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Vaughn wants revenge.
Elisa wants her son back.

Neither expected to want each other....


Historical Romance (Romantica) -- ultra sensual.
This book contains explicit and graphic sex.
Published by Ellora's Cave.

by Anastasia Black
Anastasia Black
is the penname that Tracy and
Julia Templeton used for romances they have written together. 
You can find out more about Julia at her website.

CAPA awards Finalist, 2004 

Reviews. Outline. Excerpt
Casting the movie. 
Buy it.


I cannot say enough wonderful things about this story. It is, bar none, the best story Ellora's Cave has to offer. The love scenes were steamy, intense, yet heart warming. The struggles of the characters were real, and spending time with them was a real joy. I especially enjoyed the unique way the characters handled the situation, leading to a happily ever after unlike anything I ever expected.

I highly recommend this book, as it takes readers on a most amazing but enjoyable roller coaster ride. This is definitely one I wish I could get in hard cover so I could give it a prominent place on the, "I will keep this book forever and read it over and over shelf.

Danica Favorite-McDonald, In the Library Reviews

5 Stars!

An emotional and erotic tale of forbidden love, this is a story that will linger on long after you turn the last page. The characters come to life and bring with them a host of emotions; hate, anger, sympathy, love, and of course lust. This well-written tale has everything a good romance should, a hero with a powerful erotic appeal, a damsel in distress that, luckily for us, cannot resist his charms, and a villain, who is so wicked, even death seems to good for him. Not to mention a wonderful twist in the end.

Colorful descriptions and careful attention to detail gives this book a charm that is not always prevalent in some. The images painted by the author's words will pull you into the story and allow you a glimpse of an era gone by. As a fan of historical romance, the reviewer was delighted by the tale of Vaughn and Elisa. Ms. Black has once again written a story that you will want to read over and over again.

Reviewed by: Kathi for Fallen Angels Reviews

Forbidden is a sexy, compelling novel. All through the book, I found myself holding my breath afraid of what may happen next and hopeful that Elisa and Vaughn could work things out. I was unsure of how Ms. Black (a pseudonym for two Ellora's Cave authors) could turn the situation around, as the future looks bleak throughout the book. The wonderful end deserves cheers. Forbidden is milder than most Ellora's Cave titles, but the sexual tension is sizzling.

Denise Powers for Sensual Romance

5 Stars!

With the eloquent style of writing and the vivid descriptions of England in 1835, I felt as though I had been transported to another time period. The traditions of the era were well studied and incorporated into the story, especially those concerning the lives of women. The writing team of Julia Templeton and Tracy Cooper-Posey, have crafted a tale where there is a deep understanding of human nature. The characters are dramatically portrayed, and I was caught up in their lives from the moment I met each one. Forbidden is an immensely rewarding read with the passionate and emotional love story.

Anastasia Black will have readers experiencing innumerable emotions while they read this deeply moving story. With the engrossing dialogue, I felt every character’s thoughts and feelings, whether they were about their hopes, fears or desires. This story about ambition and retribution was woven seamlessly together, and the touching ending is heartwarming. With the sexual tension being off the scale in this highly sensual tale, Vaughn and Elisa’s forbidden thoughts, looks and touches are erotic yet sincere. Readers will be swept up into this stunning historical story, and Forbidden will not soon be forgotten.

Amelia Richard, eCataRomance Reviews

5 Stars!

The first in the series of tales, Anastasia Black burns the pages with her words. Anastasia ignites the passion waiting to explode between the characters quickly turning it from a luscious appetizer to the main dish and back again. What's amazing is the blatant seduction that takes the better part of the book to complete. Elisa and Vaughn find themselves in what could be considered very public places acting out their ravenous desires numerous times. Of course, because of the setting, the finale cannot be completed for fear of discovery leaving both Elisa and Vaughn wanting for more. A huge letdown that will drive many readers crazy.  Scorching!

Brenda Ramsbacher, Scribe's World

4.5 Stars

This is my first experience reading one of Anastasia Black’s stories and does she ever have me hooked.  I found Vaughn and Eliza’s journey of exploring their FORBIDDEN love to be a very gripping, heart-warming tale that had my emotions on edge as I waited to turn the next page to see what happened to them next.  Kudos to Ms. Black for bringing to life such a wonderful romance.  I for one will be anxiously waiting to see what great tale she has in store for us in the future.

