Nov 26, 2010

Posted by in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Willing Victim by Cara McKenna

Erotic Contemporary Romance
August 6 2010
104 pages
Ellora’s Cave

Yummy Man – Michael Flynn
Kick Ass Chick – Laurel White

From Goodreads
“For the past couple years Laurel’s been coasting, hiding in the backseat while her life drifts off course. Then one summer afternoon a tall, built bruiser named Flynn strides in and steers her straight into an infatuation she never saw coming.
Flynn introduces Laurel to things she’s never imagined—to the violent but exciting realm of the underground boxing circuit, to rough sex and even rougher role-playing, and to an attraction she craves even as it intimidates her. As Flynn invites her deeper into his world and his life, Laurel has to make a choice—let fear keep her holed up where it’s safe, or take a chance and fight for the man who makes her feel more alive than she’d dreamed possible.”

Reader Advisory: Although all sex acts are 100-percent consensual, Willing Victim contains role-playing scenarios that may upset some readers who are sensitive about rape, even in a simulated capacity.

Laurel is sitting in a park, reading, minding her own business when the couple sitting on the bench near hers begin to fight.  Soon, the fight becomes physical.  Just as Laurel is about to pull out her cell phone to call for help, a tall and muscular man comes by and breaks up the fight.  Totally intrigued by this man, Laurel chases him down and asks him to lunch.  He agrees but warns her that he’s not really relationship material because he is who he is.  Even with that said, Laurel is still interested…and apparently so is he because he gives her an address to go check out.  He tells her that if she is still interested after seeing whatever was that was at that address, then she was ‘allowed’ to ask him out.  Oh, and he wrote his name.  Flynn.

What was at the address?  It was an amateur fight club and Flynn is a fighter.  That is also where she is told about what kind of kink Flynn is into.  You see, Flynn likes it rough.  And I’m not just talking a little rough.  Flynn likes his sexual encounters to be dirty rough.  He likes it when the women struggle and role play as though they don’t want what is happening.  Laurel is invited by Pam, one of Flynn’s role playing partners, accompany them after the fight to watch them in action.  Yes, you read right.  To go and watch.  And, of course because this is an erotica book and because Laurel is intrigued (‘tis the word of the day), she does.  And she actually likes what she sees…

“This is a book about rape fantasies” is what I kept reading.  “Willing Victim by Cara McKenna is dirty in a very unorthodox and forbidden kind of way.”  Well, that intrigued 😉 me enough to make me want to read it.  I was expecting something almost violent (which honestly, I don’t think I would have enjoyed).  Isn’t that what you think of when you hear “rape fantasy”?  The sex wasn’t without its struggles, but I didn’t once focus on that.  I hardly even noticed it because I was too focused on the absolute consent and the complete trust between these characters.  That’s what struck me the most.

Michael Flynn (or just Flynn) is such an anti-hero!  He’s not trying to be all sweet and sensitive and his goal is not to woo Laurel.  He wants her there if she wants to be there, but he’s not about to try to convince her.  He knows he’s not everybody’s cup of tea.  If you don’t like how he is and what he is, then leave.  It’s that simple.  He might come off harsh, but really he’s not.  There is a softer side there; he just won’t let you see it unless he thinks you’re worth it.  Essentially, he’s a Dom, just without the whips and chains and stuff.  And if I’m going to read about Doms, he’s the kind I enjoy reading.  Men who are intimidating and demanding in the bedroom, but who leave their aggressions there.  Outside, they are just your regular (If not a little sweet) Joe.

Laurel is not happy in her life and after taking care of her mother for years, she has decided that she’s through with taking care of anyone…including herself.  Cara weaved a little plot line about people taking care of other people in the story and I liked it.  It’s through this story line that we really see the connection between Laurel and Flynn.

All in all, I found this to be an enjoyable steamy read with characters that were well developed even though this is a short book.  It was different from anything I’ve ever read, but not so much so that I ever felt uncomfortable while reading.  I liked Cara’s voice and would definitely check out other books she’s written.

3 stars

Giggle worthy quote

“’Are you on your lunch break?’  Laurel asked, wondering who this bold woman was who’d taken over her mouth and body.
‘Maybe.’  He glanced down at her again – hazel-blue eyes, wary in that standoffish New England way.
‘Well,’ Laurel said, ‘can I buy you lunch?’
Eyebrows rose, brown like his short hair and sideburns and fresh stubble.  ‘Why?’
‘Why not?’  She grinned at him, wondering if she looked warm and friendly or utterly phychotic.
‘Good point.’”

  1. Julie, thanks so much for such a thoughtful and detailed write-up! I’m glad you enjoyed the story, though I must admit, I was totally gunning for the five-star icon with the bonus heart. We writers can be so greedy (-:

    My best,
    Cara McKenna

  2. Cara – LOL Don’t we all wish we all deserved a super duper rating in everything we day every day?! I’m hoping for a 5+ star review on supper tonight. 🙂

  3. Good review Julie…since it is such a short book I will have to check it out! (BTW, I think it is COMPLETELY AWESOME that the Cara took time to read your review!!!!!!!)

  4. I gotta say, I loved this book. It was one of my favorites for the year. Something about it just did it for me.

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