The Forbidden Brother by Joanne Rock | Book Review

The Forbidden Brother by Joanne Rock | Book Review
The Forbidden Brother by Joanne Rock
Series: The McNeill Magnates #7
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Western Romance

A night of passion and mistaken identity means unmistakable consequences...

Jillian Ross craves adventure. And she gets it, when her new career as a movie location scout leads her to the ranch owned by the wealthy Wyoming McNeills. A close encounter with the playboy McNeill causes havoc—since it’s actually his reclusive twin, Cody, she’s fallen for! Now she’s pregnant—and still can’t get enough of her reluctant rancher. Is this adventure just beginning?

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I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links, meaning I’ll receive a small commission should you purchase using those links. All opinions expressed are my own. I receive no compensation for reviews.


As a long time Harlequin fan I am always up for any author they put out since they introduced me (like many others around the world) to romance. I have read Joanne Rock in the past and was looking for some new cowboy material when this hit my email. I jumped at the chance because it sounded interested. Now, this is book seven in a series and having not read any of the others I was wary as to how it would read. It stood perfectly well on its own.

After a second chance at life Jillian Ross is trying hard to do her job. A job that hard-working cowboy, Cody McNeills  is making difficult. As the oldest of six that has had plenty of family drama, Cody isn’t ready to deal with a film scout.

Fate steps in and these two will end up on the ride of their lives! On thing I loved was how complex the McNeills were. They are one of those families that has secrets the whole town talks about but no one ever really knows. I immediately felt drawn to both Cody and Jillian and loved them as characters. They worked well together and their pasts I think made them even better equipped to deal with the other.

If you are looking for a great family saga that can be read on its own while getting tons of hot cowboys then this is the series for you. I am planning on working my way through the six previous books in the series.


“You’ve improved my Saturday night a whole lot, too.” He liked the feel of her, his hand warming the cool skin through the thin blouse she wore. “It’s been a long time since I’ve thought about anything outside of work.”

Her eyebrows lifted. “Leading me to wonder what you could be thinking about right now.” Her lips curved. “Admiring the Wrangler’s decor? Or maybe remembering how much you like a good George Jones tune?”

He laughed appreciatively. “I do respect a bar that still plays a classic. But the vinyl upholstery in the booths isn’t doing much for me in the decor department.” His gaze skated over her features; he was looking forward to making her blush again. “And I was thinking about you more than anything else.”

His directness might have caught her off guard. She nibbled her lower lip briefly before meeting his eyes. “I haven’t been the center of anyone’s attention in…a long time.”

There was a story there. He heard it in her voice. Saw it in her eyes.

“You aren’t involved with someone else?” He needed to be sure before he let this go on any longer. But his pulse was already thrumming. “I don’t see a ring, but I have to ask.”

“I am very much unattached.” She shook her head, red curls catching the overhead light as she moved. “What about you? No one waiting at home?”

“The only ones who might be missing my presence right now are a couple of rowdy shepherds back at my ranch who would have preferred the night off.” He swayed with her. Her knee brushed his now and again in a way that fired right through him. “But no girlfriend. No wife.”

He respected that she asked, even though she was clearly feeling the same spark as him. And now that those formalities had been cleared away, he could simply enjoy the moment. The completely unexpected pleasure of having a beautiful stranger in his arms. He didn’t want to let go of her now. He wanted to take her outside into the fresh, rain-cleaned night and kiss her. See if she tasted as good as he imagined.

“The stars are aligning for us so far, aren’t they?” She peered up at him with something like wonder in her eyes.

He couldn’t remember a woman ever looking at him quite like that. As if he was the answer to a question. An answer that pleased her.

“It feels that way.” He didn’t want to scare her off with empty pickup lines, or come across as some lowlife playing games with a woman in a bar. But as the music shifted again—this time to an even slower, modern country love song—Cody wondered if he could convince her to let the spark between them run wild. To follow the heat wherever it led. “And since the stars aligning would be a first for me, I wonder if can ask you just one thing.”

He halted them in the middle of the floor, now that the two-step was done. Bringing her fractionally closer, he swayed to the slower tempo in a barely moving lovers’ dance.

She followed him seamlessly, her gaze never straying from his. She was fully focused on him. Framed by dusky brown lashes, those green-gold eyes reminded him of new grass and spring.

“Sure. Ask away.” Her voice had a sweet-sultry quality that made him want to listen to her speak more.

“Don’t you ever wish you could forget about the expectations of the world around you and just…choose your own adventure?” He remembered books like that when he’d been a kid, where you could test out different endings to a story.

For someone who’d always taken the safe route in real life, he had liked the option of seeing how another choice played out. At least in a book. Cody couldn’t do that with ranching. Or his family. But he could take a chance here. Tonight.

Her lashes swept down for a long moment, hiding her expression. But when she tilted a glance up at him again, there was a new curiosity there.

“Are you asking to share an adventure with me?” She sounded disbelieving. But maybe a little intrigued.

“I suppose I am.” He would never have made such an outrageous suggestion to a local—a woman who knew him or his family. But she had “tourist” and “temporary” written all over her. Surely there couldn’t be any harm in drawing out the flirtation? “What would you say to throwing away the rule book for a little longer?”

He let go of her hand for a moment to tip her chin higher, to see her face in the dim overhead light of the dance floor. Feminine interest flickered in her eyes. He inhaled as she released a pent-up breath. He could almost taste her in the space of silence between them.

Then he leaned closer to press his cause. “Choose me tonight.”


Enter to win 2 of Joanne’s McNeill Magnates stories plus a Texas Cattleman’s Club book, and a sticky note calendar to keep you organized. (1 winner, US only)

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About Joanne Rock

Four-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over eighty books enjoys writing a wide range of stories, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly–love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, especially Amazon. This means I may earn a commission should you chose to purchase a book or product using my link.


  • Dorothy Boucher

    This book sounds interesting and by just what i’ve read, I think a lot of things are going to be going on in her life and a baby now.

  • Ann

    While I have heard of this author many times, I’ve yet to read any of her work. I think that this might need to change! …I like that you pointed out that despite this book 7 of the series, it can be read straightaway. (I’m someone who very strongly prefers to start with Book One.) This sounds like a good read; thank you for featuring it!

  • Bea LaRocca

    I love the cover, synopsis, excerpt and your review. This definitely sounds like a must read book and series for me. Thank you for posting