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Forbidden Fruit
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Forbidden Fruit

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by Erica Spindler

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Only one man can uncover the sins and secrets of three generations of Pierron women…

Lily Pierron: In sultry New Orleans any sin can be had for a price. For Lily, a legendary madam, that price is her daughter, Hope.

Hope Pierron St. Germaine: By day, the elegant and pious wife of a wealthy hotelier, and devoted mother to Glory. By


Only one man can uncover the sins and secrets of three generations of Pierron women…

Lily Pierron: In sultry New Orleans any sin can be had for a price. For Lily, a legendary madam, that price is her daughter, Hope.

Hope Pierron St. Germaine: By day, the elegant and pious wife of a wealthy hotelier, and devoted mother to Glory. By night, she succumbs to the unholy passions that threaten to destroy her.

Glory St. Germaine: Unaware of her family's shameful secrets, Glory suffers the consequences of a darkness she doesn't even know exists. Headstrong and reckless, Glory finds forbidden love—with the one man who knows everything about the Pierron women….

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Forbidden Fruit

By Erica Spindler

Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.

Copyright © 2003

Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-55166-751-7

Chapter One

Vacherie, Louisiana

Hope Pierron sat in the window seat of her third floor bedroom and gazed out at the Mississippi River. She smiled to
herself, anxiousness and excitement coiling in the pit of her gut. She controlled both with icy determination. She had
waited all her life for this day; now that it had come, she would not reveal herself by appearing too eager.

She pressed a hand to the sun-warmed glass, wishing she could break it, leap out and fly to freedom. How many times
during her fourteen years, years spent trapped within the red walls of this house, had she wished the same thing? To be
a bird, to leap from the window and fly to freedom?

After today, she wouldn't need to wish for wings. After today, she would be free of this house. Of the stigma of sin.
Free of her mother and all who she had known.

Today she would be reborn.

Hope closed her eyes, thinking of her future, yet picturing her past and this hated house, instead. The Pierron House
had been a fixture on River Road, a part of the culture of southern Louisiana since the summer of 1917. That had been
just before the demise of Storyville, when her grandmother Camellia, the first Pierron madam, had moved her daughter
and her girls here.

Surprisingly, neither hue nor cry had erupted then, nor when the gentlemen began calling. All these years later, this
house, the activities within, were still accepted, just as the heat and mosquitos of August were accepted - with
resigned dismay and sugar-sweet disdain.

Hope supposed one could expect no less; after all, this was Louisiana, a place where food, drink and other sensory
intoxicants were as much a part of day-to-day living as mass and confession. Louisianians accepted their penance with
as much joie de vivre as they did their pleasure; they understood that in a strange way, The Pierron House
represented both.

The building itself, a Greek Revival structure with twenty-eight imposing Doric columns and sweeping wraparound
galleries, was an architectural wonder. Ironically, when the afternoon sun struck it just so, the house glowed a
virginal, almost holy white. When the sun set, however, the illusion of holiness ended. The house came alive with the
music of men the likes of Jelly Roll Morton and Tony Jackson, the walls rang with the laughter of those who had come to
taste the forbidden fruit and of those who sold it.

Every evening of her life she had been forced to hear that laughter, had been forced to witness the regularity with
which her mother's girls led their gentlemen up the serpentine staircase. Cloaked in a sinfully plush, bloodred carpet,
those stairs led to the six large bedrooms on the second floor, bedrooms outfitted opulently with silks and brocades
and large, soft beds.

Beds designed to make a man feel like a king or, on a particularly good night, a god.

For as long as she could remember, Hope had known what went on in those bedrooms. Just as she had known who and what
she was - the whore's daughter, a trick baby, tainted by sin.

From secret places and small, unnoticed peepholes, Hope had watched with a mixture of fascination and horror the things
that men and women did with each other. And sometimes, while the couple writhed on the bed, she would rock back and
forth, her thighs pressed tightly together, her breath coming in small, uneven gasps.

Those were the times The Darkness held her in its grip, clamoring for unholy release.

