Unbound by Cara McKenna
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Cara McKenna is always a go-to erotica author for me. I love her dirty, graphic words, her realistic heroines, and her rough and ready heroes.
So, I bought Unbound the morning it released, happy to have the morning free to read it.
We meet Merry, our heroine, and we quickly learn through an email chain between Merry and her friends that she is getting reading to go on a hiking adventure through the Scottish Highlands. We also learn that Merry has lost an extensive amount of weight, one hundred pounds to be exact. And she’s also dealing with the recent loss of her mother.
Merry gets sick about two weeks into her three week journey, then falls and hits her head. She somehow makes it to a cottage in the Highlands seeking help where she meets the reclusive Rob. You can tell he’s a little more than put-off at the prospect of company, but he offers her a place to stay the night so she can recover.
I was excited about Rob. Right off the bat, he struck me as a quintessential McKenna hero. Reserved, quiet…hot as fuck. He doesn’t speak much, but that’s okay. Merry soon learns that he leads a very minimalistic life – he works the land, he hunts his own game, he has no electricity. Basically, this sounds like my own version of hell, but hey…I’m on board with the hot loner because I just know that Cara is gonna bring the heat.
About a third through the book, though, I realized that there wasn’t really much heat except the fire they kept stoking. An actual fire, mind you. Like in a fireplace or wood-burning stove.
I was still on board with Rob and Merry. I’ve been known to enjoy a slow burn from time to time. And I did like the nuanced, quiet conversations they shared. McKenna does really good dialogue. It’s one of her strengths as an author – everything feels genuine. People actually speak this way.
When we finally start to get to the heart of who Rob is, what he’s hiding from, we learn he has a sexual fetish that he’s ashamed of. And to be honest, his proclivity for being tied up with rope and used as a sexual object isn’t really all that shocking, but for him, the shame he feels is very, very real. And he’s also hiding from the bottle and the alcoholism that ruined his marriage and his life.
I wanted to hate Merry at first, but somewhere along the way, she became this accepting, warm, wonderful character. She had demons of her own, but she never let them stop her from reaching out and taking what she wanted. And I really loved that about her.
The sex in this book was hot, and sweet and definitely a little kinky. Though, if I’m being honest, nowhere near as hot as McKenna’s previous books. But with that being said – there was a palpable connection between Merry and Rob. And this heart-wrenching need and desire between the both of them to just be with each other in every way possible.
I can’t lie, there’s also a lot of angst and self-loathing, especially for the last third of the book. It’s hard to read, BUT…you do get one of the most amazing, emotional endings.
Overall – an enjoyable read.
I’d give it 3.5 stars, but I’m rounding up to 4.
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Unbound by Cara McKenna