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Forbidden Temptation (Kimani Romance) Mass Market Paperback – October 16, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: Kimani Romance (Book 65)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin Kimani (October 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373860404
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373860401
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 4.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,451,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Ruby Lockhart rose early the day after Christmas. Her to do list resembled Santa's naughty-and-nice list. Unlike him, though, her work was just beginning.

She stretched as she got out of bed and braced herself for the day. In a few hours, her sister Opal's life would be forever changed. Little did she know, hers would be, too.

Yesterday's Christmas celebration had been memorable, with her sisters and the men they loved exchanging gifts and enjoying camaraderie after the festive meal that she'd spent two days preparing. As the elder sister of Opal, Pearl and Amber, Ruby hosted the holidays, a habit they'd cultivated after the loss of their mother five years ago. As tired as she had been last night, Ruby hadn't slept soundly. Last-minute details for the wedding occupied her mind throughout the night. Some would call her a control freak. She preferred to say she was proactive, doing her part to prevent any hitches.

She took the royal-blue jacket dress that she'd bought for the wedding out of the closet in her bedroom—the same room in which her parents had slept—and hung it on the back of the door. Amber, her youngest sister, always said she should avoid all shades of blue, because it didn't flatter her dark skin, but Ruby didn't care; she loved blue. Besides, people seemed to pay more attention to her light-brown, almond-shaped eyes than to her clothes or anything else about her.

She tried on the dress to be sure that the hem reached the top of her shoes, never a certainty at her height of her five feet, nine inches. Satisfied with the dress's fit on her trim, size-twelve figure, she called the bride-to-be and announced, "I'll be over in a couple of hours to check your dress."

"Thanks, but you needn't hurry. Pearl is here with me. Is Luther back yet? It's too bad he couldn't have Christmas dinner with us, but parents come first, especially on holidays."

"I don't know about Luther. I haven't spoken with him."

"You're not going to the wedding with him?" Opal asked, her tone incredulous. "I never planned to. Anyway, he'll be there. You know he wouldn't miss it. Luther is as faithful as night and day," Ruby said, with the assurance of a preacher quoting scripture.

"Yeah," Opal said, "provided you're not thinking of Alaska where you can't always count on daylight. Pearl just said that you can put my hair up."

"Good. I'll be over shortly." In the meantime, Ruby could tick off a half dozen items on her mental to do list.

At five minutes of six and with her heart pounding in her chest, Ruby took her seat on the aisle of the third row in the Lakeview Baptist Church. When strains of "Here Comes the Bride" began, Ruby turned and saw Opal, so beautiful that she seemed to wear a halo. An odd sense of peace enveloped Ruby, and she relaxed for the first time in days.

"And by the powers vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife." The Reverend Wade Kendrick's words brought tears to Ruby's eyes, and she smiled through the stream that bathed her face. She didn't think she had ever been so happy. D'marcus kissed Opal with the reverence of a man touching his newborn child for the first time. Ruby looked around, subconsciously seeking someone, anyone, with whom to share her happiness. Her gaze fell upon Luther who sat a short distance from her, and something quickened within her. Why was Luther looking at her with such a rapt expression on his face? Her eyebrows shot up, and he surprised her with a wink.

Ruby smiled at Luther, mainly because she always smiled at him, had since she was three and he was nine and she had followed him wherever and whenever he allowed. After the service, they met on the front steps of the church, and she hugged Luther as she usually did when they met. He stepped away from her quickly, and she gazed up at him with what she knew was a quizzical expression.

"I'll see you at the reception." He patted her shoulder and walked away with a limp that was barely noticeable.

"What's wrong with Luther?"

Ruby turned to see Amber standing beside her. "I don't know. He acted kind of strange." However, she didn't dwell on that. Luther was Luther, the Rock of Gibraltar, and she didn't doubt that he would always be that way, and always be there for her and her sisters.

