What is Once Forbidden, Twice Shy by Carrie Aarons about?
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.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Carrie Aarons is back! (Yes, I know it hasn’t been that long since her last release, but I missed reading her books!) This time, she has a second chance brother’s best friend (and forbidden) romance. Brother’s best friend romance is one of my favorite tropes, and I liked how the second chance aspect was brought into it. Although the two of them never actually dated in any sense of the word, the fact that both of them had such strong feelings for the other regardless added an interesting layer to the story.
Having them both be open to themselves about their feelings instead of denying them internally was something I wasn’t expecting. When we switch to Jack’s POV and he’s fully aware of how much he cares for Taylor, that already set the story off to an intriguing start. (Plus, it’s also set in London, which is totally awesome.)
The relationship that Taylor has with her parents is so sweet. She hides things from them because she doesn’t want them to worry, but it’s so clear how much they love her, from the first time Taylor talks to her mom on the phone. Running through each individual detail of the day is what I do with my mom, so I could totally relate! There are also definitely other side characters that I wouldn’t mind reading their own book about, so we’ll see if Carrie has any of that in store for us in the future!
As with most new adult books, I recommend this for 18+ due to some of the mature content. I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll leave you with the information that the book is out now and is free to read on Kindle Unlimited. There are a few trigger warnings, so please double check those before picking up this book. Huge thanks to Carrie for allowing me to read an early copy!
Check out my interview with Carrie about “The Tenth Girl,” and read my other reviews of her young and new adult books:
“Foes & Cons” ♪
“Tagging Up” (Callahan Family #5) ♪