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Strictly Off Limits

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Alexandra James gave up her spring break for an offer she couldn’t refuse—a week-long job that would earn her enough money to buy her way out of a broken heart. But if she thought her new boss would let her off easy because he’s her father’s best friend, she couldn’t have been more wrong.

Dean Brittany demands perfection from his employees, but none more so than his new temp, since correcting her mistakes seems to fuel his unexpected attraction to her. Unfortunately for him, eighteen-year-old Alexandra is strictly off limits.

Strictly Off Limits is a forbidden romance novella originally published in the Forbidden Fruit Anthology, Volume 1 (no longer available). It's a quick read at 21,000 words.


First published October 30, 2014

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Jessica Hawkins

43 books5,302 followers

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5 stars
260 (20%)
4 stars
401 (31%)
3 stars
408 (32%)
2 stars
142 (11%)
1 star
54 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 141 reviews
Profile Image for Sabrina.
3,233 reviews1,934 followers
August 2, 2016

This was a good short story to read when you're int he mood for something hot and fast. There isn't much romance going on but there are plenty of sexy times that will keep you intrigued. I would have rated higher but the fact that so much of the beginning reminded me too much of the movie, The Secretary, was too weird for me. It was almost like the author was taking that plot and trying to make it her own, but left in too many similarities. Could be a coincidence, but for me it was just felt too odd.
Profile Image for Tink Magoo is bad at reviews.
1,248 reviews194 followers
May 12, 2019
Reread May 2019 - down from 4 to 3


Original review -

This book was hot.


An older man who is forbidden not just because he's her boss and 20 years older but also because he's her father's best friend.


The only thing that could make this better would be Dean's POV and it being longer!
Profile Image for Melanie (mells_view).
1,710 reviews332 followers
July 17, 2020
Hot taboo novella

This novella is taboo for multiple reasons. Age-gap of 30 years, dad’s best friend, and he’s also her boss for a short period of time. It’s a bit edgy considering the hero is a little pushy with her at first, so I’d say it flirts the line of dub-con in some instances. If you are not triggered by dub-con and love big age gaps, then you may enjoy this read. I thought it was a quick and easy read. The age gap skeeves me out a bit, but hey it’s well written even if it’s not exactly my jam.
Profile Image for Bookphenomena (Micky) .
2,417 reviews384 followers
July 11, 2016
3.5 stars

Very quick read, it's a novella but the story does feel complete. This premise is pretty wrong but the heat is undeniable and the connection is tangible. I like Jessica Hawkins ability to 'go there' with these kinds of topics. Great writing for a short.
Profile Image for Laura Lee.
943 reviews150 followers
July 22, 2016
Alexander James has just been dumped by her boyfriend and cancels going to Mexico for spring break. Instead, she opts to stay home and work for her parents friend Dean Brittany while his secretary is on vacation for the week. Wanting extra money to buy this killer dress to wear to a fraternity formal...hoping to win back the boyfriend who just dumped her.
Well, to say that this short book escalated quickly would be an understatement!!! Seems as though Mr Brittany has got the hots for his new temp!!! This book was steamy hot and quite the page turner!! Could only wish for another round to see where this relationship goes. As this book just ended......
Profile Image for Steph's Romance Book Talk.
2,641 reviews1,264 followers
January 1, 2019
Oh this was a quick, sexy, fun, age gap - forbidden short story. Alexandra needs money for a dress so she works for a week at her father's best friend's office to earn the money. Dean tries to restrain his wants but sometimes temptations win out. This story is not for everyone but I enjoyed the sexiness.

This specific video review will be included in the December 2018 wrap-up.

For other video book reviews check out my YouTube Channel: Steph's Romance Book Talk.
Profile Image for Berry ♡ Nice.
541 reviews69 followers
August 21, 2019
Short and Sweet. Hot and Sexy. I really truly enjoyed this story. Exactly what I needed. A quick read to get me in the mood...... For reading ;-)
I was in a reading slump and now I'm not.
Profile Image for Cleoblacktra.
189 reviews17 followers
June 7, 2017
This was good.

I like the slow pull that Alexandra felt towards Dean aka Mr. Brittany

The downside for me is, I'm a fan of insta-lov(ish) esp from the male MC

Instead Dean kept saying "just this once" - and im all like "No not once!! How about ALL the time." :P

I like a decisive alpha male and for me he was sending too many mixed signals before he finally gave ALL the way over #Committed

OVERALL: Good read with some steamy scenes :-)
Profile Image for Emily.
142 reviews3 followers
June 30, 2015
That was not consensual and I had to stop or I would've thrown my kindle. Very short book, basically skips character and story development in favor of having someone in a position of power force himself on her despite her objections. I'm not mild sexually by any means but if she says no the first time he approaches her and repeatedly after he touches her, it isn't consentual. that's a hard limit for me
110 reviews
September 27, 2017
if you check my history, I like this author. This book? BIG fat NOPE. I QUIT at 19% in when old lecherous boss H spanks the 18 yo h...at work and not in a sexy, "pull my hair daddy" kind of a way with no sexy vibes between the characters leading up to this criminal assault. immediately disgusted and QUIT!!
Profile Image for Amanda.
647 reviews22 followers
January 1, 2016
Really quick and hot read. I enjoyed the much older hero! Totally hot. I didn't like that the book ended at 72%. :/
Profile Image for Melluvsbooks.
1,129 reviews
May 12, 2021
This novella is age-gap, boss, dads-best-friend book. The H starts out as a cold, stern, strict, type-A kind of guy, but quickly turns squishy. The plot is a bit silly. The h all but seduces him. It should have been more hot than it was. It was sort of kink-lite. So, if you need a quick read and like these tropes but don’t really like kink, this is for you. It wasn’t really my flavor.
Profile Image for Penny [semi-hiatus] .
387 reviews34 followers
December 12, 2020
I think this book was mostly ok but I was not impressed by it and had some issues with the plot. I liked that the heroine admitted (to herself at least) that what her boss did to her the first time was harassment (many others would try to justify him). I didn't mind the age gap (30 years) but I didn't like that he was so bossy. Also, who does what hero did to heroine in front of her parents...?
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Patrixia Lansangan.
359 reviews12 followers
December 24, 2016

