Welcome to my stop on Lisa Clark O'Neill's Blog Barrage for Forbidden, the second book in her Southern Comfort suspense series. Please make sure to leave a comment or question for Lisa below to let her know you stopped by. You can enter her tour wide giveaway via Rafflecopter below. You can also follow all of the stops her tour here.
by Lisa Clark O'Neill
Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Heat Level: Steamy
Word Count: 95,000
Special Agent Clay Copeland lives his job. As a behavioral specialist with the FBI’s Investigative Support Unit, his days are spent traveling the country assisting other law enforcement agencies with their most disturbing and difficult cases. Clay excels at his work, maintaining an easygoing affability and sense of humor despite his frequently gruesome job.
Until one case goes terribly wrong…
Shaken by the loss of a young child whose death he lays at his own feet, Clay seeks refuge in the sandy beaches and plentiful feminine distractions to be found along the South Carolina coast. And no female has ever distracted him quite as much as local innkeeper Tate Hennessey.
A woman with her own ghosts, Tate is a single mother to five-year-old Max. Against her better judgment, she finds herself drawn to the charming and handsome agent. When an outing to a traveling carnival ends with another family’s tragedy, Tate and Clay are sucked into the resultant investigation into the abduction of a young teen.
And neither of them can be prepared for what their chance encounter eventually uncovers.
Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.
THE hazy half-light of dusk had begun to settle by the time Clay and Max finally made their way to the Ferris wheel. Midway lights throughout the entire fairgrounds popped on in a symphony of rainbow hues.
“Look, Mommy.” Max pointed toward the kaleidoscope of bright bulbs outlining the ride. Reds and greens winked against the pinks and indigos of the evening sky, creating a panorama of saturated color.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Tate scooped him into a hug, smiled over his head toward Clay. The first tentative breath of night sighed like relief through the trees.
“It certainly is.” Blind to the lights, Clay looked at Tate, and thought he’d never seen anything more lovely. The fact that she’d seen both innocence and trust perverted, was raising a child without a father, and still managed to look at the world and see its wonder made Clay feel that he’d taken his first real breath of that air.
He’d been suffocating, Clay thought. In work. In routine. In the sheer, unrelenting misery he saw all too often. And here, here was goodness.
He wanted to drink it in.
An intriguing mixture of romance, true crime and suspense, Forbidden by Lisa Clark O'Neill tackles the difficult subject of good, evil, psychological burnout and human trafficking. With well developed characters, good dialogue, plenty of emotional and psychological angst, and a nice dose of romance, Ms. O'Neill drew me into her world and never let go. If you're a fan of the romantic suspense/romantic thriller, this is a book you'll want to add to your list.
FBI Special Agent Clay Copeland is used to seeing the worst humanity has to offer. A psychologist and profiler, he's desperately in need of a break from his job. Taking a vacation to visit a friend in South Carolina, Clay plans to be a beach bum for at least a week and maybe even go out on a date. He never planned on being attracted to a single mom with a small son or on getting drawn into a local missing teen case that quickly turns into something much, much darker.
Single mom Tate Hennessey is busy running her families B&B and doesn't have time for romance. Against her better judgement she finds herself attracted to Clay Copeland, a man who's made it clear he's only on a short vacation. Agreeing to a date at the fair with Clay and Max, her five year old son, Tate doesn't expect to find herself drawn into what becomes a police investigation.
The scenes between Tate and Clay are fun, well written, and have just the right amount of sexual attraction. Smart, independent and reluctant to get deeply involved, Tate and Clay only think in terms of a temporary relationship. As the situation around them changes, they find themselves realizing they have the potential to be much more. Ms. O'Neill does a good job letting us get to know both Tate and Clay as individuals and then as people who begin to fall in love. I found it easy to connect with both characters and I liked how Ms. O'Neill allowed us to get to know Tate's son Max, and with the role he played with Clay and Tate.
The secondary characters in the story are also well done and make good contributions to the story. I especially liked Tate's family, and Clay's friend Justin. The villains were also well done and it's clear Ms. O'Neill did plenty of research when it came to the human trafficking part of this book. With just enough details to move the story along, Ms. O'Neill reminds us of the horrors law enforcement officials face when dealing with the victims of these dreadful crimes. With just enough action, the story's pace also moves right along.
Will Tate and Clay's blossoming romance help or get in the way of the missing teen's investigation? And will they be able to handle everything they uncover while trying to solve the case? You'll have to read Forbidden to find out. While a part of the Southern Comfort series, this is a book you can read on its own. I plan to read the first book in the series, Serendipity, next.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars and a Recommended Suspenseful Read!
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour in exchange for a fair and honest review.
About the Author
One fine day in the not-too-distant past, Lisa Clark O’Neill left Wittenberg University with a BA in English, which she promptly neglected. After working as an interior designer, decorative artist, and Montessori art teacher (there may have been a BA in art as well,) she finally settled into the role of mother to two very fine children.
However, two years of doing the stay-at-home-mom brain cell melt drove her to pull out a pen and one of her old college notebooks.
That turned into six manuscripts.
Lisa spent subsequent years avoiding housework by burying her nose in just about every romance novel she could get her hands on, after completely falling in love with the genre. Her own work falls into the romantic suspense sub-genre, with strong comedic undertones.
Lisa currently lives in the Atlanta area with her family, her dog, her cat and her daughter’s pet rabbit. When she isn’t attempting to keep the rabbit from eating the woodwork, she’s hard at work on her next novel.
Connect with Lisa Clark O’Neill