Friday, May 16, 2014

Hard Time by Cara McKenna

In this all-new novel from the author of 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.

I rarely choose to pick a book where I know at least some of the plot is going to end up making me feel uncomfortable, but after all the hype on Twitter and the wonderful reviews going around about Hard Time I knew I had to at least try it for myself. And I have to say I don't regret reading it.

Cara McKenna doesn't downplay or put rose colored glasses over the realities of prison time for the inmates Annie works with. They're interested in her presence solely because of what she is: a woman. Her connection with Eric is completely unexpected and while I've never believed sparks can really just, you know, spark like that, the letters they write each other were enough to keep me invested in how important their relationship was to them. When it finally evolved to the point that they could be together nothing was an easy fix; dynamics had to be renegotiated and each person's comfort zones and turn-ons became topics of conversation that brought them closer together.

In the end, despite the fact that dealing with Eric's family was enough drama for any one person, I was almost sad not to learn more about how their relationship was accepted by Annie's father. The happy ending was almost unexpected after all the hurdles and difficult emotional barriers, but it turned out all the more satisfying because of them.

Overall Feeling - B

Series - None

**Title requested from NetGalley*