MsRomanticReads's Reviews > Her Forbidden Hero

Her Forbidden Hero by Laura Kaye
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May 16, 12

bookshelves: angst, contemporary-romance, military, friends-to-lovers, 2012
Read on May 16, 2012 — I own a copy

This is my third Laura Kaye book and she never disappoints to write heart-warming stories about characters who seem to exist apart from everyone else and just want to find a place where they belong, someone they can belong to. In this story, the hero, a protector and friend finds himself in a role reversal. Once, a long time ago, he did the protecting. Now he's the one being protected by the one person he thinks he can't and shouldn't want. But being cared about never felt so good.

After the death of their mother, Alyssa and Brady Scott's father turned into an alcoholic and abusive towards his children. Their only solace was Marco Vieri , their neighbor. The three of them ended up becoming very close. When the boys were old enough, they moved in together and took Alyssa with them. Once she left for college, Brady and Marco moved on to join the Army's Special Forces.

Alyssa has just graduated from college and is down on her luck. With no money or possessions, she returns to her home town to take a job at Whiskey's. She knows Marco works there, so she hopes she'll be able to work with her once best friend (and secret crush) and earn enough money to afford a place to stay. The reunion doesn't go quite as planned. Marco is happy to see her at first, until he realizes she'll be working in that rowdy place. He feels he owes it to Brady to look out for her when the last thing he wants to do is babysit her. Then he notices that she's not a kid anymore, but she's turned into a woman since he last saw her. When fantasies of Alyssa creep into his mind unbidden, Marco desperately tries to tell himself to stay away from Alyssa. Not only is he carrying around a ton of emotional baggage and he's not good enough for her, but she's his best friend's little sister and therefore off limits, end of story.

Alyssa has always harbored a secret crush for Marco which has turned into love over time, but she can't tell him that. He probably still sees her as the little kid and best friend's sister. That doesn't stop her from wanting to be close to him, thinking deep down he's still the same Marco she's always known. When he catches her asleep in the bar's green room, he offers her a place to stay, against his better judgment. Since returning from combat, he's been plagued with guilt and devastating nightmares. When Alyssa notices this, her first instinct is to comfort him and be there for him, just like he'd always been there for her during her rough childhood. Unbeknownst to Marco, Alyssa has been soothing him through the nights. He manages to keep his distance from her but his resolve is crumbling quickly. Feeling better and during a moment of weakness, they share a passionate kiss. Before she can revel in her happiness, it comes crashing down when Marco finds out that she's the reason he's been sleeping better, and that she's been losing sleep because of it. His anger is instantaneous and crushing. His cruel words cut her deeply, and she leaves. When he saves her a week later from a near sexual assault at work, he thinks he finally has a chance to make things right with her. They give in to their passion and their desire. Before they can really talk about their feelings, Brady shows up out of the blue. A misunderstanding and not wanting to come between two best friends force Alyssa to realize that she needs to move on with her life and accept a job offer in D.C. Marco finally acknowledges what he's always known, he loves her and now he must race against time to make her believe him or risk losing her forever.

I LOVED this pairing of the closed off loner, the tortured hero and the silent, but vigilant heroine. Marco's self-loathing is absolutely believable (because I know someone a little like him). Of course he tries to keep her at arm's length, to save her from shouldering the burdens of his ugly life thus far. He claims that Alyssa is too naïve for her own good, and maybe she is when it comes to him, and thinking he made it out of the war zone still the same man. What drew me the most to this couple was the heroine. There were flashes of her where she seemed so young and fragile, like the little abused girl of her past. Then she'd show some backbone and my admiration at her tenacity would rise. The flow of the story was well paced, the events unfolded believably. I didn't feel like the characters fell in love too quickly – they already had a foundation to begin with, only now Alyssa gets to play the role Marco had always had for her in her youth, a protector. The author's writing is as usual brilliantly executed and she still manages to bring her characters to life through her words.

Tense negotiations in foreign languages with warlords who would shoot you as soon as they look at you, he could candle. A simple conversation with a twenty-two-year-old American woman? Apparently not. Godddammit.
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message 1: by Sandra (new) - added it

Sandra I might have to add this...

MsRomanticReads You won't regret it. It was wonderful and so touching.

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