☆••*´¨`*•.☆•• 5 stars ☆••*´¨`*•.☆••
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.
This book contains Kick, Use, and Break from the Perdition Series. It is the ENTIRE STORY with a complete beginning, middle and end.
If you read Kick and Use, Break is easily found in the table of contents, and it’s a full length novel.
Forbidden is the bundled version of CD Reiss’ Perdition series. I started the series when it was initially published. The series was to contain three statements: Kick, Use, Break. Lucky you—the series is now published in its entirety as a standalone novel!
Kick is the first part of Forbidden, and it excellently sets up the story and frames the main characters. Our favorite red-headed party girl wakes in a prestigious psych hospital with no memory of what happened the night she stabbed her boyfriend. She is raw, crass, vulnerable, feral, and scared.
The plot felt thick and sluggish like Fiona coming out of her drug and alcohol haze. Much of the novella involves Fiona recalling things of her near and distant past as she begins her psych evaluation and therapy. C.D. Reiss’ characters are intense, wicked, and misguided; the setting is claustrophobic and confining. Readers easily become Fiona’s inmates instead of her observers.
Use is the second part of Forbidden. It is just as incredible as Kick. The research and detail that goes into her writing makes her stories more vivid and realistic.
Use is raw and edgy. Flashbacks, hypnosis and returned memories are very interesting tools for telling this tale. The pace of the book is frenetic and hot. At times I felt as embroiled in the manic emotions of the Westonwood patients as they were.
The conclusion of Forbidden is titled Break. Fiona is like a paint splatter on a Jackson Pollock painting. She was raw before she entered Westonwood, and the atrocities she encounters while under their care have left her utterly broken. Her edges are frayed. Fiona’s self-hatred is brazenly apparent. Her feelings of unworthiness have driven every decision she has made in the past. Will she let continue to see herself in the same way or will she take the advice of Dr. Elliot Chapman and find a new way to describe herself?
Fiona is a white-hot mess. Her emotional baggage is weighing her down and the tide is rising. Her vulnerability and her inner spirit make her attractive to both her hot psychiatrist and her gorgeous long-time dom/boyfriend. Both of these men want Fiona to get better, but the path they think she needs to take is wildly different.
“I felt so alone, so abandoned, so worthless…”
The men in Fiona’s life are complete opposites. Deacon, Fiona’s longtime Dom/boyfriend, is dark and brooding. He is not a man to be crossed. He is handsome, confident, and ruthless. He loves Fiona deeply and sees it as his responsibility to keep her on track and out of trouble. He’s the sort of man that readers should want Fiona to be done with, but I found his strength and his dedication to Fiona quite appealing.
“I don’t know what I care about besides you.”
Elliot Chapman gave up his planned career in the seminary to become a therapist. His compassion for people, his sexual fantasies, and Fiona’s wantonness push him into an untenable and unethical situation. He wants to help her get better. He wants her to see her self-worth and make positive changes in her life. He wants to participate in the sexual kink that Fiona describes in their sessions. Elliot first appears as Fiona’s guardian angel, but I felt like his fantasies about his patient to be just as selfish as Deacon’s method for helping Fiona.
“How far was I willing to go?”
Ultimately, Fiona is the heroine, as it should be, and she finds a new path.
“I was loved by a team of smart, screwed, comically-inclined vigilantes. But I was loved.”
I loved how masterfully C.D. Reiss weaves in details of her other books into each of her stories about the large and obscenely wealthy Drazen family. Forbidden takes place (or at least starts off) about sixteen years prior to the Songs of Submission series, while the Songs of Corruption series takes place concurrent to the Songs of Submission series. In each series, various Drazen family members have roles, and each of the series has beamed the spotlight on one of the siblings. I love Margie Drazen—the family fixer—she loves her siblings deeply and will do absolutely anything for them.
I was surprised by so many things in the conclusion of Forbidden. The role Debbie plays in Fiona’s life (we’re first introduced to Debbie in the Songs of Submission series) was not at all expected; I was blown away! I anticipated that both Deacon and Elliot would “fight” over Fiona, and I was dumbfounded by the resolution. It was not at all what I anticipated. Whether I expected plot points or was shocked by them, each page had me riveted and my heart pounding.
Forbidden can be a tough read. The mature, dark content will not appeal to some, but if you read this story more as a woman’s journey away from a self-destructive life, you’ll appreciate the glorious, rich details and character development CD Reiss’ intricate storytelling.