to the case with her friend Collier McLain, who is also a friend of Nate’s. The three form a task force and are assigned to find the arson-murderer. 

This is a story of several levels. There is the arson investigation. It is well written and tense at times, as we wonder if the killer will follow his MO of setting fires every 27 days.  We also wonder if these three can connect the dots. When Collier is pulled for a court appearance, the primary responsibilities fall to Nate and Robin. The story follows them as they look at leads, travel to interview suspects and start narrowing down choices to their man. 

Another level is the current romance – i.e. primarily consisting of sexual tension between Nate and Robin now. They play some games with each other, but both realize that the past and those issues really don’t have an impact on how they feel now. Their romance is slow to develop and yet, in the course of time of the story, happens fairly quickly. It is filled with innuendo and heat, even as they dance around each other until they just can’t keep from each other. 

Finally, there is the leftover business of the past. Nate knows what happened on that wedding day and assumes that Kyle has been honest with Robin. When he realized that Kyle had not been forthcoming…he was torn between sharing the information that he knows will bring pain and the knowledge that Robin has a right to know. And while Nate struggled with the decision about telling Robin or not, it is clear that Robin struggled with trust issues. She worried that she couldn’t trust Nate now any more than she could 3 years ago…after all it was what he said that caused Kyle to call off the ceremony. Or was it? 

I liked Robin. She was a strong woman in a male dominated job without being masculine. Her angst over the past is real, yet she has clearly moved on. Nate is a good guy who endears himself when it becomes clear that he really did the right thing and had Robin’s best interest at heart.

  There were times when the storyline seemed to drag and other times when some things were just too easy.  There are some misunderstandings that get in the way too and that decreases the pleasure in the story. I enjoyed this tale and yet, I couldn’t fully sink my teeth into it. The Forbidden Bride is one of those stories not quite great but definitely better than acceptable. 

--Shirley Lyons

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