Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Publication Date: April 26th 2014
Series: Forbidden Men #2
Source: Provided by author for review
Junior in college. Star athlete. Constant attention from the opposite sex. On this campus, I’m worshiped. While seven hundred miles away, back in my hometown, I’m still trailer park trash, child of the town tramp, and older sibling to three kids who are counting on me to keep my shit together so I can take them away from the same crappy life I grew up in. These two opposing sides of myself never mix until one person gets a glimpse of the true me. I never expected to connect with anyone like this or want more beyond one night. This may be the real deal. Problem is, Dr. Kavanagh’s my literature professor. If I start anything with a teacher and we’re caught together, I might as well kiss my entire future goodbye, as well as my family’s, and especially Dr. Kavanagh’s. Except sometimes love is worth risking everything. Or at least, it damn well better be because I can only resist so much. *new adult romance* **explicit scenes and language**
Wow. What in the hell did I just read?! I'm sitting in almost stunned silence because Linda Kage just blew me away with yet another amazing story with fantastic characters and deeply passionate emotions wrapped up in a New Adult package. I knew going into this that the student teacher aspect would get ugly before it became beautiful but I loved finding that the beauty was built before, during and after everything bubbled to the surface but before I get to that let me explain a little about the characters.
Aspen and Noel seemingly hate each other from the get go. He's the campus heartthrob/Darling Quarterback for the university with high hopes pinned on him for a championship unlike the campus has ever seen. Aspen is the literature professor that gives him a hard time over and over again until other faculty step in to nudge her to take it easy on him. After a heated debate in her office Noel is forced to convey his feelings on paper to try and connect with a character in The Great Gatsby, the current novel She's teaching out of. She's gets more than she bargained for as Noel opens up everything about his situation and leaves her speechless with more power in her hands than he's comfortable with.
With Noel being the campus tramp I didn't expect much from him and I can't believe I felt that way because Kage writes fantastic guys. That's even more evident to me now after reading this. Noel had so much on his plate and nobody else around him seemed to care. He's come from a crappy upbringing in a trailer with three siblings to care for while his mother does whatever she pleases. While going to school and working full time he's on a scholarship at Ellamore College hoping to get drafted into the NFL and make his family life easier. Noel's character was surprisingly deep for such a flamboyant playboy. Yes he's been with almost all the girls on campus and that usually bothers me but right away I picked up on something inside him that sparked my curiosity. He wasn't just a jock who wanted to skate by on his good looks trying to charm the teacher. He actually had real depth and emotions and worked his ass off to get where he is. Granted he may have gone about getting into college the wrong way, he still applied himself and I loved that about him. He was a good guy beneath all the glitz of being "Big Man on Campus" and his love for his family was unmatched.
Aspen comes across as this skittish but hardcore book nerd/teacher. At first I thought she was secretly crushing on Noel and gave him a hard time because of it but there was more behind her angst towards him. From a young age she was a very advanced learner being extremely intelligent and graduated high school before she hit puberty. Being a fresh tween in a high school with older kids resulted in a traumatic event that has scarred her and made her cautious of the football jocks. Her story was hard to take at times because I felt so bad for her. Not just the event that hurt her but her parents were God awful bastards. This is a woman who doesn't have a clue what Love is. Her parents have tried to mold her into a machine of unfeeling proportions and pushed her emotional needs to the side. That kind of behavior can wreck a kid but Aspen was still a dreamer at heart. That was what I connected with the most from her. She still had hope and dreamed of being loved and would get lost in romance novels hoping to find that someday. She was tough and stuck to her guns and didn't back down when faced with a challenge and that just gave me a boner. I love a woman who defends herself and won't let anyone run over her. Aspen surely proved she could handle her own but the way she selflessly gave up what her heart desired the MOST to protect someone she loved was what really sold me on her.
