Hard Time by Cara McKenna
Publication Date: April 15 2014 by Intermix
About the book:
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.
Hard Time was an unexpectedly beautiful and sensual romance. This is my first Cara McKenna but it definitely won’t be my last!
Annie has had her view of love shattered by an ex-boyfriend who abused her. She left him after, but the effects of the relationship have lingered on.
Sometimes I worried my ex had hit me so hard he broke the desire center of my brain. Nope, I thought, sliding my key into the ignition. He just knocked the trust right out of you.
After graduating college Annie moves away from home to put her degree to use as a librarian in Darren, Michigan, a dark depressing city in financial decline. Yet, it’s a place where Annie’s life is about to change and blossom. As part of the job the library has a prison outreach program bringing books to inmates. This is where she meets Eric, the darkly handsome and potentially dangerous convict who immediately draws her attention and awakens desires long thought dead. In spite of his incarceration Eric is a somewhat safe relationship for Annie, he’s the ultimate look-but-can’t-touch, but his sensual letters are every bit an erotic touch when they start writing to each other.
Is their relationship just the product of circumstances or will it be able to thrive when/if Eric gets released? Does Annie want it to? Can Eric be a safe person to involve herself with? All of these are questions Annie asks. I was hoping for a yes to all of them!
Hard Time was a unique erotic story because of the restrictions Annie and Eric are first subject to. This had some of the best build-up and slow burn I have ever read: those letters!! Oh my! I fell in love with Eric right along with Annie from his beautiful, romantic and seriously HOT letters! With their situation at first, every glance, every accidental brush, every touch was HUGE and left me zinging! But that was nothing compared to the in person. Whoa!
When Eric gets released they have to navigate some bumps in the road; it’s not easy sailing and the situation had a realistic feel to it. Ms. McKenna doesn’t trivialize the serious nature of Eric’s crime or the fact that Annie would be rightfully hesitant. But their journey is touching and simultaneously steamy! I loved every page! Eric was surprisingly gentle and loving, but incredibly sexy! Annie means the world to him:
“Why’s it always about what I need?”
“Because that’s what gets me off, Annie. Being what you need.”
This is the first time I’ve read anything by Cara McKenna, and I was so taken with her gorgeous and sensual prose! It wasn’t overly flowery just enough to make you swoon and heat up your insides! If I had anything to compare her writing to it would be Laura Florand’s and I’m always blown away by her words.
This is such a sweet and romantic story - not what you would think you would get from a book where the guy is in prison. And for a lot of readers, I'm sure the prison aspect is a turnoff, or at least causes some hesitation about reading. PLEASE don't let that stop you from picking up this gem. I had never read anything by this author, but was intrigued by the story. And after seeing some really wonderful reviews, I had to give it a try. Imagine my excitement when I was approved for it on Netgalley!
And what a unique, romantic, erotic and just beautiful story this was! I was pulled in by the first page and didn't want to put it down. The writing was incredible and the chemistry between Annie and Eric was off the charts.
Annie is a sweet librarian who's moved to a new state to start over her life, after a really bad experience with her ex boyfriend. Her job as a librarian has many hats and one of her new ones is to spend Fridays at Cousin’s Correctional Facility, reading and helping some of the good behavior inmates.
Eric, one of the inmates, has been in for 5 years, but he's not a bad guy (I know...he's in prison...but keep an open mind). He made a poor decision to get him there and he's learning from his mistakes and trying to be a better man.
The first time Annie spots Eric, she's immediately attracted to him and confused by it. She shouldn't be attracted to a criminal - but her heart wants what it wants. Eric needs some help with his writing and approaches Annie to help him. Thus starts a string of romantic and sexy letters between them.
They carry on with this forbidden relationship until the reality of Eric's future sets in. The possibility of Eric's release is real and can they ever have a lasting relationship outside the walls of Cousin's?
Eric - oh be still my heart! He was all kinds of swoony and romantic and down right SWEET. His heart blew me away and I just melted over him.
Annie was a sweet girl trying not to make a really dumb mistake by falling for the wrong guy, another guy that could hurt her severely. I understood her hesitation and trust issues.
This book was the best mixture of sweetness, romance, & erotica. I loved every single page and could have read their story forever because it just left me with a smile on my face. I immediately went and purchased Unbound by this author because this will not be the last time I read her books!
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