Alisha Rai is showering us all in an abundance of riches this year. The Forbidden Hearts series follows two intertwined families as they navigate tragedy, heartbreak, and love to get to their happily ever afters. The first book, Hate To Want You, is a phenomenal tale of star-crossed love. Wrong to Need You, a book about coming home and finding your place, is easily my favorite romance of the year.
I’ve always had a fondness for homecoming stories where a character who has been running, often for many years, finally stops. Jackson Kane is more like his twin sister Livvy, the heroine of Hate To Want You, than either of them really knows. They both left their hometown in the dust a decade ago and they both secretly clung to a forbidden love. When Jackson returns to check in on Livvy, he doesn’t expect to stick around for long. He certainly doesn’t expect to make amends to the person he least wanted to hurt but ended up hurting the most.
Sadia Kane has spent the last decade building a life for herself that doesn’t always meet her family’s high expectations. She married Jackson’s older brother, Paul, and had a child. After Paul’s sudden death eighteen months ago, Sadia is scrambling to keep her life from falling apart. When Jackson steps in to help cook at her struggling cafe, it’s both a blessing and a curse. Jackson and Sadia have a complicated history. They’ve loved each other for most of their lives – some of that love platonic, some of it romantic and unrequited, all of it complicated. They were best friends until everything went to total shit and Jackson left town with a dark cloud hanging over his head.
Sadia is a fabulous heroine. She often feels like an outcast in her family, but really she’s their rock. She just doesn’t have the perspective to be able to see that. She has a big, beautiful family, loves them all to pieces – even when they make mistakes – and is always ready to welcome more family with open arms. There is a scene with Sadia and her sisters near the end of the book that had me weeping whilst a couple thousand feet in the air on a plane. I doubt my poor seatmate was impressed.
Jackson is such a kind, loving hero. He’s shy and sensitive and he was betrayed and had his heart broken by those he loved most. Once he ran, he felt like there was no way to come back, even though he desperately wanted to. His heart is a big as Sadia’s, but he’s been so broken and so alone that he’s rusty and out of practice with loving others. There’s no ego or swagger with Jackson. There are just quiet smiles and fresh-baked cookies and unconditional love.
This story ripped me raw in the best of ways. It made me ache for Jackon and Sadia and desperately long for their happiness. In some ways, their problems seem insurmountable – broken trust, painful secrets, awkward family dynamics – but their love for each other is so damn palpable that it also feels like a foregone conclusion that they’ll work things out for themselves exactly as they need to. The bottom line is that if you aren’t reading this series, you absolutely should be. These books are just astounding.
He wasn’t supposed to fall in love with his brother’s widow…
Accused of a crime he didn’t commit, Jackson Kane fled his home, his name, and his family. Ten years later, he’s come back to town: older, wiser, richer, tougher—and still helpless to turn away the one woman he could never stop loving, even after she married his brother.
Sadia Ahmed can’t deal with the feelings her mysterious former brother-in-law stirs, but she also can’t turn down his offer of help with the cafe she’s inherited. While he heats up her kitchen, she slowly discovers that the boy she adored has grown into a man she’s simply unable to resist.
An affair is unthinkable, but their desire is undeniable. As secrets and lies are stripped away, Sadia and Jackson must decide if they’re strong enough to face the past…and step into a future together.
No excerpt available.