Release Date: April 26, 2014
Genre: New Adult Romance
This Can Be Read as Stand Alone
Rating: 4.5 stars
Linda Kage knows how to write forbidden romances, but what makes her stand out is that she always puts a spin on it to make the story unique and unexpected. Linda takes her hero and makes him untouchable in some way, whether by social or moral standards, and she does so in a way that creates the kind of angst that has me addicted and unable to put the book down.
Noel Gamble is the stud of the school and well on his way to becoming a NFL quarterback. Cocky, sexy and used to getting attention. However, people don’t know is that the only reason he is in college and working his ass off at football is so that he can take care of his family, who still live in the trailer park he is so eager to distance himself from. Everything he does, it is for them. Everything looks to be on track, until his grade in literature cannot meet the requisite C, putting his scholarship in jeopardy.
But Dr. Kavanagh seems to have it out for Noel, or at least that’s how he sees it. She seems to hate him, which is good for him because that’s how he feels too…except for the fact that he is attracted to her, even in her frumpy suits with shoulder pads. However, things are not what they seems and first impressions are proven wrong. When Dr. Kavanagh agrees to help Noel to improve his grade, they each finally see each other who they really are. And the problem is they like what they see.
“She was so much like me it was frankly freaky. We were split between two worlds. She was the frumpy, genius professor hiding romantic hopes and dreams. I was the stud playboy football star working my ass off to save my poor, broke family. What a pair we made.”
The first great thing about this book was that it is the HERO who is the student and the HEROINE who is the professor. I’ve read books with a teacher/student relationship but this is the first where it is the female in the position of power. What I enjoyed most about this switch was the shift in power. Even though technically Dr. Kavanagh (Aspen) was in the position of power, it always seemed as if Noel was the one in control of their relationship. I loved this unique dynamic that these two had.
“And so I started an illicit affair with my literature professor. Except it didn’t feel illicit. In my book, it wasn’t dirty, or wrong, or in any way shameful. It was the purest relationship I’d ever had with anyone.”
You may be wondering about an age difference. Dr. Kavanagh is not a cougar. She is two years older than Noel because she skipped grades, and was quite frankly, a prodigy. In addition, Aspen doesn’t really have much experience with relationships so in a way it was necessary for Noel to steer them.
“I don’t care how wrong we are for each other. I don’t care that I’ll never be good enough for you or that we’re risking everything to be together. Your mother would never approve. Whatever. Fuck it all. You are fucking mine. And I’m yours. And we belong together.”
Since this is a forbidden romance, it is obviously necessary for this book to have angst. And oh there was angst. Their relationship was physical, but there was so much more to it than that. Aspen saw through the façade that Noel wore on the outside and knew why playing football was so important to him, even if it wasn’t what he truly wanted to do. And Noel showed her how it felt to be loved and wanted.
In all honesty, for me it wasn’t a matter of will they or won’t they give in to their attraction for one another, it was more a matter of will they or won’t they get caught. It was pretty interesting how they really walked the line and didn’t make all that effort to keep their relationship a secret. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but enjoyed everything along the way.
Another great thing about this book was the tie in to PRICE OF A KISS, the first book in the Forbidden Men series. Although this book is a complete stand alone, you do not have to read the first book to read this one, fans of it will rejoice to see more Mason & Reese. In fact, Linda gave Mason & Reese more than just a guest appearance, they gave their storyline a bit of a jolt. The best thing about this was that it fit perfectly into Noel & Aspen’s storyline and was not just an extra thrown in there. I was a happy reader 🙂
Oh and the epilogue!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! Linda really tied in the two worlds that she created perfectly and merged them into one. She set the stage for many more books in the Forbidden Men series and I cannot wait for more!
As a whole, I loved this book. However, I will say that it took me a while to really get into the story and characters. I cannot put my finger on it, but the beginning lacked that IT FACTOR for me at first – that thing that usually hooks me in. But I think because it was all due to Noel & Aspen going through the predictable emotions about one another. Rest assured though, once things got moving, they did not stop and I was instantly hooked to it all. It may have started as a 4 star book for me but by the end it was a solid 4.5 stars.
PRICE OF A KISS (Forbidden Men #1)