Book Review

Sunny Shelly’s Review: Once Forbidden, Twice Shy by Carrie Aarons

Once Forbidden, Twice Shy by Carrie Aarons is live!

Running from your problems only brings you hurtling face first into even worse baggage.

After experiencing a brutal trauma in New York that I’d rather bury than address, escaping to a new job in London seems like the perfect solution. That was before I was introduced to my new boss, who is none other than my brother’s best friend. You know, the one I’ve been head-over-heels in love with forever.

Jack Merrick had been my crush since I knew what one was. For years we fought the feelings; I didn’t want to humiliate myself and his excuse was not betraying my brother or parents, who had accepted him as their own. Then, the night of my college graduation party, he undressed me in my childhood bedroom and confirmed that there was no one else on this earth for him but me.

When I woke the next morning he was gone, off to take a job as a coder halfway around the world. Four years and a mangled heart later, Jack is the last person I expect to see in London, and something close to fate is tricking me into thinking this is more than a coincidence. Our shared love of programming has always connected us, but now it’s the thing we’re weaponizing to get back at each other.

Until one night, when the emotional scars from my attack resurface and he’s the only one to witness a massive breakdown. He coaxes out my secrets and swears to love and protect me like he couldn’t before. But with everything stacked against us, I’m not sure we can ever have what we’ve always dreamed of.

Except just as we’re beginning to tackle those obstacles, I learn the truth of why he left all those years ago. And suddenly there may be no future for us at all.

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Sunny Shelly’s Review: 5 Stars

Once Forbidden, Twice Shy was unputdownable! I devoured Jack and Taylor’s romance, and it hit all the sweet spots.

I wanted to hate Jack for ditching Taylor and breaking her heart. I really did. But the guy is just a grump nursing a broken heart himself and I fell in love with him so quickly! He knows he was a coward for ghosting Taylor the way that he did, and he spends this book groveling to make it up to her. And I was there for it! But it wasn’t just Jack’s groveling that I loved about this book. I thought Carrie Aarons did a marvelous job of handling the delicate situation with her assault and the anxiety she’s now living with, as well as Jack’s guilt over having contracted an STD in the past.

There are so many hurdles for these two to overcome: her brother/his best friend, her mistrust of him and feelings of betrayal, Jack’s medical diagnosis, the company they work for frowning upon co-workers dating, Jack not wanting to ruin his relationship with Taylor’s family since his own parents were so neglectful…. There is a to unpack in this story and Carrie Aarons does a marvelous job of weaving it all together!

This story — the high emotions, the angst, the years of history between them — is everything that I look for and love about the brother’s best friend trope. Well done!

I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.

Meet Carrie Aarons

Author of romance novels such as Fool Me Twice and Love at First Fight, Carrie Aarons writes books that are just as swoon-worthy as they are sarcastic. A former journalist, she prefers the love stories of her imagination, and the athleisure dress code, much better.

When she isn’t writing, Carrie is busy binging reality TV, having a love/hate relationship with cardio, and trying not to burn dinner. She lives in the suburbs of New Jersey with her husband, two children and ninety-pound rescue pup.

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