"Wasn't it a beautiful ceremony?" she asked Amber. "I'd better get on to the reception," she said without waiting for her sister's response. She floated down the few steps as the sunset stared her in the face. Beautiful and powerful, the great disc colored the late December sky in shades of red, blue and gray and cast a fading glow on the wedding guests, enhancing their elegance. When she reached her car, she leaned against it for a minute thinking that even the light wind that freshened the air was careful not to disturb the women's fancy hats and hairdos. The guests' cars shone as if just waxed, and white carnations trailed up the posts around the church. Beauty surrounded her. She didn't think she would ever forget the feeling of contentment, of pure joyous satisfaction she had at that moment.

Luther Biggens's feelings about what transpired during the past hour and, especially, after the wedding ceremony did not conform to Ruby's. During the ceremony, she had caught him looking at her with an expression that even a child should have understood. Shock registered on her face. Yet, he doubted that she understood what she saw. A gracious woman wouldn't hug a man, knowing that he cared for her, unless she reciprocated his feelings. Ruby had hugged him as if he were her brother, and he'd barely been able to resist trapping her in a lover's grip. He had been in love with her since she was a teenager, but she'd obviously never considered that possibility, nor had she treated him as anything other than a big brother, which meant that loving him hadn't crossed her mind. Wearily, he got into his car and headed home to change for the reception that began at eight o'clock.

Luther had once dreamed of a life with Ruby, of a time when he would teach her to love him, and they would marry, have a family and grow old together. When he thought the time had come to pursue his dream, Ruby's mother died, leaving her with the responsibility of shepherding her three sisters through school and into relationships that became marriage. Ruby had focused on her sisters and her career, denying her femininity as if she weren't a woman herself, in need of a man's love and affection.

He parked in front of his house, went inside and the loneliness of his life glared at him like a bare electric bulb swinging from a ceiling. He'd lived for thirty-five years and what did he have that was meaningful to show for it? Certainly not the ribbons and braid on the jacket he'd once worn as a commander in the navy SEALS. Or his citation for bravery during the daring exploits in Yemen that had cost him his right foot and a good part of his right leg. Prior to that, he been self-assured and fun loving, but what woman would settle for a man with his disability? The navy didn't want him, and surely Ruby deserved better.

So he continued to love her from a distance and to be there for her whenever she needed him. All the while, wanting her.

He changed into a black tuxedo, white shirt and red cummerbund that he wore with a white carnation boutonniere. A pair of black patent leather shoes replaced his lizard-skin shoes and he slipped on his Oxford gray chesterfield coat and left home for the reception. He thought of calling Ruby to ask if she'd like him to accompany her, but realized that she would probably already be at the reception handling last-minute details. With God's help, he'd get through the evening without being miserable. At times, he wanted her so badly that the pain became almost unbearable.

* * *

As the doyenne of the Lockhart family, Ruby stood at the head of the receiving line, greeting guests and making small talk. She'd been standing there about fifteen minutes, enjoying the drone of chatter that had become increasingly loud and the laughter that could be heard above it. Relaxed and happy, she let her smile tell all around her of her pride in the occasion.

"Good evening, Ruby."

Her lower lip dropped, and she gaped at the man, helpless to do otherwise. "Luther, for goodness'sake," she exclaimed. "You…went home and changed." What a stupid thing to say to a man, even if the man was Luther. "Gee, you look like a million dollars." He winked, and tiny shivers raced through her. This was Luther? She managed to regain her aplomb and attempt to introduce him to the person standing beside her but suddenly couldn't remember that person's name or why the woman was standing there. As it happened, Luther was already acquainted with the woman.

Ruby watched Luther as he continued down the receiving line. Around six feet one inch and one hundred and ninety pounds, he carried himself so gracefully, no one would know he'd had that terrible accident.

And he was handsome. Why hadn't she ever noticed that his long silky lashes cast a shadow over his big brown eyes? And those dark eyes against the olive tones of his face… Oh, well, there was no reason why she should have noticed, she told herself. After all, he was practically a member of her family. She shook her head in wonder. At least she should have noticed his mouth; that lusty bottom lip would win a prize.

The best man's announcement of the bride and groom interrupted her lustful thoughts. The lights dimmed, and Mr. and Mrs. D'marcus Armstrong danced the first dance. Just as Ruby removed her jacket, exposing bare shoulders covered only with spaghetti straps, Luther asked her to dance. She hadn't known that he danced, and she wondered how she should behave.

