I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Starting over was her only option.
Forty-years old and still reeling from a public and painful divorce, Thalia Blackwood is looking for a fresh start, somewhere far away from her upside down life. When she’s offered a new job as the sports therapist for a football (soccer) team, she jumps at the chance. This is just what she needs to leave the heartbreak and shame of Manchester behind, trading it in for the warmth and hopeful vibrancy of Madrid.
He was her only desire.
Twenty-three year old Alejo Albarado is rising up the ranks in his career. As the charming forward for the Real Madrid team, Alejo’s life revolves around women, parties, and being a tabloid darling, that is until the new sports therapist joins the team.
Their passion could not be ignored.
What starts out as a strictly professional relationship between Thalia and the young Spanish player, slowly evolves into something more. Much more.
Their relationship was forbidden.
But their combustible chemistry and simmering sexual tension can only go so far—should Thalia give into Alejo’s advances, she’s at risk of not only losing her job, but succumbing to a much younger man will drag her through the spotlight again.
Alejo might be worth that risk.
Unless he breaks her heart in the process.
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Heat Level: steamy
The Forbidden Man is the very first Karina Halle book that I read and it won’t be my last. In fact, I binged 2 more books by her!
I was really surprised by The Forbidden Man because this book actually uses real sports teams! I don’t think I’ve read any book that used IRL sports teams. If you don’t know, I am not sporty but Pierre is a soccer (football) fan and so I DO know a few soccer teams. This book features Manchester United and Real Madrid. But enough about the teams, let’s discuss the plot!
The Forbidden Man is a forbidden age-gap romance between a soccer star and his physical therapist who was recently divorced. There is also a 17-year age gap between the two! This book absolutely checked all my fave boxes! I forgot to add that this does have a bit of an insta-lust, but the relationship development between Alejo and Thalia after they hooked up was very well done! We can immediately see how Alejo and Thalia eventually fell in love with each other.
While this book is indeed steamy (ohhh that scene in the steam room!), I was surprised that there was a lot of relationship development and scenes where Alejo and Thalia are just hanging out, chilling, and getting to know each other.
I also love how the scandal of their relationship was handled. While Alejo acted a bit immature (which I thought was a realistic reaction because of his age), I love how Thalia was given the chance to really think about her relationship with Alejo and their short separation.
I’ve said that this will not be my last Karina Halle book and I mean it! I am going to be checking out her backlist books soon!
Thoughts on the Audiobook
I received a copy of this audiobook from Tantor Audio and I love both of the narrators! Alexander Cendese and Stephanie Rose are perfect for the voice of Alejo and Thalia. I loved listening to Alejo’s accent! Both the narrator’s tone and pacing were perfect and I did not have to speed up the audio at all.