Student teacher relationships are incredibly fascinating to me for some strange reason. Whenever I hear about them in the news I always cringe but can't help but be drawn to it. The relationship between Noel and Aspen wasn't quite as scandalous though because they were close enough in age to not warrant a full out "Kill The Beast" angry mob. Because Aspen was so smart at a young age she was able to finish school early enough to earn her doctorate and be able to teach at a major university. What the problem was for them was a breach of ethics issue. Along with having an affair with your student your motives are called into question about grades and personal favors. With Noel being on the football team it was easy to understand the type of concern the school would have and that's why they kept it between them. Or tried to. I hated how secretive they had to be because their connection was a beautiful thing to be witness to. The friendship and love that grew between them left me breathless waiting for the other shoe to drop. The more people you let into your secret the more chances there are to slip up but the catalyst comes in a surprise form that leaves Noel feeling guilty and ashamed. Kage left me with bated breath hoping Noel wouldn't handle himself in the way most male characters tend to lean towards and I should have had faith in him because his determination and affection brought me to my knees. I loved Noel so damn much I don't know which of her guys was the best. Noel or Mason!
Speaking of Mason Lowe *shivers* my sweet guy made an appearance in this book I wasn't expecting. Authors usually tend to tie in certain character's in a series so I went in thinking this would be about a character I had met previously. Kage did tie them all together but the way it was done was much better than the way I had planned in my head. Mason and Reese are still together, living in Illinois to escape the garbage that Mason had to put up with in Price Of A Kiss. (If you haven't read that book DO IT NOW! You won't be sorry! Everyone needs to experience the greatness of Mason Lowe!) Anyway I loved that these two were showcased and made a part of the scenery that surrounded Noel and Aspen. One particular part left me sick to my stomach when Mason's past follows him. One of the connections formed out of having Mason and Reese in this story was Eva and Pick. Reese's pregnant cousin and Noels friend who works at the bar with him. From the instant these two met all I could think was "YES!! HOOK THESE TWO UP!!" I mean come on! The Preggo and The Tramp? Yes please! Pick (or Patrick as I discovered his name is) comes across as this tough ass tattooed pierced asshole with a "Back the fuck off" vibe going but when he meets Eva (heavily pregnant btw) his inner softie shows up and now I'm dying for the next book!
Once again I was at Kage's mercy as she effortlessly penned a story between amazing people that gave me so many happy, sad, anxious, romantic and sexy feelings. With chemistry as explosive as Noel and Aspen's comes the equally explosive steamy times. Fanning myself after reading a dirty scene usually doesn't happen anymore after reading mostly smut but these two made my upper lip sweat with their bond and intense passionate moments. Noel and Aspen have a fantastic story to tell you and I really hope you take my advice and give them a chance as well as discovering the love between Mason and Reese in Price Of A Kiss because Kage has a gift of bringing couples so uniquely to life you'd swear they were real people you know. There were so many wonderful and amazing experiences to go through with Noel and Aspen and the way they fought for everything they wanted just felt great. No other way to describe it. If I could hug Kage right now I would and how appropriate she ended her novel with an amazing quote by J.D Salinger from Catcher In the Rye...
"What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it."
It doesn't get much more honest than that and that's exactly how To Professor left me feeling. With that kind of emotion wrapped into a story why wouldn't you want to read this one for yourself?
~ I gulped nervously, and I swear his stare tried to follow the liquid down my throat. What was even more discerning, his attention returned to my lips when I lowered the bottle. If his eyes had been a tongue, he would've just licked me from my mouth and down my chin, over my throat to just between my breasts...and back up again. eARC 27%
~ But, oh my God, had touching myself while thinking of him somehow drawn him to my house? What the hell kind of voodoo shit had been in those candles? I needed to buy more. eARC 49%
~ "Do you feel that? Do you feel what we do together? This isn't normal, Aspen. We are a force of fucking nature. How can we keep fighting this?" eARC 59%
~ "What the hell ever. you're the best thing that's ever happened to me. I had to raise myself with no guidance of how to be a good person, how to build good study habits, how to feel like someone actually cared about what happens to me without me needing to fix all their problems in return, how to depend on someone else. You taught me all that. I need you, Aspen. Jesus, you really have no idea what you've done for me in the time we've been together, do you?" eARC 78%
~ But here I was, and I wouldn't change my life for anything in return, and that was all I'd ever wanted. eARC 99%
About The Author:
I grew up on a dairy farm in the Midwest as the youngest of eight children. Now I live in Kansas with my husband, daughter, and our nine cuckoo clocks. My life's been blessed with lots of people to learn from and love. Writing's always been a major part my world, and I'm so happy to finally share some of my stories with other romance lovers.