"Don't be so careful," he said. "I never attempt anything unless I know I can do it."

"You look good," she told him. "In fact, you look… uh…great."

"Thank you," he said, staring into her eyes. "I like the way you look, too."

Why did he unnerve her? This was Luther, and she had always felt safer with him than with anyone else. "Thanks. Amber doesn't like me in blue."

A grin formed around the sensuous mouth that she'd just notic...


More About the Author

ABOUT GWYNNE FORSTER
Gwynne Forster is national best-selling and award-winning author of twelve novels of general fiction, thirty-three romance novels,eight mainstream and romance novellas, and one self-published e-book collection of short stories, Fire Down Below. All of her mainstream novels and several of her romance novels have been featured in Black Expressions Magazine. When Twilight Comes, her first mainstream novel, was featured on the magazine's cover, and it also remained on the Essence Magazine list of best sellers for several months. Her latest mainstream novels,When The Sun Goes own and Breaking The Ties That Bind, published in 2000 and 2011, respectively, received rave reviews. Publisher's Weekly called A Different Kind Of Blues, published in October 2008, "An ode to life...wise and wonderful..."

Among her many awards and forms of recognition, Gwynne is most proud of her election in 2006 to the Affaire de Coeur Magazine Hall Of Fame,and of the Life Time Ahcievement Award conferred by Romantic Times Magazine in 2007, and the RT Magazine award as best multicultural mainstream novel of 2011 for Breaking The Ties That Bind. The following novels were nominated by Affaire de Coeur Magazine for 'Best romance novel of the year with African-American Hero and heroine: Ecstasy, Obsession, Naked Soul, Fools Rush In, Swept Away, Secret Desire, Scarlet Woman. Winners of the award were: Beyond Desire,Ecstasy, Naked Soul, Fools Rush In, and Swept Away. Readers of Affaire de Coeur Magazine named Gwynne one of Top Ten Favorite Authors for the years 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2006, and one of five outstanding achievers (1998). Rendezvous Magazine voted Secret Desire "Rose Bud of the month" for November 2003. The 2001 Gold Pin Award from Black Writers Reunion and Conference went to Gwynne's Beyond Desire.

Double Day Book Club and Literary Guild selected Beyond Desire and used the book to start the Black Expressions Book Club. Romance In Color internet site gave its 1999 Award of Excellence to Against The Wind and voted Gwynne Author of the Year. The site voted Flying High runner-up to best romance of the year 2003 and gave it Honorable mention. Romance Slam Jam 2000 nominated Gwynne for the Vivian Stephens Lifetime Achievement Award. Romance Slam Jam 2001 gave Gwynne an Emma Award for her novella, "Learning to Love" in the anthology, Going To The Chapel. Romance Slam Jam 2003 nominated Blues From Down Deep for an Emma Award as best mainstream novel. Gwynne lectures extensively on fiction writing, and on making the first sale.

A native North Carolinian who grew up in Washington, D. C. , Gwynne holds bachelors and masters degrees in sociology, a master's degree in economics/demography and has additional graduate credits in journalism. As a demographer, she is widely published. She is formerly chief of (non-medical) research in fertility and family planning in the Population Division of the United Nations in New York and served for four years as chairperson of the International Programme Committee of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (London, England). These positions took her on official business to sixty-three developed and developing countries.

Gwynne sings on her church choir, loves to entertain, and is a museum hopper, gourmet cook and avid gardener. She enjoys classical music, opera, jazz and blues with her husband with whom she lives in New York City. Reach Gwynne at P.O. Box 45, New York, N.Y. 10044; E-mail GwynneF@aol.com; Web page - http://www.gwynneforster.com Blog: http://gwynneforster.blogspot.com. Find her on Twitter and FaceBook (Gwynne Forster's page).

