Hard Time by Cara McKenna
Published by Penguin on April 15, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Erotica
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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.
…So tell me what you want, I wrote. Tell me all the dark things you think about…
… I’d want you to touch my cock real slow so I could memorize every second of it. And when I first slide inside you, looking down at you in the candle light, your hair down, and spread across those big pillows…I’d make that moment last a hundred years.
So here’s the setup: Annie Goodhouse works as a librarian and has several community outreach programs in the community. One of the programs brings her to Cousin’s Correctional Facility where she meets prisoner Eric Collier. Annie’s been by herself for years, never quite learnt to open herself back up emotionally after leaving an abusive relationship several years earlier. She’s lonely and Eric provides a temptation she surprisingly cannot resist.
“I’ve got stuff to say. To you.” He tapped the paper, his voice barely a whisper. “If you want to hear more, next week, you wear red.”
“You show up next week wearing red. I’ll know what I’ve got to say is okay by you. You wear any other color, I won’t ever bother you again…Red,” he said. “But only if you want to hear more.”
Annie wears red and that begins a relationship that is forged through the exchange of letters between the two. The letters, my God, those freaking letters! I’m always a fan of dirty talk but something makes it so much hotter when it’s done in letters or emails. Even the parts that weren’t explicit were sensual. Something about the rhythm of Eric’s writing was so intoxicating, so incredibly HOT… the kind of HOT that makes things tingle and get warm…you get what I’m saying?
I want your hands on my head and my hair and you saying things to me. Anything. Just my name, Or you could tell me faster. Slower. Deeper. Lower. Use your hand Eric. I’d do whatever you asked for as long as you wanted it. With my lips or my tongue or my fingers. I used to be real good at that. Maybe you could teach me all over again…
…I want to slide my hand between our bodies and find you excited. I want to make you feel a hundred things at once- powerless and aggressive, needy and pushy, grateful and greedy. Everything a man can feel with a woman. I want nastier things, too. Like you braced above me and your hips pumping hard…
See what I mean? Wowser!!
Things become interesting when Eric gets paroled early. Suddenly the safety net prison provided Annie is no longer there and she has to decide whether to see Eric now that he is a free man. Did the letters mean anything or nothing?
It wasn’t like we were lying to each other, with the things we said. More like he were telling each other bedroom stories.
Annie got on my nerves the first half of the story. In the beginning I thought she was a bit dumb to get pulled into the situation she did with Eric. She risks her job and possibly her safety to get involved with a man in jail she knows nothing about. It was dumb and reckless but kind of ballsy too. I had to laugh at Annie after she gave Eric her first letter and almost immediately freaks out, her mind running wild about what he might do with the letter…he might get her fired, he might blackmail her…I could see my mind working the same way if I was her!
It was like a switch got flipped. I went from giddy to panicked, instantly. I couldn’t even bring myself to read his latest letter…
Wear white, it might say. Meet this guy, get this key, transport the cocaine from storage locker 707 to this address and only accept small bills. If you don’t, I’ll send your dirty letter to the warden and get you fired. By the way, I write just fine. Boohoo about your mean old ex-boyfriend, you stupid slut. Oh God oh God oh God, what had I done?
I also found Annie to be judgmental and pushy. I didn’t like that she kept pressing Eric over and over for information and making him defend himself constantly. She wanted him but she wanted him to be someone else. I understood where she was coming from, but I didn’t like it. Eric made mistakes, he owned up to them, paid for them. That’s it. Move on.
I loved Eric. He was a simple man, stubborn, but loyal and honest. I respected him and felt sorry for him. He was sexy and sweet. Hard Time is more than just a sexy erotic novel. There’s a lot of real emotion that runs throughout. Loneliness, regret, despair, hope, love and Eric embodies them all.
Sometimes you send me to sleep so satisfied, it’s like my brain goes totally blank. Like a cloudless day. You probably don’t know how that feels to a man who spent five years caged in with so much light and noise and anger. To feel that peaceful and cleaned out. But you make me feel it, just from thinking about you.
I really enjoyed this one! The only thing preventing this from being a solid five star read is the fact that Annie got on my nerves. The writing was excellent, the pacing was good, the steam level was through the roof! I did think the last quarter of the book slowed down just a bit but not enough to detract from the story. Overall a nice and steamy treat! I recommend this to anyone who appreciates a well written romance with a healthy dose of dirty talk.
Miss V’s Rating: 4.5 Sexy. Sexy. Sexy. Stars
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