Briana Burress for Romance Junkies


Anastasia Black's Forbidden is truly a wonderful and very passionate love story! With her exquisite descriptions of time and place you are immediately drawn into a mystery that surrounds so many lives! Vaughn Wardell is coming home to claim what is his and finds himself twisted in the holds of fate and "powerful secrets" that lead him into all that is forbidden to him! I enjoyed the heated passion that builds so beautifully between Vaughn and Elisa! The challenges they faced had my emotions so intertwined within their challenges, I could hardly wait to finish the story!

I give this book a HOT "Devilish Dot Thumbs Up!"


I just had the ultimate in sublime pleasures. I got to proofread Forbidden! I'm STILL happy dancing over this one.

Everyone, you MUST run out and buy this one! It is a historical tale, set in late Regency England about a woman who will do anything to find someone who has been lost to her. Her life gets a great deal more complicated when her fiancé's son comes to visit. Anger and hatred swirl around the father and son, with the dear woman being caught in the middle.

Anastasia has a beautifully elegant writing style, the story is stunning and the sex? Well the sex is both hot and sweet at the same time! I can't stop talking about this book and neither will you!

She had me in tears by the end of the book, MULTIPLE times! And I don't cry over romances! Well...let me correct that. I do now!

Briana Lambert, reader.


I was in the mood for a really good read tonight, and OMG, Anastasia's Forbidden is fabulous! It kept me turning e-pages (the dh was mad because I wouldn't turn off the light and go to bed), and I kept reading until the power died on my laptop. Forbidden had me tearing up towards the end, not once, but twice. I decided to actually take some time off to relax and finish reading -- it just kept calling to me!!!! It has one of those endings where you say YES!!!! And damn but the sex was hot!

I highly recommend this novel--the hero, Vaughn, is to die for, the heroine is deliciously sensual and the man she's supposed to marry, Vaughn's stepfather--I want to kill him. The bastard.

What a great read, Anastasia. Write more!!!

Cheyenne McCray, Ellora's Cave author.

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Elisa's determined to have her son back at any cost. Even if it means marrying a vicious stoat of a man like Rufus Wardell. But her plans, and her life, are turned upside down by the sudden reappearance of Rufus' son, Vaughn.

Lured by the contrast her sweet beauty makes with the rumors of her wanton past, Vaughn embarks on a seduction as scorching as it is daring. What he finds is not at all what he sought: Elisa is an innocent, but with a sensuality so raw, that he cannot resist her.

It doesn't matter to him that their passion is Forbidden...

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Chapter One
1835, Fairleigh Hall, England

Vaughn Wardell, Viscount Rothmere, only heir of the Marquis of Fairleigh, stepped from the carriage and looked up at the three-story manor he hadn't seen in nearly two decades. Fairleigh Hall hadn't changed at all. The grounds were still immaculate, and the impressive manor rivaled any in England.

He hated the sight of it.

The years he'd spent at Fairleigh Hall had been the worst of his life. Now, at the age of twenty-nine, he had returned to this hideous heap of stone to save his future.

His gut clenched as it had when he heard the outrageous news. The thought was a despairing one: Kirkaldy, his mother's final gift, might be lost to him.

Little more than a glorified hunting lodge near Edinburgh, Kirkaldy had been his mother's only untainted possession. The days there, far from Fairleigh Hall and his father, had been the best of Vaughn's young life. At Kirkaldy, his mother had been carefree, even joyous. For that reason alone, Vaughn intended to plant himself like a weed here at Fairleigh Hall, a weed that refused to be pulled and discarded, until Kirkaldy's ownership had been determined.

Taking a deep breath, he walked up the thirteen steps to his father's home.

Vaughn had no trouble imagining the disapproval his father would convey upon his return. He'd learned years ago there was no pleasing Rufus Wardell. The only emotion Rufus had ever openly shown him had been when he'd announced Vaughn would be leaving for boarding school. A cruel smile had curled his father's lips as he'd laid out the details of what would become twelve years of purgatory, hidden behind the walls of one of the best public schools in England. Though nearly a decade had passed since he had graduated, those memories still appeared in his dreams from time to time. They would wake him in the middle of night, to cold sweat and a hurting heart, the bed sheets tangled around his legs.