Customer Reviews

And the only intimate scene was just implied but not spelled out in detail.
DetailQueen
I was damn near in tears through the second half of the book, because I wanted to finish it.
Amazon Customer
I would definitely borrow this book from the library and not waste money with purchasing it.
Avid Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 2, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Two pages into this mess, I knew I'd made a mistake and I wondered if it was too late to send it back to eharlequin.com. Let me just get it out now. The book sucked on so many levels. So many. I was damn near in tears through the second half of the book, because I wanted to finish it.
The story line is that of two people who've been bestfriends forever who suddenly find themselves in bed together. I love bestfriends who fall in love books, I really do. But I think that this one has spoiled them all for me It sucked.
Specifically, the male and female charactes were 35 and 29 respecively. They talked like they were 80 year olds. This became even more obvious, when they were actually speaking to a 90 year old man. I think that's becase the author is older than the characters (No offense) and doesn't know how our generation speaks and interacts.
On top of that, this was a part of a series. A 4 part series. They could not have ended this series any worse. Brenda Jackson opened it with a perfect story. Jacqueline Thomas almost ruined it with a mediocre story. Elaine Overton saved it with the cutest story I've ever read. Then comes Gwynne Forster to just destroy it worse than a 18 car pile up on a highway in LA. I mean come one. Kimani couldn't find anybody else to do this? No Maureen Smith, Tamara Sneed, Adrienne Byrd, A.C. Arthur. Nobody?
Anyway, she basically unraveled everything that the other three authors had weaved. She changed everybodys personality. There were 4 sisters, who all had the same personality? No. The youngest sister throughout the entire series had been known as the wild one, yet in this she was the melodramatic one? The book took place over a six month period, maybe even less. And you're telling me that she suddenly changed into this uptight married woman?
Read more ›
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Chgobooklover on October 29, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have to agree with the other two reviewers. I was really looking forward to the final chapter in the Three Weddings and a Reunion series featuring the Lockhart Sisters. To say that I was disappointed in this story is an understatement. While Gwynne has had some outstanding books, this was not one of them. I would have hoped she would have capitalized on the great character foundation that was built by Brenda Jackson, Jacquelin Thomas and Elaine Overton in the three preceding stories in this series to take Ruby and Luther to another level. The story seemed to have no plot at all. After Ruby and Luther spent the night together they both jumped to conclusions about what the other person thought about their night together. There was no development of the relationship between Ruby and Luther. This book hopped around back and forth so much it was almost like the characters were bipolar or had split personalities. One minute they were having a pleasant conversation and the next one (or both) of them would go off and walk away as a result of a misunderstanding. Never once did they have a heart to heart conversation about what they were feeling until the very end of the book. I have never seen such immature characters as these. I think Gwynne could have capitalized on another plot line which would have made for a much better book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By N da Know on October 22, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After reading and enjoying the first three books of this series, I was very dissapointed in the last book. It is very boring. How can two adults be so clueless about the basics of a relationship. I have read a number of MS Forster's books and this is certainly not up to her usual standards. Perhaps she thought the excellent writing of the other stories would carry this one - wrong. What a let down
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Nayberry on November 26, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The series was getting good and then BANG! Or should I say poof. There was a lot of potential in the romance between Ruby and Luther, and I kept turning page after page waiting for it to shine through. Couldn't they have gotten it on at least one more time? Talked about their differences and made something lasting come of it. Except for the time they sleep together and the night on the balcony there is no heat in these pages, just confusion and repetitive misunderstandings. Why really was Ruby and Luther not able to let their love grow and passion ignite? Even at the end, the reader is left wondering can these two ever have a stable relationship with all of the back and forth bickering over nothing.

The book had lots of potential but fell flat.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By T. Brown-Gary on November 3, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Where to start! I read the reviews before I bought the book. But thought... I should check it out for myself... let me apologize to all the reviewers for not believing !!!! This book was horrible. It started out okay, but my gosh how much can two people argue and not get the point!!!!!!!!! It seems as though the author did not have a good way to prolong the book so she just kept making these two argue over stupid statements. I wish someone else would have gotten the contract to write this book. I was a bit skeptical anyway when I found out that Mrs. Forster would be writing the book. I've read some of her other novels and they were okay. I didn't see where she would fit into this series..... and boy was I right! The sad part is that this is the MOST I have written in a review... I'm just sorry it had to be negative. Luther and Ruby's story had so much potential... could have been a whirlwind romance... instead.. just a dud, I feel sorry for these two characters. They got the short end of the stick! Save this for the library!!
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