ORDER A COPY: Forbidden
Publisher: Ballentine Books
Publishing Date: October 30, 2012
Paperback: 384 pages
Rating: 3 stars
The unexpected happens in an instant. On her way to work, secretary Docia Waverley hurtles into a crashing crossroads, and she quickly begins to suspect that things will never be the same. Then, when a tall, blond, muscular stranger intervenes on her behalf, telling her it is his duty to protect her at all cost, what is just a feeling turns to proof positive. That is, as long as Docia’s savior doesn’t turn out to be a crazed kidnapper.
When Ram finds Docia, he has no doubt that she is his queen. But as this golden warrior sweeps in to protect her, he feels something more than body heat every time they touch. He is overwhelmed by a searing connection that goes deep into the twin souls inside him. A desire rises in him that is forbidden—this woman is his queen, the mate of his king, his leader, his best friend. And yet Docia is so vulnerable and attractive that she awakens a hunger in Ram that is undeniable, a carnal craving he cannot yield to . . . not without risking the very survival of the Bodywalkers.
In her new spinoff series, Jacquelyn Frank builds us a new World of Nightwalkers. These new Nightwalkers include Gargoyles, Djynn, Night Angels, and in this first story, she gives us Bodywalkers. When the ancient Egyptians were worshiping their Gods and practicing their art of preparing the dead for life eternal in the afterworld, they did not realize that this grab for eternal life would anger the God, Ra, and as a punishment, they would be eternally barred from heaven and their mummified bodies would tether them to the mortal world. Every time they die, they are returned to the Ether, a type of limbo, where they would wait until they were strong enough to Bodywalk again.
At that moment between life and death, the Bodywalkers could intercept a soul and offer that person a chance to live but in return they would need to share their body with the soul of a Bodywalker. Once taking a Bodywalker into their body, their lives would change dramatically including an ability to heal and an almost immortal existence. But the Sun God has not only denied them heaven, he has denied them the ability to walk in the sun, making them forever Nightwalkers.
It is easy to find a newly returned Bodywalker. All you need to do it watch the news and wait for a story of a miraculous tale of survival. This is usually a person, “an original,” who has cheated death and is now Blended with a Bodywalker.
Ram, more commonly known as Ramses the Second, Blended with his original, Vincent, about 30 years ago. Since then he has been waiting. He knows that the time for the return of the Queen is soon upon them and he has been sent to the small town of Saugerties, NY to await her arrival. He knows at once when he hears the tale of survival of The Bridge Girl who was pushed from the bridge into the freezing Hudson River, declared dead and miraculously resuscitated. He know that this Docia Waverly is now the original for the Queen, Hatshepsut, and it is Ram’s job to protect her until the King Menes returns from the Ether. For the first time in all the centuries Ram has protected the Queen, he now finds his attraction to her original too much to resist but he can’t determine which is worse—denying this attraction or betraying his King.
I get a little put off on reincarnations stories. I always feel cheated with a “who do you really love” feeling. This story also left me with a bit of the same feeling. Ram presumes that it is the bodywalker in Docia that he loves (seeming to forget that Docia and/or Vincent might have something to do with the feelings of attraction). I want to be there in 100 years after they come out the Ether again to look at each other lovingly and go “Hmmm, I guess I really loved Docia/Vincent, not you. Now they’re dead. This sucks!”
Although I am not 100 percent sold on these bodywalkers, I was very quite intrigued with the set up for the next story and I definitely have to read it.
This new series not only contains some interesting new characters, but one of the most outrageous scenes in a paranormal series has to be when Vincent (the original) is jealous of Docia’s feelings for Ram and he wants to be the one to seduce her. (See below.)
Jacquelyn Frank has taken the opportunity to branch off from her very popular Nightwalker series, giving us the chance to enjoy a surprising new group of supernaturals, and the sky’s the limit where she will take us now in the new World of the Nightwalkers.
Received an ARC from netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
”You’re supposed to be protecting me, not manhandling me!” she whispered fiercely.
“Oh, but you’ll let Ram manhandle you until the cows come home,” he growled as he closed in on her.
“Do you even hear what you’re saying? You’re the same person, you space cadet!”
The phrase gave them both pause. Yeah, she had to admit, that was a fairly decrepit choice, even for her.
“Not according to you,” he said through his teeth, just as she backed herself into an inescapable corner of the living room. His hands slammed against the wood walls on either side of her shoulders, and then there was the rapid follow-up of his strong body leaning along hers, blocking her from moving. “According to you, there’s all kinds of different.”
“Would you just let it go? In a few more hours none of this is going to matter. A few more days and neither of us will be who we are right now. So what does anything I say or do matter?”
She had grown increasingly agitated with every word, with every statement. She wanted to blame it on him and the way he was harassing her, the infuriating way he was pressing at her, but even she knew it went beyond that.
Vincent settled back a little…calmed, it seemed, as he cocked his head and studied her briefly. Then his right hand came away from the wall and he took her chin, tipping it up until she was looking straight into the golden eyes she would have preferred to avoid.
“Docia, are you afraid of disappearing?” he asked her quietly.
There was no need to define what he was talking about. She knew what he meant, just as he knew what she meant by her remarks. She nodded into the touch of his fingers, loosening their grip on her a little.
“Don’t you disappear when Ram is there?”
It wasn’t an unfair question. Nor was it based on inaccurate observations, he thought with a frown. But she had it wrong. Just as his frantic behavior to delineate himself outside of Ram was wrong.
“No,” he said softly, touching her forehead and the contours along the side of her face. “It’s as true a symbiosis as you can ever imagine,” he promised her. “Ram would falter without me, just as I’m faltering and fucking up without him. Selena knew that. That’s why she did this to us.” And by “us” he clearly meant Ram and himself. “Ram knows things, amazing things, and thinks in ways far beyond what I knew on my own. And Ram doesn’t know half the modern fighting techniques that I do, nor does he have a head for computers and electronics. But together we know it all. And together we make up for each other’s weaknesses in other ways. For instance, when I was just Vincent, it was all about winning, no matter who go trampled in the process.” He sighed. “I don’t want to trample you, Docia.”
“Y-you confuse me,” she stammered, the warm nut brown of her eyes tugging at him in peculiar ways, making him feel guilty when he didn’t want to…when he rightly deserved to.