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Strictly Forbidden (Zebra Historical Romance) Mass Market Paperback – Sep 2002

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation (Sept. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821772406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821772409
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 10.5 x 2.6 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,674,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Shayla Black (aka Shelley Bradley) is the New York Times bestselling author of over 30 sizzling contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances for multiple print and electronic publishers. She lives in Texas with her husband, munchkin, and one very spoiled cat. In her "free" time, she enjoys reality TV, reading and listening to an eclectic blend of music.

Shayla has won or placed in over a dozen writing contests, including Passionate Ink's Passionate Plume, Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence, and the National Reader's Choice Awards. Romantic Times has awarded her Top Picks, a KISS Hero Award and a nomination for Best Erotic Romance.

A writing risk-taker, Shayla enjoys tackling writing challenges with every book.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Shelley sizzles again!! 26 Sept. 2002
By Elizabeth Benway - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Gavin Daggett, Duke of Cropthorne, is thrown into a tailspin with the arrival of his cousin James' fiancée. Kira Melbourne is considered quite scandalous after having spent two full days with the roguish Lord Vance. And there is nothing Gavin detests more than scandal. However, when Gavin first sees Kira he is instantly attracted to her exotic beauty. As head of the family, he must find a way to stop the upcoming nuptials and his reaction to his cousin's betrothed adds to his dilemma.
Kira has spent her life as an outcast because of her foreign heritage given to her by her Persian mother. Now, after an incident with a man she trusted, she is an outcast in London society. So when James, a tender and caring clergyman, offers her a respectable marriage, she accepts, hoping that one day love will come.

As soon as Kira arrives at Norfield Park, she clashes with her fiancée's stern cousin and refuses to give in to his demands to call off the marriage. But she is aware of Gavin's striking good looks and is vulnerable to the attention the handsome Duke turns on her. Gavin swears to do anything to stop the scandal this marriage will bring to the family. His plan of seduction changes his life, and what he has believed to be a curse in his hot blood laying dormant for years.

