Forbidden Heat
by Opal Carew†
(St. Martinís, $13.99, NC-17) †ISBN 978-0-312-580130-1†
Forbidden Heat was dead on arrival, and itís one of the un-sexiest books Iíve read in a long time. This was about as much fun as reading a furniture how-to manual. This book has no character development or dimension, and furthermore, this mťnage a trio romance made me yawn from the first moment the three main characters acted on their desires for one another.

Shy and introverted Danielle Rayne is attending a former college friendís wedding. Danielle hasnít seen the bride in fifteen years because she only attended the university for one year and left. Danielle was placed in foster care as a toddler because her mother was an uncaring alcoholic who never wanted her. Danielle decides to make the trip and canít wait to see Trey and Jake, the two men who have haunted her fantasies for over a decade. Trey and Jake were a couple at college and were friends with Danielle; she in turn had a secret crush on both of them. She canít figure out why they broke up and are only friends. Perhaps she can hook up with one and finally fulfill her fantasy?

Trey and Jake are good friends but Trey wants to build a life with a woman he can have a marriage and children with. He always hid the fact from his family that he was into men and never told them about Jake. Jake swings both ways but is inclined more towards men. When both men see Danielle, they fondly remember their freshman year with her and how much fun they all had. When the bride makes it known to them that Danielle has always been interested in being with them at the same time, they jump at the chance.

Trey, Danielle and Jake embark on a no-holds-barred love affair filled with bondage, playacting and the intense lovemaking that Danielle has always wished for. She thinks Jake and Trey could never love her as a woman, but only as a friend because she believes they are still in love with one another. When Treyís sister Susie comes for a visit, it puts into motion a change in the dynamic of this threesome. Now Danielle is torn because both men admit their deep feelings for her. But Danielle wants both of them. She just has to figure out a way to prove to her lovers that a three-way monogamous relationship is for the best.

Iíve heard great thing about Opal Carewís writing, but it wasnít evident with Forbidden Desire. I was bored as I read, mainly because Danielle comes across as a sad sack with a major lack of personality to her. Trey and Jake are so wishy-washy that I would have never believed they were once lovers and are now friends. The sex scenes read more like an ďinsert tab A into tab BĒ explanation and nothing else. What should have been shocking displays of sex didnít titillate or excite. The tension and desire was lacking and it took a great deal of perseverance on my end to finish this book. I didnít have any connection with any character in this story.

Forbidden Heat failed to deliver in every way. Even when there seemed to be a connection between the characters, it didnít work. This problem arises mainly because of the lack of personality and again the one-dimensionality of the characters. I could find no sympathy for Danielle, and her reactions didnít make sense. And the fact that as a reader I am only told what happened to Danielle as a child didnít work for me. Details of her past as well as Jakeís with a former ex-lover did nothing to move along the story.

I did enjoy Trey but wished better for him. Danielle was such a downer, and it struck me as more than a bit pathetic that after fifteen years she was till lusting for two men she was involved with for only a short period of her life. It simply didnít make sense.

With Forbidden Heat the author really failed to deliver a hot and smoldering taboo romance.†

--Catherine Anne

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