Blurb: She welcomes any risk, as long as it doesn’t involve her own carefully guarded heart. Adrenaline junkie, Niki Ballantyne is a risk-taker at work and at play. Haunted by guilt over her brother’s tragic death, she’s devoted to saving others in trouble.
While on an adventure holiday in the south of France, she meets handsome and charming traveller Luc and his shy friend, the gentle giant Didier.
Helping the bullied blacksmith win the love of another woman is not a typical rescue project for Niki, but she’s driven by compassion for her lonely new friend. Bittersweet memories of her brother’s life compel Niki to stay and support the star-crossed giant. Their forged affair is perfectly safe.
There’s no risk of getting emotionally involved, but teaching him about intimacy comes with consequences, and lesson to be learned. Particularly when it comes to Luc. On the cusp of a life-altering decision, Luc is drawn to daredevil Niki, though she upends his carefully laid plans for a perfect future. Despite instant chemistry and a powerful connection, Niki pushes him away. But when a sudden emergency brings Luc to her rescue, the way he sees her vulnerability scares her more than anything. Now she has to decide if the last thing she ever wanted might be exactly what she needs.
Review: It's so hard to describe the way in which author M. A. Clarke Scott writes. It's a unique combination of heartfelt emotion, intoxicating imagery, beautiful locations, and titillating passion. Her ability to pick the reader up and place them down in a small town in France--a country of which this particular reader has zero previous knowledge--and make them feel as they though themselves are there is unmatched. You don't read her books. You experience them.
A Forged Affair was a lengthy read following a heroine who should have been annoying--the embodiment of the 'I hate letting anyone get close to me, give me a one-night stand over relationship any day' heroine--but Scott does such an amazing job of letting us into Niki's head and truly making us empathize with what she has suffered thus far. She and Luc (our hero who stands apart from the typical alpha hero in a gentle, thoughtful way) fight their attraction for one another (there's no insta-love here) and I loved watching them banter and match each other wit for wit.
The secondary characters, especially Didier, were absolute winners. I, at times, found myself even more invested in their development than Niki and Luc's. Scott doesn't cut corners on any of her characters and they all have in-depth backstories, relatable flaws, and amazing quests.
I don't normally spoil anything in the books, but I feel that many potential readers would like to know that our heroine Niki has sexual (not necessarily romantic) encounters with two men in this book. There's no affair and it isn't a threesome situation or anything like that. It simply happen over the course of the book. I thought it might bother me, but actually it fit perfectly within the character's arcs and I felt that it was handled tactfully and realistically. The romance is still entirely believable between her and Luc and if anything I felt that this experience is what sets A Forged Affair apart from so many other romance novels. It just feels like she is telling the story of real people, rather than simply characters.
This is just fabulous book for romance readers who want more than just sex or fluff in their reads. This book is expertly crafted. A step above your average romance novel and it's so hard to explain exactly why--it's more of a feeling--, but I hope this review guides your purchase.