Ohhhh, I loved this book!! Set in the London ton, I enjoyed it as much as I did ONE WICKED NIGHT, also by Shelley Bradley. STRICTLY FORBIDDEN is an intriguing story, perfectly plotted with steamy satisfying ... scenes and an absorbing romance that I never wanted to end. I am an insatiable reader and I want more from this talented writer. This was a truly wonderful book which I would give many stars!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
a captivating read 17 Sept. 2002
By tregatt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
With "Strictly Forbidden," Shelley Bradley has written an early Victorian romance novel that is truly captivating. From the very first page, I was hooked -- but not because "Strictly Forbidden" boasts of possessing a sizzling and romantic love story, but because this was one of the most angst-driven plots I've ever come across, and because "Strictly Forbidden" possesses one of the most courageous and engaging heroines I've ever come across.
The previous reviewer has done a really good job of encapsulating the basic plot premise, so I won't bore you with another recap. But basically the story revolves around the engagement of an unfortunately notorious young lady (Kira Melbourne) of mixed parentage to a young clergymen of a noble family (James Howland) , and his family's efforts (his mother and his cousin, Gavin Daggett, the Duke of Cropthorne) to separate the two. From the very first moment Kira appeared on the scene, she engaged both my interest and sympathies -- Shelley Bradley did a fantastic job of 'fleshing out' this character, showing us all facets of her character and personality. Ms Bradley also did a really good job in depicting the kinds of difficulties a person of mixed parentage would face -- the easy manner in which people are quick to assume the worse and to condemn just because someone is slightly different.
However, on the negative side, I have to admit that I really hated the duke for much of the novel. Much of his behaviour was deplorable and (at times) really appalling. But I will own that Ms Bradley did a really good job of depicting the conflict that he feels about his attraction for Kira and his determination to end Kira's engagement to James, no matter the pain he may cause; and the confusion he feels as he tries to make his mind if Kira is a heartless wanton or a severely wronged young lady.
Ultimately however, what I really liked about this novel was not the 'romance' that develops between the duke and Kira (the duke tends to rhapsodize too much about Kira's body and mouth and not enough on her character and personality for me to believe that he was truly in love with her and not in 'lust' with her), but the fact that this was the story of a young woman who had the courage and heart to face down her detractors, who armed with only prejudice, rumour and innuendo thought nothing to destroying her reputation and making her life quite hellish. Kira behaves throughout the novel with a kind of grace and dignity that is completely admirable -- rooting for Kira to attain all that she desired was not a problem at all! At the same time she is no doormat -- I really enjoyed the scenes where she tells the duke off! Another aspect of the novel that I rather liked was that Ms Bradley provided Kira with a younger brother (probably the hero of the next 'Strictly' installation, though I wouldn't at all mind reading a future 'Strictly' book that featured James as the romantic hero) who cared enough to fight for her honour and to clear her name. The last couple of chapters when the duke finally comes to his senses made for satisfying reading as well, though I would have preferred it if there had been a lot more groveling on his part. Kira was too softhearted! But than she was a woman in love, who had finally attained her heart's desire.
All in all, in spite of my frustration at the duke's shoddy behaviour, I have to admit that "Strictly Forbidden" was an enthralling and captivating read, not to be missed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Continue the sizzle begun in the prequel STRICTLY SEDUCTION 31 Aug. 2002
By Carol Carter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
James Howland, cousin of Gavin Daggett, fifth Duke of Cropthorne, has shocked his mother and cousin by inviting a woman of scandalous reputation into their home and announcing they are betrothed. When the young woman of mixed heritage (half English and half Persian) arrived, Aunt Caroline nearly swooned. Caroline raised Gavin along with her own son when he was orphaned at a young age, but not before her brother Richard, Gavin's father, took perverse pleasure in showing and telling his young son the meaning of `The Daggett Curse', an uncontrollable lust: A lust that riddled the family in scandal from his outrageous behavior. Gavin knew his aunt had barely recovered from the scandal his father created, and to turn the family reputation around, the present duke lives a life above reproach. He is determined to see the family will not suffer this humiliation ever again. He's promised his aunt he will get the scandalous Miss Kira Melbourne to break off the engagement, even if he must seduce her to do it.
Kira has never been accepted by the Persian's or the English and has lived her lifetime being unwanted. She and her brother Darius were sent away by their mother to live in England with their father, when the Persian side of the family refused to acknowledge them, and he is constantly away traveling the globe. Wanting love and acceptance so badly, the naïve young woman fell for the line of a smooth talking lord, and agreed to elope with him to Gretna Green. However, two days later, she returned still single and the ton has been having a field day with her reputation ever since. When James offered marriage, Kira saw it as a way to gain respectability and accepted his offer. Though they aren't in love, they do form a friendship and he is quite kind. He is her chance for a future and she believes she will make him a good wife. She's crushed by the chilly reception when she arrived at his home, but believes once they are wed his family will accept her.
Shelley Bradley has penned a story that will keep readers spellbound. STRICTLY FORBIDDEN is a very sensual novel between two passionate people. Kira is forbidden territory, but the feelings Gavin has about her will not lie dormant long as his Daggett lust surges. Kira is beautiful and exotic and though she does nothing to intentionally entice Gavin, she is the only woman who has ever made him lose control. Gavin knows he is suffering from the `curse' and fears what may become of him. Ms. Bradley touches her story with humor and adventure, yet shares values with readers as well. Kira must learn to accept herself before others will, and Gavin must learn to listen to his heart, not just his head. STRICTLY FORBIDDEN is a well-written story and readers will quickly turn pages to learn how Ms. Bradley is going to resolve this plot. Remember it is a romance and as such has a happy, and satisfying ending. Each novel I read by Shelley Bradley is better than the one before it. STRICTLY FORBIDDEN follows this path, and I highly recommend this read to you.
Carol Carter, Reviewer - As written for Romance Reviews Today
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Captivating; significantly better than the first in series 31 May 2004
By S. Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Gavin is an interesting hero: he can be warm and witty or arrogant and self-deluded. He's smart and responsible, but too easily (mis)led by the family "curse" and too readily believes love to be mere lust. In fact, nearly everyone wonders if he has a heart. He's flawed, just like real people. He really battles with his feelings for her, often rationalizing his actions, some of which really are not nice.
Kira is a noble, graceful, and open-hearted woman, who is perhaps too naive and too willing to endure insults based on her mixed heritage. It is her loving nature that eventually cracks open Gavin's heart. But she does from time to time stand up for herself, eventually refusing to allow others to think poorly of her and refusing to think so of herself.
The story remains interesting throughtout, the characters are thoroughly developed, and the multilayered plot is finely drawn. The reader is also treated to a renewal of acquaintance with Brock and Maddie from Strictly Seduction (which I didn't like as well as this one), who actually fare almost better in this story. The love scenes here, indeed the entire romance, are much better, and more genuine, more loving.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Treasure 23 April 2007
By Melissa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Kira Melbourne is running from a scandal. She foolishly ran way with a nobleman whom she thought was going to whisk her off to Gretna Green, instead he abandoned her and told the ton about her "wanton" behavior.

Kira is simply one of the best and most complex heroines I have ever read about in a romance novel. She is half Persian and she is considered bad blood. She cannot find her place either in London or Persia. She desires peace and a family and the only one able to provide these for her is a sweet vicar. The Vicar knows of her past but dismisses it. He does not love Kira but desires to save her. This too-good-to-be-true vicar has an important cousin though, Gavin Daggett, the Duke of Cropthorne

Gavin has heard the rumors surrounding Kira and is appalled. He decides seducing her is the only way to show his cousin her true nature. Of course, the seducer becomes the seduced. Shelly Bradley doesn't take the easy road with these two characters though. Gavin is prejudiced against Kira's Middle Eastern bloodline. Furthermore, he feels ashamed and guilty for his prejudice. His seduction is despicable and he knows this but seems unable to stop things once they are in motion.

Kira is so incredibly lonely that it is totally understandable why she would see Gavin's cousin as her savior. It also explains why she responds so quickly to Gavin's seduction. He portrays kindness and acceptance, something she has never had her entire life from the ton. He is also passionate and ready to take a stand on her behalf.

Gavin has his own demons to exorcise. He does not want to succumb to real love and passion, else he end up like his father, an indiscriminate womanizer. His transformation is slow but by the end of the book he is totally redeemed and worthy of his heroine. Kira was bold, brave and had a wealth of kindness. Her unselfish nature and confidence were amazing even under some of the most trying circumstances. This book will most assuredly go on my keeper shelf.
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