Every time I read a book by Jess Michaels, I feel the need for a cold shower and a cigarette afterwards. In the case of FORBIDDEN, the first in the Wicked Woodleys series, I also needed a tissue for a few tears.
After numerous family disappointments that have shaped his life, Jude Samson has accepted his lot in life. Taken in as family by the Woodleys and treated as a brother, Jude is eldest brother, Edward Woodley's man of business, but ever since he was a young man he has held Woodley sibling, Audrey in the highest of regards. No one knows that beneath his cool demeanor, Jude has the most passionate of thoughts about Audrey.
When Audrey's sister Claire runs off to marry a rogue who would ruin her, the entire family is affected by her loss, but Audrey the most since the sisters had been so close. Believing that passion is the downfall of her family, Audrey tries her best to hold her emotions at bay. Now in her twenty-fourth year, it is time for her to settle on a husband, but Audrey can only think of the man her family took in so many years ago, Jude Samson.
Noting that Audrey has been discomfited and withdrawn as of late, her mother suggests the two of them depart for the family's country estate, which will be her dower home since Edward has re-married, to help her in renovating some of the rooms to her taste. When Edward tasks Jude with helping the pair in these renovations he unknowingly throws a match into a box of tinder by having Jude and Audrey spend time alone.
Audrey's fear of passion is chipped away when she begins to realize that Jude feels as deeply for her as she for him, but only an affair will be possible between these two since Jude has a few skeletons in his closet that could leave him tossed aside by the Woodleys if they find out that he has something to do with Claire's disappearance. Although Jude also feels he is only a servant to the Woodleys, Audrey knows that is not true, but convincing Jude he is worthy of her is difficult. Jude's and Audrey's illicit affair teems with desire, but will it be enough to purge the emotions that bring the two together. Methinks not.
Where does one go after Jess Michaels NOTORIOUS FLYNNS? Why the WICKED WOODLEYS, of course. FORBIDDEN is a not only a tale with great passion, it is also one of familial love and kinship. After Claire's disappearance the Woodleys struggle to keep one another close even with such loss. The Woodleys evident love for one another is alluring and wonderful. Jude is a strong male on a mission, to put his baser feelings for the beauty named Audrey aside. Happily, he fails in that regard and thus he and the fiery Audrey make for a steamy tale. I look forward to more about the Woodleys as I have now adopted them as my own.