Yup just as it sounds! It's hot and wrong and yet so intriguing! If you like alpha males, then you'll appreciate this one
Profile Image for Shannon.
2,330 reviews166 followers
June 18, 2017

The definition of forbidden.
Apparently I bought this book almost 3 years ago but never got around to reading it. I was looking for some quick novellas today since I was falling behind on my GR goal and came across this one. I don't know at the time what I was thinking when I got it, as I'm not typically a fan of the older man/younger woman trope, and this one really pushes the boundaries- he's 30(!!!) years older than her. I don't understand that attraction. I'm the same age as the H and I can't imagine any of my male friends getting involved with a teenager. Sure, I don't doubt for a second that any of them wouldn't look twice at a beautiful young woman, but to act on it, especially a daughter of a friend, yeah I don't see that happening. Especially when that girl is the same age as your daughter, as is the case in this book. I'm not sure what the fascination authors have with this type of storyline- I seriously have my doubts if their 18yo daughter was out there with a 48yo man they would be okay with it.
Anyway, to the story- even if I could get past the age gap I didn't feel any kind of connection between the characters at all. There's was nothing between them that made me want a relationship to work for them, taboo as it was. Granted it's a novella, but I've read plenty where the author is able to really pull you into the story and characters, but this one didn't. The H did nothing to endear himself to me and the h was just way to immature to make it plausible that he could be attracted to her. And the ending was just plain abrupt. All in all just a miss for me.
Profile Image for babygyalreadit.
344 reviews559 followers
August 30, 2021
Please this novella was so hot I actually CANNOT. I’m mad this mans last name was Brittany. I appreciate the author making her refer to him as “Mr. Brittany” to make it seem hot but it was NOT. However he absolutely was good God that man was something else. He gave me Christian Grey vibes but a bigger asshole plus he’s 48 so definitely daddy vibes. She was 18 so if that big of an age gap bugs you then don’t read it bc it’s discussed.

Basically miss girl just got dumped by her boyfriend so to try to and get him back she wants to buy an expensive dress to wear to formal, super dumb but whatever. She ends up subbing in for her fathers friend as his assistant and BOY. This man is a dick, straight up. Lmao he only communicates with her via the work IM when she sits right outside his office lmao somehow the ims were hot though idk idk idk. First day on the job she ends up bent over his desk….. HOT

There is also a scene in here with his hand under the table while at dinner with her parents okay? There is a HEA… OKAY… READ IT, goodbye.
Profile Image for Johan Bastiaanssen.
122 reviews7 followers
April 11, 2018
Alexandra James spends her spring break as an office temp, to earn sufficient money to buy a dress that is supposed to make sure that the boyfriend who dumped her, will want to have her back.
Well, every story needs a starting point, so why not something like this. Her boss turns out to be really bossy and controlling, she spends long days at the office (though it remains totally unclear what would occupy her time), gets spanked for her mistakes and in the end, realizes that her ex-boyfriend can never match the way her temporary boss makes her feel when she gets fucked. A short story and a forgettable read.
Profile Image for Jacqueline Reads.
395 reviews
November 24, 2021
This was short, steamy, and as promised forbidden. Just ignore reality and read this almost 50 year old man make his best friends 18 year old daughter crawl for him. And also don’t think about anything too hard. Like eating junk food. Keep grabbing more and don’t think about the consequences.
Profile Image for Anna.
666 reviews1 follower
October 5, 2017
Sexy read. Jessica Hawkins can really make you blush!!
Profile Image for Tiffanie.
119 reviews
June 1, 2020
3.5 stars

I listened to this on audibles. It was exactly what I was looking for quick and dirty.
Profile Image for Rosie.
663 reviews19 followers
January 3, 2023
Needed an extra quick read to complete my Goodreads, and this was it! Was okay, definitely more of an insta lust smut book than I normally like.
Profile Image for Sm.
437 reviews9 followers
November 30, 2014
this was okay - it's a really short read (does not provide page numbers, but it has Kindle Location 1093, if that helps)

anyway, so quick quick read that just sort of skimmed a fuller story beneath (or maybe there wasn't one?) and I know this is told from Alex's POV, but Dean's actions just sort of floated out there - I mean, given their long-standing relationship, you'd think there would be a little more explanation or something ... otherwise, it just felt like teenage-infatuation that he triggered with his actions ... anyway!
(there were a couple of errors, but not too many - the one that really got me was Loc 702, "Despite behind so hard")

it was good for what it was, a short/hot-ish read

Profile Image for Ashley Berry.
531 reviews22 followers
September 20, 2015
Update: I just received this audio version and loved it!! It was nice to work and have a whole story in just a few hours! The narrator was on par with her sounding like an 18 year old, but not annoying! Some things are just hotter when listening too!

Fracking A!!! I loved this!! I love how Jessica writes these strong older males that just makes my heart a flutter!!
Profile Image for Lily.
786 reviews49 followers
January 1, 2016
3-3.5 stars! Mixed feelings about this book

The story was too short for my liking and it ended abruptly. I wish there would have been at least a short epilogue. Other than that the story was good, going somewhere until it wasn't anymore.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 141 reviews

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