Author: C.D. Reiss @CDReisswriter
Reviewer: Rachel @RachelAnn901
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 600 pages
Rating: 5 stars
“Brilliant” – The Rockstars of Romance
“CD Reiss doesn’t just publish books. She unleashes them.” — Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews
Everything about Fiona is forbidden.
She’s a party girl with dark desires.
She’s beautiful, irresponsible, irresistible.
She’s my patient.
I’m her therapist.
I’m past past wanting her. Past possessing her. Past bedding her or protecting her.
I’m willing to be self-destructive, negligent, brave, audacious, and stronger than I ever believed possible.
She’s blunt force trauma to the heart.
And she calls another man Master.
CD Reiss has outdone herself with Forbidden, and I feel like hugging her for giving us such an amazing story and a character like Fiona Drazen. It’s unlike anything out there and unlike anything Reiss has written before. So many times this story put me through the emotional meat grinder and punched me in the gut only to turn around and fill me with complete joy. It’s emotionally devastating, psychologically intriguing, and equal parts agonizing and poignant. And it’s a story that will stick with you long after you’ve finished it.
“I knew who I was. I was a celebrity without talent. I was an heiress. I was a whore. I was a party waiting to happen. I was an addict. I was his…”
We’ve met numerous members of the Drazen family through Reiss’ other series, and here we get Fiona’s story, and what a story it is. She’s unapologetically sexual, an addict, and an in your face party girl with a self-destructive streak a mile wide. And she’s a woman caught between two men who will go to any lengths to fight for her.
“Anyone can fuck you,” he said, fucking my mouth with his fingers. “I’m the only one who can break you.”
On one side is Deacon. Her lover, her Dom, her safe haven, and the man who owns her mind, body, and soul. He’s the person who gives her boundaries and rules to ground her when she spirals out of control, and he’s the man that knows how to break her down when she needs to be built back up.
On the other side is Dr. Elliot Chapman. When Fiona wakes up in a mental hospital for stabbing her boyfriend with no recollection of how or why it happened, Elliot is the therapist assigned to help her regain those memories as well as help her uncover the reasons for her self-destructive behavior. He’s the man who sees beyond the bad choices and the celebutante status, and he sees her as more than just a pretty thing for men to fuck. But he’s also a man who in some ways is just as lost as Fiona is, and it’s through his sessions with her that Elliot has his own sort of sexual awakening when they both find themselves undeniably attracted to each other.
“I’m not too many men. I’m one man. And when I have you, Fiona, I’ll be sacrificing my career. So when I finally take you to bed, I won’t be changing my life for a little pussy. I’m changing it for a woman.”
The dynamics that Fiona has with each of these men is compelling in their own way, and even though I had a strong preference for who I thought was the right choice, I could see the value in both of them. Fiona is a character with a whole host of problems and through the first half of the book I wasn’t sure who the best choice for her would be, or maybe neither of them were. Deacon is a force of nature that grounds Fiona when nothing else can, and he loves her not despite her flaws, but because of them. But does he love her the way that she needs? Is his love healthy for her or does it do more harm than good? If Deacon is a force of nature, then Elliot is the calm before the storm. He soothes her, calms her, and at the same time challenges her in ways no one else has. But is it love or lust that’s driving him to her? Is she just an escape from his own disappointing life or is she worth losing everything for? Their relationship crossed so many ethical lines and maybe that’s what I loved most about it, the fact that it was so forbidden and wrong in so many ways, and yet so natural that their attraction was almost inevitable. Each of them filled a void that the other needed. It’s a story that doesn’t have easy answers but what makes it so remarkable is that I was so invested in Fiona as a character that, while I loved Elliot (and I love him fiercely and unabashedly), I didn’t mind who she ended up with as long as she was happy in the end. Every interaction, every emotion, every word they uttered was filtered through the lense of “how does this affect Fiona?” On the surface it may seem like a triangle, but really it’s Fiona’s journey from a self-described junkie sex addict undeserving of love to a person who discovers her own self worth.
“Crazy as it was, he loved me. Of all the world’s gifts, that was the greatest, and I wasn’t going to decide I didn’t deserve it. Only he could decide that, and if he said I was good enough for him, I wouldn’t argue otherwise.”
It’s a credit to Reiss as a writer that she could have me so engaged in the fate of a fictional character to the point that I agonized over it. Everything about this book was emotional, but it wasn’t the flowery, purple prose kind of emotion. It was distinctly visceral and gut wrenching, and also intensely erotic. I read the first two parts of Forbidden over a year ago when it was first conceived as serial, and I felt like I’ve been holding my breath ever since waiting for the end of Fiona’s journey and I didn’t release that breath till the very last word of the epilogue. Luckily, Reiss has decided to release the entirety of Songs of Perdition as a standalone, and anyone who hasn’t read it before can experience Fiona Drazen in all of her messy glory at once without the wait, and she is totally worth it. She along with CD Reiss are truly one of a kind.
*An ARC was received for an honest review.
CD Reiss is a USA Today and Amazon bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn’t pick up, she’s at the well, hauling buckets.
Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master’s degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere, but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels.
Critics have dubbed the books “poetic,” “literary,” and “hauntingly atmospheric,” which is flattering enough for her to put it in a bio, but embarrassing enough for her not to tell her husband, or he might think she’s some sort of braggart who’s too good to chop a cord of wood.
If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.