The memory subsided as the door was opened. Joshua, his father's trusted valet, stared at him. "Good lord! I mean, Lord Vaughn." The valet's expression softened. "You've come home?" There was a buried hope in his tone.

Vaughn's chest tightened with fondness for the old man. While Vaughn had been growing up there had been countless occasions when he had been locked in the attic for yet another transgression. It had been Joshua who had slipped food, blankets and tallows to provide light through the long nights when not even his mother's pleadings had moved his father to release him.

Vaughn laid a hand on Joshua's shoulder. "I'm not here to stay," he said gently.

This time the disappointment in Joshua's eyes was easy to read. He stepped back, covering the emotion with formal pride. "Come in, my lord."

Vaughn handed over his coat, hat and gloves and strode through the broad entrance hall into the circular foyer that dominated the center of the building, where he halted. He turned a full circle on his heels, taking in the cold marble surfaces and massive round columns that lined the foyer in regimented pairs. They were dazzlingly lit by the glass dome on the roof that bathed the foyer in natural sunlight, showcasing the polished, untouched perfection of the green-flecked marble. The foyer was widely admired across five counties for its elegant, unusual design. Whenever his father loosened the purse strings enough to entertain, the foyer was thick with guests dotted about the floor and the stairs, tucked into the recesses between the columns, gossiping.

But while everyone had appeared to enjoy the spectacular room, Vaughn's recollection of the foyer was a bitter one that caught at his throat. His gaze lingered on the staircase that swooped in a spiral to both upper floors. His pulse skittered at the sight of the thick stone balustrade on the first floor. That was where he had stood as a frightened ten-year old, his fingers trying to dig into the cold stone, watching his mother leave in the middle of the night.

She'd promised to send for him, with as many kisses and hugs as she could manage before hurrying to escape the house. She had smelled of lavender, and her hand against his cheek had been warm and delicate.

That had been the last time he'd seen her alive.

"Your father is at dinner. Shall I announce you?" Joshua asked, startling Vaughn and bringing him back to the present.

"And ruin the surprise?" Vaughn asked, already heading toward the high-arched French doors. Taking a calming breath, he opened the double doors and stepped inside.

The room was long and dim compared to the foyer. There was a row of tall sash windows along one wall, and their limited light fell on a collection of large portraits and mediocre landscapes hanging from the picture rail on the other. Between was an ocean of expensive oriental carpets, pinned down on the edges by heavy, hand-carved buffets and occasional chairs. All of them framed the focal point of the room: a long Georgian mahogany dining table that easily seated thirty people.

There were not that many people dining this evening. In fact, there were only two. One was a woman sitting at the right of the head of the table, her back to Vaughn. This could only be his father's new fiancée, Elisa.

The woman who had ripped Kirkaldy from him.

She was to blame for all of this. It was because of her he had been forced back to Fairleigh Hall to confront Rufus.

The sight of her erect back filled him with a sudden sharp fury he hadn't suspected he held. His whole body tightened with it. She was ruining his life, taking away from him the only precious memories he owned.

Vaughn blinked, astonished at the power of the emotion that bubbled up inside him now that he was at the point of confrontation for which he had been bracing himself.

His attention was drawn to the short man sitting at the head of the table. Rufus Wardell was staring at him, his gray brows furrowing together into a frown Vaughn remembered well. Rufus' permanently red cheeks bracketed a big nose. Small muddy brown eyes sat above them. Even at sixty, Rufus' hair was thick, but it was coarse and dirty gray. With his short, rotund shape he might have appeared boyish, but because of the cruel light in his eyes and the cynical twist to his lips, Rufus looked more like a maniacal cherub.

He studied Vaughn as though he were trying to place him. And he probably was. Vaughn was over six feet tall. He was broad across the shoulders thanks to hours as an adolescent taking his frustrations out upon various professional pugilists. There was nothing of the boy who had left Fairleigh Hall so very long ago.

