I was fortunate enough to get a review copy of My Forbidden Desire by Carolyn Jewel and to be invited to participate in the blog tour associated with the book. I have to say that I have been getting some pretty hot review copies lately, and My Forbidden Desire was no exception. The cover alone was a good indication that I was going to be getting into some pretty explicit reading, so I wasn’t surprised when that turned out to be the case (and would likely have been had the reading stayed tame). However, the book didn’t start out with any egregious sex or nudity; indeed, it began with a confrontation between two siblings.
In the opening chapter Harsh (star of the first book in this series, My Wicked Enemy), is having a heated discussion with his little sister, Alexandrine. Harsh is doing his best to protect his sister from an evil mage (who happens to be her father); however, Alexandrine is resisting. She is a witch who is used to taking care of herself. Not to mention the fact that she has believed her older brother to be dead for years, and simply isn’t prepared for him to step back into the role of protector so quickly. Unfortunately, he is older, stronger, and unwilling to take no for an answer, and he leaves Alexandrine little choice but to accept his offer of protection.
Making her brother’s intrusion into her life even harder to swallow is the fact that his idea of protection comes in the guise of a warrior named Xia. While Xia owes loyalty to Harsh, he hates witches with every fiber of his being. And when he discovers the truth of Alexandrine’s parentage, she ranks slightly below slime in his eyes. This is because Xia has personal history with the mage who is Alexandrine’s sire, and though he agrees to protect her, it is not entirely willingly.
On top of this, Alexandrine is in the midst of enduring some pretty strange psychological side effects from a talisman she has been wearing for several months. Indeed, it is much like Golem in The Lord of the Rings. She is unable (or unwilling) to take it off, is strangely possessive of it and doesn’t want anyone else touching it, and, (the kicker) it appears to be awakening new and unpredictable magic inside of her.
All of these variables add up to a fiery and tension-charged romance, which is as unpredictable as it is intense. While attempting to protect her life, Xia must come to terms with the depth of his feeling for Alexandrine. And he struggles to reconcile his adoration for her personally with his soul encompassing hatred for what she is, a witch. And Alexandrine must come to terms with her mysterious beginnings in order to fully harness the true power that burns within her being. There are times that you wonder how the two of them can pull it off and still retain the parts of them that make them who they are. All in all, My Forbidden Desire was an entertaining tale of unexpected love. It wasn’t the best book I have read this summer, but it was far from the worst. 3 ½ stars.