Afterward, guilty and ashamed, Hope would punish herself. The way she touched herself, the things she watched, were
wrong. Sinful. She had learned of her sin at mass and in catechism, as she sat alone because none of the other children
would come near her. Yet, outside the church walls and inside these, such behavior was lauded - especially by the men
who laughed by night and averted their eyes by day.

At the creak of the stairs that led to her bedroom, Hope turned away from her window and faced the door. A moment
later, her mother appeared in the doorway.

Lily Pierron was an incredible beauty, same as all the Pierron women had been. Her face and figure seemed not to have
aged with the years; her hair was the same velvety blue-black it had been in Hope's childhood. The other whores
commented on it behind her mother's back; Hope had heard them whispering. They speculated that Lily had made a pact
with the devil. They speculated that all the Pierron women had.

All except Hope. Hope was not nearly as beautiful as her mother - her own hair was a deep brown instead of black, her
eyes a watery rather than brilliant blue, heer features sharp instead of soft.

She was not as beautiful because The Darkness was not as strong in her.

"Hello, Mama," Hope murmured, fixing a sweet, sad smile on her mouth.

The older woman returned her melancholy smile and took a step into the room. "You look so grown-up standing there like
that. For a moment, I hardly recognized you."

Hope's heart began to thud against the wall of her chest. "It's just me, Mama."

Her mother laughed softly and shook her head. "I know. But it seems only yesterday you were a baby."

And only an eternity of yesterdays that she was a prisoner of this place. "To me, too, Mama."

Lily crossed to the bed and the suitcase that lay open on top of it. Hope saw the effort it took her mother to keep
from falling apart, and wondered if her mother noticed that her daughter's eyes were dry, her hands and voice steady.
She wondered what her mother would say if she knew the truth, if she knew that her only daughter planned to never see
her again.

"Is this the last one?" her mother asked. "The car will be here any moment."

"Yes. I've already taken the others down."

Lily carefully tucked the final few items into the case, then closed the bag and fastened the clasps. "There." She
lifted her swimming gaze to Hope's. "All ready to ... go." Her throat closed over the last, and the word came out

Hope forced herself to cross to her mother. She caught Lily's hands with her own and brought them to her cheek. "It's
going to be all right, Mama. Memphis isn't that far."

"I know. It's just that -" Her mother drew in a ragged breath. "How am I going to manage without you? You're the best
thing ... the only good thing in my life. I'm going to miss you desperately."

Hope curved her arms around her mother, fighting a smile. She hid her face against her mother's shoulder. "I'm going to
miss you, too. So much. Maybe I shouldn't go. Maybe I should stay and help -"

"No! Never!" Lily cupped Hope's face. "You will not end up like me. I won't allow it, do you hear? This is your chance
to escape. It's what I've always wanted for you. It's why I named you Hope." She tightened her fingers. "You were
always my hope for the future. You mustn't stay."

This time Hope couldn't contain her smile. "I'll make you proud, Mama. You wait and see."

"I know you will." Lily dropped her hands. "Everything's set. St. Mary's Academy is expecting you. You're from
Meridian, Mississippi, the only child of wealthy parents."

"Who travel abroad," Hope filled in. She laced her fingers together, nervous suddenly. "What if someone discovers the
truth? What if one of my classmates is from Meridian? What if -"

"No one will discover the truth. My friend has seen to everything. Not one other girl from Mississippi attends the
academy. Even the headmistress believes you're Hope Penelope Perkins. No one will question your story. Feel better


Excerpted from Forbidden Fruit
by Erica Spindler
Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd..
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Catching a summer cold changed Erica Spindler's life forever.

Up until that fateful malady, Erica planned on being an artist. She had studied for that profession, earning both a BFA and MFA in the visual arts. Then in June of 1982, she stopped at a local drugstore to pick up cold tablets and tissues; the cashier dropped a free romance novel into her bag. She hadn't read a romance in years but once home, with nothing to do but sniffle and watch daytime TV, she picked that romance up--and was immediately hooked. For the next six months she read every romance she could get her hands on. Sometime during those months, she decided to try to write one herself.