After an endless moment, surprise crossed Rufus' face. He'd finally recognized him. "What the hell are you doing here, boy?" Rufus asked, his rasping voice bereft of any warmth.

Though Vaughn had anticipated his reaction, it still stung. There would be no welcome here, he realized. "Thank you for the nice welcome, Father. It's a pleasure to see you, too."

It apparently disturbed Rufus Wardell not at all that this was the first return of the child he tossed out without regard nearly twenty years ago. No conscience appeared to stir him at the arrival of the son he had inexcusably wronged.

The anger squeezed Vaughn's throat and chest and nearly closed off his breath. He'd hoped there would have been some doubt, some chance of redemption, but there was none.

"Well, out with it!" Rufus glared at Vaughn. "You obviously have something on your mind, or you would not have traveled so far. Pray tell," he added with patently false politeness, "to what do I owe the pleasure of your company?"

"I'm not here to be polite, so you'd needn't extend yourself," Vaughn assured him.

"Then get out. I'm dining with the woman I intend to marry and your presence is not welcome." Rufus shot a look at Elisa, who sat in perfect stillness at the end of the table, her head bowed in imitation of a modest woman.

Vaughn's friends had been quick to advise him just how short on modesty this harlot was. He took a deep breath, trying to quell the hot tide of resentment rising in him. "It is about her that I am here," he said. He stepped around the end of the table to face Elisa, and swept into a low bow. The courtesy came automatically, as did the phrasing: "My lady, we have not had the pleasure of being introduced?" and then, he looked at her properly for the first time. Shock slithered through his veins, dispersing all the fury, resentment and indignation in one breathless moment.

As her large eyes glanced up at him, wide with apprehension, he stared at her, taking in her face and apparel, trying to estimate just how old she was. Blue eyes the same glorious shade as a bright summer sky stared back at him as she gave a hesitant, nervous smile. The smile drew his attention to her full, pleasantly pink lips, and the white teeth behind.

Her skin was softly touched by the sun, but flawless, and as he took her hand and bowed over it again, he noticed the cheeks bloom with hot color at his attention.

Absurdly, her coyness sent a thrill of pleasure through him.

He could not help but smile as he stepped back. She ducked her chin, unable to look at him directly. It was then he noticed the head of gleaming blonde curls the color of wheat. A silky ringlet tipped forward across her shoulder at her movement, and he resisted the temptation to brush it gently back.

She was so young and sweetly, stunningly beautiful.

The thought occurred to him with a shock that momentarily obliterated the sting of his father's cold welcome. With it came confusion, because although he had not heard how young his father's fiancée was, Vaughn was more than familiar with the rumors of her sordid past.

This was the woman who had brought on the death of her husband by her lover's hand? All of London had been abuzz with the news.

"Boy, you've grown tall and insolent," Rufus snarled. "I didn't pay good money all those years for you to learn bad manners."

Vaughn dragged his attention back to his father. "I'm paying my respects to the future lady of this splendid home." And he turned back to Elisa once more, to study her.

"You are most welcome, Vaughn. I am pleased to meet you at last," she responded with a tiny smile. Her voice was a low contralto, soft and unexpected.

He nodded one more time, before stepping back.

He had intended to leave the room, to let his father have his intimate dinner. It would be wiser to retreat for a while and regroup his defenses now his father had shown no punches were to be pulled in the trial that lay ahead.

Instead, he lowered himself into the chair opposite his father's fiancée. "Thank you, I will have a brandy," he told Rufus, answering the question a good host would have asked.

Rufus' upper lip curled and his eyes narrowed. He looked up at the manservant standing by the door of the dining room and jerked his head. Silently, the man glided to a buffet laid with decanters and crystal to pour the drink.

Vaughn glanced at Elisa again.

She delicately cut her meat into small pieces, lifted the fork and slid a piece into her mouth. A visible pulse beat at the base of the long column of her throat.

The servant placed the brandy in front of Vaughn. Rufus began to eat again, attacking his plate with furious gusto. With every loaded forkful of food he would take a big mouthful of claret. The red liquid dribbled from the corners of his mouth as he chomped away.

Vaughn looked away, his disgust growing. Surely the man would try a bit harder in front of his intended? How could she contemplate marrying this gruesome imp? Or perhaps the money was worth it to her?

