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Forbidden Love by Karen Robards

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Forbidden Love is a pure, unadulterated bodice-ripper – in the most literal sense – from start to finish. If that’s what you’re after, and you’re happy with an alpha sexually aggressive hero, then this one will hit the spot. Our heroine is 17-year-old violet-eyed Megan and our hero is her 42-year-old guardian, Justin Brant, sixth Earl of Weston.

If you want historical accuracy, this is not it. Don’t be deceived by the various “hessians”, “pantaloons” and “curricles” scattered throughout the first couple of pages. Yes, it’s officially a Regency setting, but it may as well be any pre-motor-vehicle historic period. The author doesn’t bother with the ton and Almack’s and Lady Jersey. Once we get to uncontrollable passions, thighs and breasts and hardnesses, hold on tight, because this ride ain’t over until the last page. It starts with a few kisses, then we get steamy-in-the-stables:

There was also a pulsating hardness pressing against the yielding flesh of her belly. Its presence could not be accounted for by what little she knew of human anatomy. Puzzled, her hand slid around from his back to touch the odd protuberance…

Megan’s curiosity was thoroughly aroused. She moved her hand against him again, this time tracing a finger over the bulge through the soft cloth of his pantaloons. It was iron-hard and seemed to be pulsating with heat, and extended at a slant from just above his thighs to almost as high as his waist. Justin groaned at her action, and his hand flew to capture hers in an unbreakable grip, holding her hand away from him.

Then eventually she gets into his bed, claiming she’s cold, and begging him to stay with her even though she doesn’t have a clue what sex is. Then he deflowers her and gets her up the duff.

But surprise! (Not to us, the reader, but to Megan). Justin is married, which is frankly a rather fun twist. At least it gives us a bit of plot. However his wife is completely and utterly frigid, revolted by sex, and they’ve essentially lived separately for the past fifteen years, so no need to weep tears on her behalf. Quite why he married her is never convincingly explained, though possibly she was quite beautiful. He eventually manages to annul the marriage on grounds of “lack of progeny and denial of conjugal rights”, which as any Regency aficionado knows is sheer BS. But hey-ho, we’ve got to get our HEA somehow.

Don’t get me wrong: I hugely enjoyed this book. It was repetitive in terms of the endless lust and craving and male dominance and traitorous bodies. But I knew what I was getting from the outset, thanks to other reviews, and I was quite content with it.

There was one element I found uncecessary and a bit gratuitous: Why kill babby? Why babby must die?! New babby come on last page, but still.

If a death must happen, why not have the frigid wife go over a cliff in a carriage or something, and spare us the annulment implausibility?