The moment she put pen to paper, Erica knew she had found her true calling. Since that day, Erica has published more than twenty novels. Her titles have been published all over the world and Red was turned into both a wildly popular graphic novel and daytime drama in Japan. Critics have dubbed her stories as "thrill-packed, page turners, white knuckle rides, and edge-of-your-seat whodunits" and The Times Picayune praised 2003's In Silence, calling it "Creepy and compelling; a real page turner."

Erica is a USA TODAY, New York Times extended, Waldenbooks and bestseller. In 2002, her novel Bone Cold won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence. An RWA honor roll member, she received a Kiss of Death award for her novel Forbidden Fruit and is a three-time RITA award finalist. In 1999 Publishers Weekly awarded the audio version of her novel Shocking Pink a Listen-Up award, naming it one of the best audio mystery books of 1998. Praisedby booksellers as "The best suspense novel I've ever read" and "A perfect 10 out of 10," Erica's 2004 release See Jane Die is the story of a woman who must face her darkest fears when her husband becomes the prime suspect in the brutal murders of two women.

Erica and her husband--a man she describes as funny, handsome and way too sassy--met in art school and have been together ever since. They have two sons, born nine and a half years apart. Erica makes her home in the New Orleans area, although she originally hailed from Illinois.

Erica came to her present home in much the same way she came to writing--fate intervened. She and her husband, then college students, traveled to New Orleans to see the King Tut exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Without advance tickets, they had a choice: wait in line all day or spend the day sightseeing. They chose the latter and fell head-over-heels in love with the city.

Erica is currently at work on her next thriller for MIRA Books.

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Forbidden Fruit 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Never have I enjoyed such a story. This book is a page turner. It is a must read. Keep up the great work!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not put down!!! Get comfy,and make sure you are charged before you start. Nothing worse then your battery going dead at the best parts
robynh More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. I found Ms Spindler by accident and now have read several of her books. This book kept me guessing. Expect to want to keep reading.
noney More than 1 year ago
Great book couldn't wait to get to next chapters!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent - was recommended to me and now I highly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I didn't think there would have been a better book than shocking pink, but i was wrong! this books beats it and i love it. It is really a true romance and thriller all rolled into one. ITs the best book i've read and my favorite.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was all together outstanding. It is the type of book that enables you to feel exactly what each of the characters is experiencing. Whether it be love, anger, sadness, or betrayl. This book is the first I've read by Erica Spindler, but it will not be the last.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book. It wasn't an edge of your seat book but kept you always wanting more.
dscjustme More than 1 year ago
I have to say that although I have enjoyed many of Spindler's books, this is my favorite of hers. It was the second one I read of hers, but I really believe it is the best one I have read so far!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was by far THE BEST book by Erica S. that i have read. Acutally it is the best book i have read thus far! The way she pieces each character and sequence of events is FENOMENAL! I read this book (429 pages) in 2 days! I just could not put this book down.
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ravenmama1021 More than 1 year ago
LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book! I couldn't put it down. As a mom of 2 YOUNG kids, sometimes it is hard to find time to read. But I stayed up late to read this book. Very well written and plotted. This book is a must read. It has some mystery and romance. Something for everyone.
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Lori-Jacks More than 1 year ago
Forbidden Fruit was the first ES book that I read. It was what turned me into a life long ES fan! It is different than Eric's newer novels. It had a touch more romance, but it was still very good. Set in New Orleans, it is a plot that will leave you breathless!
KristenH More than 1 year ago
This is Erica's first novel. It's a bit long in three parts and it deals with family secrets, revenge and love. Nonetheless, it's a good read to get hooked into her work. This deals with the St. Perrons, an aristocrastic rich family in New Orleans of three generation, each having a daughter of their own. It focus on Lily, Hope and Glory, when it's mainly Glory's POV of trying to defy the odds, and learns who's "forbidden fruit" from high school to finding love with someone who knows their family secrets and who could bring them down. (I read this book as a hardback not ebook.)
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MrsAlbright72 More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was in high school and it inspired me to want to read more!! I got so sucked into the 3 women in this book that I couldnt put it down. It was a great book! One of my all time favorites!
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