Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"HARD TIME" by Cara McKenna

by Cara McKenna
ARC Review
Release: April 15, 2014

My rating: 5 of 5 ⭐️

When librarian, Annie Goodhouse, steps into the Cousins Correctional Facility for the first time, she seriously questions whether she should have taken this assignment. She thought she would have been prepared, given her history with an abusive ex boyfriend who put her off men for te last five years and her otherwise solid head on two firm shoulders. But once the doors closed behind her and she felt the intense eyes of the one of the most stunningly handsome men following her every move, it took everything out of her not to run right back out of there.

From the moment she walked through the prison doors, Eric Collier was drawn to her. Sure, five years without a woman would have any man take a second look at a beautiful girl, but there was something about her. The five years he had spent in jail so far, he had tried keeping his nose clean, sticking to the rules and just filling his time. But seeing Annie made him crave for more, for better. He wanted to get to know her.

What starts out as an innocent attempt to help an inmate, quickly turns into a risky and illicit affair through heated looks and provocative words, limited by the restrictions of the environment. The news that Eric is about to be released on early parole, has Annie both excited about the prospect of being able to physically experience their fantasies, as well as terrified to exchange the relative safety of the prison's restrictions and face the complications of real life outside.


I was completely blown away by this story!!

I shouldn't have been surprised, having experienced Cara McKenna's writing before, but this woman can write an unbelievably heated erotic story in the most beautiful way. A story so 'meaty', with so much depth that you feel inadvertently sucked into it - experiencing emotions alongside the characters. A novel where the eroticism is such an integral part of the story itself, not as events taking place dotted around the red thread running through, but instead a pulsing vein itself.

Ms. McKenna is also not afraid to put her own characters to the test. To question their integrity, their convictions - and in doing so is testing her readers. 

Growing up on opposite ends of town - metaphorically speaking - Eric and Annie didn't necessarily grow up with the same values or views. Eric's priorities and loyalties lay very close to home and translated into protecting what is his responsibility - his family, his mother and sister - at all cost and without question, never once considering himself in this equasion. Annie's scope has always been much more perception based, to do what is considered right, follow the rules. Looking at her background, that is not a surprise, but after the abuse at the hands of her ex without the rules guarding her, she might be more accepting of the type of selfless and vigilante security Eric seems to offer. And that scares her.

The character development in this novel is tremendous. And so was mine. I saw them change, and every step of that change is qualified and justified, so I did too. I learned from them and adjusted some of my thinking accordingly.

This is a book I won't forget lightly, just like I still have Ms. McKenna's previous novel, UNBOUND, firmly rooted in my memory. So smart, so beautiful, so deliciously erotic....

✨A captivating, discerning and seductive moral challenge. ✨

**Copy provided in return for an honest review.**

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