Title: Unbound by Cara McKenna
Publisher: Penguin Group
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Kink, Romance
Length: 298 pdf pages
Book Rating: A
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
An all-new novel from the author of After Hours.
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.
Unbound by Cara McKenna is a highly erotic journey of self-acceptance, redemption and love.
Neither Merry nor Rob are comfortable with who they are. Both continue to define themselves by their respective pasts and the people they used to be. Merry still sees herself as the overweight person she has always been. While she is happy with most of the physical changes from her weight loss, she still struggles with her self-image. The negative reactions of some of her friends lead her to a better understanding of herself and the realization that she has been settling for less than deserves in both her personal and professional lives.
At first glance, Rob appears to be the more together of the two. But as the story progresses, it soon becomes clear he is emotionally crippled by his troubled past. Filled with loathing and shame by his self-destructive past and what he considers deviant sexual desires, Rob is virtually a recluse who rarely leaves his cottage. His retreat has allowed him to stop his downward spiral, but he has not dealt with the underlying causes of his issues.
Rob is at first closed off and standoffish, but Merry slowly draws him out of his shell. Merry is attracted to Rob, and despite his mixed signals, she realizes the attraction is mutual. It does not take long for her to discover she will have to take charge of their sexual relationship. Merry assumes the dominant role in the bedroom and when she uncovers the kink that Rob is desperately hiding? She is not only accepting of it, but she relishes helping him act out his darkest fantasies. Their resulting sex scenes are intense, deliciously kinky and scorching hot.
Rob and Merry are brutally honest with themselves and their assessments of their pasts are sometimes harsh and unflattering. They both own their pasts and never try to push the blame for their actions off on other people. Rob is unable to forgive himself for his past and he is tortured by the damage he inflicted on the people he loves. He does not give up his secrets easily or freely but once he reveals what he considers to be his deepest and most shameful secret, Rob is finally able to take steps to truly heal.
Unbound is a complex, gritty and emotional read. Rob and Merry are flawed and a little bit broken but they are beautifully redeemed by the novel’s end. Cara McKenna deftly balances heartbreak with hope and the end result is a delightfully non-traditional romance that is incredibly moving and not easily forgotten.