Sexy Saturdays with Andrea and Autumn is a weekly meme created to spread the word about spicy reads.
The Autumn Review
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Publication Date: 10/15/13
Source: Received from publisher for review
Rating: 5 stars
An all-new novel from the author of After Hours.First things first...Why the hell is this my first Cara McKenna book? Seriously. Approximately halfway through Unbound, I started pushing it on my friends. As soon as I finished, I emailed my book group, telling them they must read it ASAP. Then, one of them emailed me back, gently reminding me that she's been telling me to read McKenna for months. So then I felt like an idiot. But now all is well, because I have seen the error of my ways.
She set out to find herself, and discovered the darker side of desire.
Merry’s lost a lot recently—first her mother, then close to a hundred pounds. Feeling adrift, she strikes out in search of perspective. A three-week hike through the Scottish Highlands was supposed to challenge her new body and refocus her priorities, but when disaster strikes, she’s forced to seek refuge in the remote home of a brooding, handsome stranger…
Rob exiled himself to the Highlands years ago, desperate to escape his own self-destruction. Haunted by regrets, he avoids human contact at all costs…but when Merry turns up injured, he can’t very well run her off. And as he nurses her back to health, Rob can’t resist his guest’s sweet demeanor—or her flirtatious advances. The igniting passion between them rouses a secret appetite Rob has long struggled to keep hidden. But Merry craves nothing more than to help Rob surrender to his desires, and the journey draws the lovers into an entirely different kind of wilderness.
As you may have inferred from the opening paragraph, I loved Unbound. But not only did I love it on a squealy, fan-girl level, I also loved and appreciated it on a much deeper, profound level. This was a beautifully written and constructed story that appealed to me on all levels.
Besides the author's name recognition, the hint at a hero with a penchant for the taboo is what drew me in. But what exactly are Rob Rush's "issues"? The blurb is ambiguous, and I love that. I wanted to know, no, I was dying to know what it was that had sent Rob into exile. What could have possibly driven a man to become a recluse, shun society. I was hoping the reason would be something really juicy, but also meaningful. There's nothing worse than thinking you're digging into a character with heavy, heavy issues, then learning it was superficial. That is not the case in Unbound. McKenna did a brilliant job of creating a deep and complex hero who is also exceedingly alluring. In the opening chapters, it seems we're being led to a conclusion in regards to Rob's pleasure. But in a move that makes me want to jump up to cheer and praise McKenna to anyone who will listen, we soon learn that all is not what it seems. What gets Rob twisted into knots sexually, is out of the "norm", even in kink. It was definitely unexpected, in the most excellent way, but also...really, really hot.
Going with Rob on the emotional and physical journey is Merry. As much as I felt endeared to him, I also became attached to Merry. She is on an emotional and physical journey of her own, to discover more about and pay tribute to her deceased mother in her homeland of Scotland. Merry has recently shed one hundred pounds, and is coming to terms with her new life, the feelings and issues that come with literally transforming into a new person. As much as I initially liked her, when Merry and Rob's paths cross, she became even more heroic in my eyes. Her strength of character, her unflinching acceptance and appreciation for Rob made her into a heroine that should be admired. She was thoughtful, yet prodding, bringing this man who'd left society, back. Her inquisitive nature gently broke down Rob's walls, and helped create a new man. One who can accept, even embrace, himself.
Unbound, from the beginning to end, is an exceeding thoughtful, intense, and brilliant story. I would even say that it is by far one of my favorite erotic romances, and definitely would make my Favorites of 2013 List (if I made one). Cara McKenna not only pulled me in with a sexually charged and emotionally intense story, but she also won me with her gorgeous prose. The Scottish Highlands, a cabin hidden in the woods, two people forming an intense physical and emotional bond that will transform both....have rarely been so enchanting.
Scary as this was...telling her these things was like a bloodletting. The initial cut hurt like hell, but with it done he could feel the toxins escaping, making room for relief. And all at once he wanted to give in. With a blinding bolt of understanding, he realized he'd had it all wrong, blaming his fetish all this time, thinking of it as some twisted, fucked-up force that lived inside him. A thing to be drowned in liquor, glass by glass, night by night, year after year. It wasn't his desire that had poisoned him. It was his shame. ~eARC, 38%
“I love your body, for everything it's given to me," he murmured. "For letting me...letting me inside you. After all that time. And your hands, for touching me, and your soft skin, for letting me touch you. For your mouth. And kissing you, and for the things you asked me. For your ears, for being willing to hear my answers.” ~eARC, 50%
The intensity echoed through her, the same excitement he felt. He knew what she wanted -- he'd sensed it. He could please her.
She wants your voice, as well as your body. And he didn't even need to think to find the right words to say. He simply let them fall from his lips to her ears. "I can't believe you're here," he murmured. "That you're real." ~eARC, 67%
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