I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Hard Time by Cara McKenna
Published by Penguin on 2014-04-15
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
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In this all-new novel from the author of After Hours and Unbound, a woman with a rocky past finds romance in the last place she’d ever expect... Annie Goodhouse doesn’t need to be warned about bad boys; good sense and an abusive ex have given her plenty of reasons to play it safe. But when she steps into her new role as outreach librarian for Cousins Correctional Facility, no amount of good sense can keep her mind—or eyes—off inmate Eric Collier. Eric doesn’t claim to be innocent of the crime that landed him in prison. In fact, he’d do it again if that’s what it took to keep his family safe. Loyalty and force are what he knows. But meeting Annie makes him want to know more. When Eric begins courting Annie through letters, they embark on a reckless, secret romance—a forbidden fantasy that neither imagines could ever be real...until early parole for Eric changes everything, and forces them both to face a past they can’t forget, and a desire they can’t deny. Praise for Cara McKenna and her novels “Cara McKenna is my go-to author for gritty, hot love stories full of honest emotion.”—Victoria Dahl, USA Today bestselling author “McKenna writes dark, lush, erotic romance.”—Heroes and Heartbreakers “Sweet, smoking hot, standout erotic romance.”—Beth Kery, New York Times bestselling author Before becoming a purveyor of smart erotic romance, Cara McKenna worked as a lousy barista, a decent designer, and an over-enthusiastic penguin handler. She loves writing sexy, character-driven stories about strong-willed men and women who keep each other on their toes...and bring one another to their knees. Cara now writes full-time and lives north of Boston with her bearded husband. When she’s not trapped in her own head, she can usually be found in the kitchen, the coffee shop, or jogging around the nearest duck-filled pond.
This book was not 100% comfortable and it isn’t meant to be. It was raw, thought provoking and sensual as hell. I found myself torn about how to rate this but I found that while I wasn’t completely comfortable with everything in the story I found it to be honest and made me think about my own prejudices about felons even as I know I personally would gladly commit a felony should I ever meet up with someone from my past that still has an impact on my life more than 20 years later. I’m going to make this review fairly short and try to keep things as general as possible because I think if one spills to much about the story it ruins some of what made me think hard not only as I read this story but after I read it.
Annie is in many ways a truly naive, innocent woman. Sure she’s had a relationship or two but even with the abusive last boyfriend she’s still incredibly sheltered. As she starts to work around inmates once a week the blinders begin to come off but she still falls in to a secretive relationship with an inmate that pushes her boundaries and makes her want something that she isn’t completely prepared for. I liked her strength but also found her to be a bit too wet behind the ears for me. I understood her motivation but at the same time there is a part of me that was screaming “WAKE UP GIRLIE!!!! Grow up and live outside your head!” Luckily for her she ends up with someone that has good intentions and really does feel something for her. I think her strongest point in this story is her belief in him and need to see him safe.
Eric was an intriguing character that weaves a masterful spell with his words as raw as they are. I found myself incredibly drawn to him as we find out more about him but finding out why he was in prison and the details surrounding his crime definitely cemented my understanding of this strong yet sensitive soul. He’s raw, dirty and at the same time has such a strong sense of duty to people that he really sacrifices everything for. I appreciated his ownership of what he did but I also wanted to scream at him for putting himself in jeopardy out of a sense of duty to someone who really didn’t comprehend the cost he would endure. He’s very compelling and you will find yourself drawn to learn more about this complicated man from not only his writings but his choices after he gets out for parole.
Again this isn’t an easy read but I’m glad I took the chance on it. I was pushed a bit with some of the themes in the story but ultimately it made me think and perhaps look at some things a bit differently.
Special thanks to NetGalley.com and Intermix for giving me the chance to read this one in exchange for my honest review. I now have a new author to glom so…. 😉