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FORBIDDEN (A Novella on Which TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE, a Kate Stanton Mystery, is Based) by Marta Tandori

In this psychological thriller, past mistakes, revenge and family secrets dating back to the Second World War threaten to destroy two Hollywood families that are joined by blood and tainted by a scandalous legacy…Maria was the secret no one in Leo Bauer’s family talked about, her existence a constant reminder of his dead father’s shameful deviance. Yet ironically, from the first moment his mother set eyes on Maria, she wanted the girl for her very own – and was willing to go to any lengths to make that happen. And for the next nine years, Leo was able to successfully push Maria’s existence to the back of his mind until unexpected circumstances finally forced a meeting between him and the teenager. Despite Leo’s resolve to remain detached, he found himself drawn to her innocence. He knew Maria was off limits to him and yet, he simply couldn’t help himself. And so began their forbidden affair … until disaster struck, forcing Leo’s family to cut Maria loose.

Years have now passed and Maria abruptly reappears at Leo’s door, almost unrecognizable in her ragged clothing, spouting a litany of barely coherent gibberish. Despite his initial shock, long-suppressed feelings for her begin to stir but when Leo tries coaxing her into his house, Maria runs away in fright. In her flight, she drops a worn photograph and when Leo sees it, he realizes that Maria coming back poses a threat to all of them. He must make a choice … follow his heart or eliminate Maria before she ruins them. Either way, he must find her first…