Willing Victim was the first Cara McKenna book I ever read, but it certainly wasn’t my last. McKenna writes dark, lush, erotic romance. Her sexy stories open the door and gently usher you through, pushing you out of your comfort zone. She tempts you to explore the forbidden and taboo, right along with her well developed and engaging characters. Unlike many erotic romance authors, Ms. Mckenna doesn’t subscribe to the notion that the end result is a happily ever after. What I throughly enjoy when reading her books is the fact that she doesn’t guarantee you a happily ever after. While her characters may resolve the main conflict in the story, we aren’t given any reassurances that they will remain together once we reach the end. I appreciate that. Relationships are hard. They are forever a work in progress. While happily ever after is fine for fairy tales, it’s not realistic in real life.
A perfect example of that is Willing Victim, a dark, gritty erotic romance that revolves around a couple who enjoy acting out rape fantasies. Our heroine, Laurel, has been drifting through life since her mother passed away. When she meets Flynn, a construction worker and boxer, she finds herself intrigued by the illicit sexual lifestyle to which he subscribes. As Laurel and Flynn begin their journey, what starts out as a sexual relationship quickly becomes more as Laurel begins to have feelings for Flynn and questions where they are headed.
I really enjoyed this story. It’s darkness is tempered by the honesty and reality you see in the characters and their relationship. It evolves naturally and Ms. Mckenna does a fabulous job of letting us watch both Laurel and Flynn learn about one another and themselves.
“I like when you do that.”
“You know…” His words faded to a mumble. “Fuss over me.”
“Take care of you?”
He nodded, just the briefest dip of his chin. Laurel wasn’t sure what to do with this information. It was tough to write things off with Flynn as he so rarely made sentimental proclamations, and the ones he did couldn’t be blamed on alcohol. She finished swabbing the scrape, blotted his skin until none of the tiny lines offered any fresh blood.
“You’re a strange man, Michael Flynn.”
“Can I call you Nurse White? That’s such a good porno name.”
Though the sex scenes are undeniably hot, what hooks you is the dialogue. You experience each and every new thrill with Laurel. She’s very vocal and it’s a heady feeling to be a part of that. Flynn is just as engaging with his macho, no nonsense attitude. He knows what he wants and doesn’t play games.
“And I’ll tell you now, I won’t be calling you tomorrow or the next day or the day after that, so don’t get in a stink when I don’t. None of the normal dating rules apply to this. I know what goes on here is twisted as fuck as far as most people are concerned, and I don’t want to be the creepy fucker calling up some girl he accidentally freaked out. If you decide you want to do this again, you call me. You decide I’m a jerk, don’t. My feelings won’t be hurt.”
He eventually mellows out as his feelings towards Laurel deepen. Willing Victim doesn’t grant you an instant happily ever after but you are left feeling that they have a good chance at making it.
Another favorite erotic romance of mine by Cara McKenna is Don’t Call Her Angel. I am not a fan of m/f/m at all, but this is one of the few that felt right for me after I read. In here, Ms. Kenna explores the dark and extremely sexy dominant/submissive relationship between a married couple. Rasul and Emily have a traditional marriage on the outside, but in the bedroom, all bets are off. Emily’s abusive past has left her with some unusual dark needs that her controlling dominant husband has no problem fulfilling. When Emily voices bringing another man into the bedroom for a night, Rasul decides to gift his lovely bride this one night of passion.
The story starts out as a simple erotic romance, then quickly morphs into something deeper as we learn exactly who the seemingly docile Emily and cold Rasul really are. Emily and Rasul work together perfectly. I loved how comfortable Emily was with her desires. Rasul is dominant, an ex-military guy from Jerusalem; he is OCD, broody, and emotionally tortured. While his attitudes are extreme in some instances, you never for one minute doubt that he loves Emily and would give her the world.
“After a moment’s hesitation, he (Jeremy) asked, “Would you ever ask her to do this for you? Bring another woman in…”
He stopped speaking as Rasul grasped him once again by the shoulder, thumb pressed uncomfortably close to his throat.
Rasul blinked and stared past Jeremy’s face, seeming thoughtful for several seconds before speaking. His words were slow and cold. “I would sooner die than allow my wife to wonder for a single moment if another woman could stir in me any fraction of the desire she does.”
In that instant you realize that Emily has all the control in their relationship. Everything Rasul does is for her. What Emily shows the outside world is nothing to what she is really like once she and Rasul are alone. The hottest part for me in this story? The fact that Rasul speaks dirty in Arabic. RAWR!
As a self proclaimed connoisseur of m/m romance, Ms. McKenna hits all my buttons with her erotically sensual Shivaree series. Wickedly sinful, this series focuses on a hetrosexual bar owner who finds himself sexually attracted to a gorgeous musician who auditions for an opening at the bar. A rough and raw erotic romance that sets the pages on fire as you watch the internal and external battles these men engage in as they try to find middle ground in a relationship that was never meant to be.
“Shane knew this wasn’t love, at least not any kind of love that extended beyond the desires of two selfish bodies. No future, only fleeting pleasure. This was addiction, plain and simple...irresistible need coupled with painful consequences and regret, moments of pure happiness like islands, spread out in a thrashing sea of insecurity and interminable waiting.”
Ms. Mckenna also writes under the name Meg Maguire. As Meg Maguire, she writes what she terms red hot romances for Samhain. One of her more popular books, The Reluctant Nude, is a slow and steamy erotic that gives us two emotionally unavailable people who through time and effort, knock through each others self imposed walls to find a love worth fighting for.
Chipping away at her resistance, one touch at a time...
Fallon Frost’s late foster mother had done so much to heal the wounds of her damaged childhood. So when a lecherous developer plans to bulldoze her old home to make room for a strip mall, the practical, ordered life Fallon has built for herself is threatened.
Then he makes a twisted proposal. He’ll leave the land alone if she poses nude for a sculpture that’ll end up in his collection. Seeing no other choice, she heads for Nova Scotia—only to find something totally unexpected. A sexy, hot-blooded, infuriating sculptor.
Guarded, sexually detached Fallon is a challenge Max Emery can’t wait to tackle. Yet with each tap of his chisel, he uncovers a woman who rekindles a dream he thought lost. Home, family...love. And the closer he gets to her core, the harder it becomes to accept that he’s carving her naked body for another man’s eyes.
As progress on the sculpture almost grinds to a halt, their fragile fantasy world collapses under the weight of reality. Threatening Fallon’s one chance to save her foster mother’s land...and any chance she and Max have to find love.
Ms. McKenna has over 20 published works available under both names, and all of her books, whether as Cara McKenna or Meg Maguire, are lush with wonderful erotic goodness.
Have you read McKenna or Maguire?