Review – The Forbidden Man by Karina Halle

Posted March 2, 2020 by smutmatters in Reviews / 0 Comments

Review – The Forbidden Man by Karina HalleThe Forbidden Man by Karina Halle
Published by Amazon Digital on December 16, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Pages: 502
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited

An epic standalone forbidden age-gap sports romance from the New York Times Bestselling author of The Play and My Life in Shambles
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.
The Younger Man is a full-length standalone romance. Characters from Love, in English make a cameo in this book, however The Forbidden Man is intended to be read as a STANDALONE. This book will be approximately 400-500 pages or more.

Quick note – This book was originally called The Younger Man, so don’t be confused if you see it referred to by either title – it’s the same book.

As usual, Karina Halle has written a book that just wrung me out emotionally. Thalia is fresh out of a pretty nasty divorce, and she’s feeling fragile. Because of the circumstances of the divorce, she had to quit her job, and she’s still at loose ends. She was a physical therapist for Manchester United, but now she’s out of a job at the wrong time of the year. No one is looking for PT for their team, so when she gets an out-of-the-blue invitation to interview to join the Real Madrid team, she jumps at it. She thinks that a fresh start in Madrid might be just what she needs to start healing.

And boy, does she start healing when she gets to Madrid. She loves the city, loves the head coach (Mateo from Love, In English and Love, In Spanish) and is thrilled to be working on a team again. And she is determined to ignore Alejo Albarado, one of the star players on the team, and a man who is completely forbidden to her on so many levels. It is explicitly against the rules for players to be involved with anyone on staff at any level. Thalia is also still reeling from her divorce, and he’s 23 to her 40. There are so many reasons she has to stay away from him, and only one really big one to give in to temptation – she just can’t stop herself. The attraction between them is electric and exciting and powerful, and she does try to refuse it, but eventually she can’t.

And, look. I was thrilled for Thalia. Rules be damned – get it. And I was all in for them in the beginning when it was mainly just sex, but I was also waiting for the hammer to drop. It’s Karina Halle – there’s always a hammer. And this is a romance. There had to be more to it than just really great sex.

And even though I knew that, I was still sort of hoping they’d leave it at great sex. Because as good as they were together, they couldn’t be together. Because we live in the world we do, Thalia took all of the heat when her marriage imploded, even though she was the one who was cheated on, not the one who cheated. It didn’t matter. As the woman, she was the one the media and the public raked over the coals. She was the one who had to leave her job; her ex, Stewart, was the celebrated assistant-turned-head coach of the team, so of course she was the one judged expendable.

So now she’s here again. She’s in a position where if their relationship is discovered, she’ll be the one scorned again. And the media will be even worse to her as a woman who has now had relationships with two different men on two different teams where she’s worked. And it would be exponentially worse when it was discovered that it was a player this time, a player almost 20 years younger than her. I loved them together, but I’m still scarred from what Fi went through when she dated Dex in The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan, and I couldn’t bear to watch Thalia go through it.

And I really couldn’t see how it would go any other way. It is absolutely against the rules for them to be in a relationship, and if it was discovered, there is no world that exists in which the star player is the one cut from the team or crucified in the media. No possible way. It would be Thalia who would be dragged through the mud again and decimated. I knew I couldn’t watch that happen. I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I could barely read this book for anticipating that moment.

Then when it did come out, when their relationship was discovered, it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared. That just wasn’t the story Karina Halle was telling. The team managed to keep most of the details out of the media, but there’s no way that there wasn’t speculation and gossip, especially with how Thalia herself handled everything, which I didn’t really agree with. Frankly, I hated how she handled it. She was caught between a rock and a hard place, though, and there weren’t really any good decisions to make. She was found out and she had to figure out a way to deal with that and also to make a living. Can she break up with Alejo but stay where she is at Real Madrid, knowing that it’s forbidden for them to be together? Does she stay and continue the clandestine affair, just going through life hoping they aren’t found out before Alejo is traded to another team or something else comes up? Does she leave Real Madrid and get to keep Alejo? If she does that, where will she work? How will she make a living? She’d have to move to a different city and they’d be separated anyway.

Karina Halle always puts me through the wringer no matter what book of hers I’m reading, so I tend to space them out. Karina Halle is on the same plan as Talia Hibbert for me – I read them slowly and spaced out so that I always have at least one that I can pick up when I’m feeling the need to cry or scream. Her books are so high-emotion, and I haven’t read one yet that didn’t hit me right in the solar plexus. Get this book. Settle in with some wine (better yet, sangria) and a box of tissues.

About Karina Halle

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Dirty Angels and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.