Advanced Reading Copy
Published: October 15th, 2013, Intermix (Penguin Group USA)
My rating: 5 of 5 ⭐
Merry is hiking through Scotland, in part to try and reconnect with her mother, who just recently passed away, and also to find some new focus in her life. Always having been on the heavier side, Merry is still getting used to her new body, after having lost a large amount of weight, and not everyone seems to appreciate the change. A three week vacation roughing it in the Scottish Highlands will hopefully allow her to learn a bit more about herself. But when Merry is only a few days' hike away from her destination, she falls ill and knows she is in a lot of trouble if she doesn't get help soon.
He lives a very basic existence by choice. Rob has isolated himself in the Scottish Highlands in a very spartan cottage, with a mangy dog as his only companion. He has been there for two years, ever since he completely ran his life off the rails, avoiding human contact as much for their protection as for his own. But when the injured woman turns up at his door, he can hardly turn her away, and reluctantly, while her nurses her back to health, he discovers part of him is actually enjoying her upbeat personality.
Merry's initial reaction to the brooding stranger opening the door to her is one of interest. Even though Rob seems unable to crack a smile, Merry seems to know instinctually that the gruff exterior is a protective layer meant to cover a person he is not ready to reveal to her. Bit by bit, Merry is able to get Rob to loosen up a little until she can see a passion hidden that she is determined to unleash.
Giving in to the sexual temptation opens the door for Rob to admit to certain needs he himself has always viewed as deviant and shameful, but Merry helps him explore and accept his desires without judgement. It opens up an entirely new world to discover for both of them, but there are more layers to peel back...... More damaged parts to confess to and expose, but that comes at a price.
This book was not what I had expected, but so much more!!!!
The story really deals with two people who, each in their own way, have let their past define their sense of self. Merry doesn't buy into it, and is determined to find her own definition of who she is. Rob on the other hand, has done so much damage, while struggling to live the part, that he has all but withdrawn from life and has no real concept of who he is or could be anymore. It takes Merry, who has inordinate amounts of courage in facing herself, to see in Rob, what he no longer can see himself.
Cara McKenna has done an amazing job in bringing together two seemingly incompatible personalities, and created a totally credible mutual transformation. The complete contrast in characters was exactly what was needed to "shake up" the respective self-image both Merry and Rob were clinging to.
Aside from the fabulous subject matter, Cara also writes the most amazing erotic scenes. Most definitely kinky, not run-of-the-mill kink either, and although perhaps not for everyone, they are absolutely crucial to the story. Let me clarify though, that this is not a story about sex persé, although a component. Ms. McKenna just knows how to make that part really, really interesting!!!!
One thing I have to say.....the cover does not do the story justice. Oh, it is hot, but too superficial for its contents.
✨Emotionally charged, erotically loaded, beautifully told!✨
**ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Intermix/Penguin Group USA in return for an honest review.**