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Private Pleasures

Ready-Made Bride

Forbidden by Janelle Denison
(Harl. Tempt. #732, $3.75, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-25832-1
Occasionally the Blaze books, billed as red-hot reads, live up to their advertising. When intimacy occurs between consenting adults, emphasis on the adult, when that intimacy is coupled with caring, tenderness and a desire to please the other person, then more than a Blaze is started. Think conflagration . . . forest fire . . . volcano.

For three years Detective Josh Marchiano has loved Paige Montgomery, his partner's wife. Knowing that he could never tell Paige, he offered her his friendship. Now that Paige is a widow and the target of the man who killed her husband, Josh knows that she'll need his protection and his understanding, but will she want his love?

Paige Montgomery is leaving Miami to return to Connecticut. Her marriage was falling apart long before her husband was killed in an undercover operation gone bad. She receives more bad news; it turns out that her husband was a crooked cop. He was murdered after he stole a diamond necklace valued in the millions. The owner of the necklace, a known smuggler, is determined to reclaim his property. He's killed before. What's one more body?

Agreeing to help the police catch the smuggler, Paige realizes that she and Josh, now her body guard, will be together until the operation is over. She cares for Josh deeply and even admits her love, but her late husband's recent betrayal makes her afraid to trust. If she misjudged her husband so badly, then can she really trust any decisions she might make regarding men?

Stories with unrequited love as a factor are nothing new, nor are stories about police widows falling for cops again. What sets this story apart is the maturity level of both characters. Both are adults who act responsibly, sensibly, honestly. Childish behavior and histrionics are not anything I want to read about, yet far too often we're subjected to such behavior. Not here.

As Paige and Josh work together to entice the smuggler to accept their bait, the suspense level is not so high at to override the relationship, but intense enough to make their enforced captivity exciting. Each is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Forbidden is a suspenseful, sizzling story that merits each of its four hearts. This will put a zing in your steps.

--Linda Mowery

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