He looked back to the silent beauty on the other side of the table. He still could not believe this was the same woman of whom he'd heard tell. The gossips had spared him no detail: a bride at seventeen, wed to an aging count. A mother at nineteen and a cuckolded wife the same year. Then, swiftly, she had set about giving her husband his own set of horns. The gossips had been firm in their approval of her husband's reaction to her supposed whoring. He had taken the only honorable course of action an aggrieved husband could; he'd challenged her lover to a duel. No honor had been lost because he'd been killed. In fact, society had gathered about his grieving family and presented a solid, united front to anyone who dared to abuse the deceased lord's memory.

That had been years ago. In the aftermath, Elisa's name had quickly disappeared into shamed obscurity. No good woman or honorable gentleman would speak of her aloud in polite company. It had only been the relaxed bawdy banter around a late night card table that had alerted Vaughn to the fact Elisa had re-emerged from her exile. His card companions that night had thought it a superb jest his own father had proposed to her. Vaughn had gone along with the joke at the time, thinking the pair deserved each other.

The contradiction between her appearance and her past was indeed confusing.

She was pushing at a piece of the meat on her plate with her fork, and Vaughn wondered if she did so to avoid looking up and seeing him watching her. Was she aware of him? By her sweet looks, he would have judged her an innocent, but her reputation told him she probably knew and understood every hot thought running through his mind.

Vaughn sipped at his brandy thoughtfully, alternately watching Rufus eat and Elisa toy with her food. She really was a lovely creature, he realized. He was not at all surprised two men had fought to the death over her.

She touched her mouth with her napkin, then lifted a fingertip to slide it across her lips a second time, without the linen. It was unconsciously graceful and sensuous. Vaughn's body tightened with an old familiar ache, intensified beyond reason like a taut bow string stretched to the limits of endurance, vibrating with tension and packed with potential power to explode.

The realization slammed into Vaughn with the shock of ice water.

He wanted her. 

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Author's note:

Forbidden fell into my lap, making it one of those delightful things that happen when you least expect it. It began several years ago.

I met Julia Templeton on the internet via a critique-finding service. I had decided to give the whole critiquing thing away -- I'd had very little luck finding someone who suited me, but just hadn't got around to withdrawing my name. Julie approached me and we decided to give the critiquing process a trial run. Julie's strengths propped up my weaknesses and vice versa, so although the formal once-a-week thing quickly fell in a heap, we have continued to stay in contact and critique each other's work whenever the
need arose. Julie, I discovered, also liked to attend Romantic Times conventions.

I attend the annual Romantic Times reader conventions as often as I can afford them, which isn't anywhere as often as I would prefer. However, I've managed to get to them for several years, and Julie has also managed to be there the years I've gone. This is a good thing as Julie lives several thousand miles away from me, and meeting someone in person helps iron out misperceptions of character, and puts a face to the name. Julie has never let me forget that I had assumed she was a brunette. I was shocked to find a tall, slender blonde waiting for me in the foyer of the Toronto Sheraton Centre the first time we met.

A couple of years after we met Julie said "we should co-write a book. You're good at the sexy stuff and I can do the romance...." As my one and only effort at co-writing up until then (with the man who I would end up marrying a year later) was a dog's dinner, I shuddered, and politely prevaricated as I didn't want to offend Julie without appearing to have given it some thought. But Julie is one of the most persistent people I've ever met, and got her way. Thankfully.
Forbidden was tough work -- there are no guides out there for hammering out the process of co-writing. But the book is one of the better ones I've written, and by deduction, I must conclude that Julie's efforts are what made the difference.

-- Tracy.

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Casting the Movie...

I often get asked who I would cast in the movie of my book, if it should ever come to pass, so just for fun:

Movie producer's pitch:

Pride & Prejudice meets The Postman Always Rings Twice


The Graduate melds with The Age of Innocence.

Casting call:

Elisa.  Kelly Preston.

  Vaughn.  Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, from Ireland.

Rufus.  John Noble -- "Denethor" in Lord of the Rings -- The Return of the King.

Natasha.  Jennifer Love Hewitt.

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