E-Book Review 10: Lora Leigh – Forbidden
Sum it up, Sweetheart: Intense former FBI agent retreats to quiet married life, then invites intense FBI agent best friend to share his wife. In between intense sex sessions, a stalker is on the loose.
Review it, Pudding: Mac is tightly-wound, powerful and brooding. Keiley, his young wife, is a stunning sylph with a firm mind and a talent for IT. Jethro, Mac’s former partner in the FBI, is hard-bitten and a little more… rough than Mac, but just as sexy and handsome and powerful. Mac, Jethro and Keiley were all damaged as children in one way or another – their fierce exteriors are like callouses covering their obvious need to be loved.
Back before Mac had opted to retreat to a more simple family life, running some kind of ranch, he and Jethro were members of a club where men shared their women in menages. Mac and Jethro complemented each other perfectly and together formed a fine-tuned, two-pistoned, dreamy sex machine.
As my summing up suggests, this is an intense read. Keiley’s ruminations on her married life, on Mac’s shady past, are pretty intense. Mac’s own worries about his deeper feelings, about what he really wants (he wants to share Keiley with Jethro – although he doesn’t want Jethro, so get that out of your head right now. There is absolutely no man-love here. Well, none that Jethro and Mac would admit to, anyway) are intense and brooding. Jethro’s panting presence, his obvious need to have Keiley – with or without Mac, it seems, at times – is incredibly intense (actually, almost creepy at some points). And, of course, the stalker that Jethro seeks Mac’s help to nail (in a law-enforcement way) is like an intense spectre, haunting each page of the story.
Lora Leigh winds this yarn so tight you almost want to burst. Luckily, the three lovers inevitably get their release (plenty of times), which is always to be welcomed by the reader – particularly as Leigh’s sex scenes are of an extremely high and rare quality: naughty, filthy, real, exciting and genuinely erotic (and intense). Not only does she convey beautifully the incredible pleasure experienced by Keiley, but she refuses to neglect the men. We come to understand Mac and Jethro’s urgent need to operate as a threesome and what they get both sexually and emotionally from sharing one unique woman.
Occasionally this need comes close to straying into difficult areas. Mac’s response to any fire from Keiley, particularly later on, is to smile and patronisingly offer a spanking. Jethro continually watches her and takes any opportunity to touch her. At times, this can feel like a strange kind of abuse – two burly, physical men on the prowl, unable to restrain their lust, regardless of Keiley’s desires. Luckily, she discovers that she loves DP, so we don’t worry about her too much.
The story is compelling too. Even while Leigh bravely confines most of the action to one house (and the occasional area just outside the house, up against a tractor), there’s more than enough action and intrigue to keep the reader guessing throughout. If the eventual fate of the threesome is pleasingly obvious, the MacGuffin of a plotline involving the evil stalker invites the reader to indulge in a bit of fun, amateur sleuthing.
However, sometimes I found myself begging for some light, for some humour, for some comic relief. This does arrive belatedly in the form of Victoria Staten, a stern but enjoyably dry matriarchal presence in the town where gossip threatens to engulf Keiley. But too often you can’t help thinking that these characters could do with lightening up a bit. Yes, they all had difficult childhoods and yes, the emotional scars carried around by Mac and Jethro give them a vulnerability that only makes them more desirable/adorable, but can they, at least once, relax? Poor old Mac spends the vast majority of his life tightening his jaw, narrowing his eyes or trying desperately to contain an erection that’s usually stiff enough to hammer nails. You’d say he needs to get laid, except he’s always getting laid.
If you’re a Brit of a certain age, you might recognise some of Mac and Jethro’s conversations (particularly in chapter one) as being amusingly reminiscent of those Fry & Laurie characters, Peter and John. On occasion too, I felt Leigh seemed to need to tell me everything, and that was too much.I didn’t always need to be told the exact emotion exuding from Mac’s dark, brooding eyes because I already knew – partly because Leigh had already done a good job presenting his character.
But to criticise this book too much on these grounds would be churlish, because this is a terrific erotic thriller with regular, brilliantly-realised sex scenes. If you’re a particular fan of MMF menages, you won’t find much better anywhere else.
Rate it, Hot Lips: Four out of Five Stars.