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Unbound, by Cara McKenna


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.


“I never did a million things, it feels like, until I met you.”

Wow, this book was intense. I’m always happy to start a book by this author. She really has a writing style that works with me, and her stories are always so powerful.

“So often, we tell ourselves we don’t want or need things, simply because we’re rubbish at them.”

Between Willing Victim, After Hours, Hard Time and her other books, I have never been disappointed. And Unbound, even though it didn’t score has high as the other, was no exception.

“It had been a long time since anything had needed him. Depended on him.”

I really enjoyed the universe of this book and it’s characters. That’s the thing about her stories. They are, for the most part, character-driven stories. But she is such a great writer that being sucked into this little bubble with those characters is amazing.

“There’s a lovable person hiding somewhere inside you, Rob Rush. And I’m going to make his acquaintance if it’s the last thing I do.”

It’s also something I really enjoy about Cara McKenna’s books and characters. They fit even though almost everything separates them. Their connection is obvious but being together is almost impossible. Their lives or something else inevitably gets in the way of them being together but they just connect in a way that even though they don’t have everything figured out by the end of the book, they still take a chance on each other and on the possibility of what they can be. I love how unconventional her stories and couples are.

“With no other humans about, he was nothing more than an anonymous mammal – breathing and eating and living. But in the company of other people, he couldn’t help feeling he was the worst his species had to offer.”

I liked Merry’s character and how very open she is and determined. I loved how she reacted to Rob and how she could so easily read him. Rob was a very complex character, with a lot of issues to sort out. I loved his vulnerability and enjoyed how manly he felt in this book even though his kink demands of him to be very…docile.

“I felt broken. I had everything I thought a person needed to feel satisfied or fulfilled or secure or whatever, but I didn’t feel any of those things. I felt….Well, yes. I felt empty. Like some part was missing, some mechanism that converts success into contentment.”

It was very interesting to see this side of domination because it’s not everyday a book is written about it and also because even though it’s really not something I normally enjoy, or at least not as much as other books where men dominate women sexually, Cara McKenna succeeded in making me understand but also enjoy myself while reading those scenes. I didn’t feel weirded out by Rob’s needs in the bedroom or uncomfortable when I read about it and when he told Merry about his fantasies.

“You make me feel alive. Like, really alive. And awake. Plugged in, like my brain and my heart and my body, my sexual side…They’re all switched on, with you.”

But even though I enjoyed myself, I think the fact that I’m not really into this sort of dynamic between two people, still put a little damper on my appreciation of the book. I was able to understand and see the beauty of Rob and Merry’s connection in those scenes, but I think because my tastes are quite different, it prevented me from really connecting to Rob and Merry. Or perhaps “relate” is a better word.

“It wasn’t his desire that had poisoned him. It was his shame.”

The only thing that apart from what I said before that made me rate it a little lower than I usually would have, was that I felt that the chapters were so long. Not boring or anything, just very lengthy. I was surprised when I saw that this book was only a few 250 pages or so because it felt so much longer to me when I read it. Maybe it’s because I was tired while reading this book and couldn’t read than one or two chapters are a time, but it took me more time to read this book than I usually take when I read a book by Cara McKenna.

“She’d waited her whole life for a man to look at her as Rob did nom. With longing and pain and fascination, a hundred things at once.”

Anyhow, I really enjoyed this book. Be it for the characters, how hot it was or just the whole secluded ambiance, but I had a great time reading it. Scotland is definitely on my bucket list of the places I’m going to visit next! Lots of book boyfriend material over there it seems between Rob Rush, Braden Carmichael and Nate Sawyer!

“I can’t wait to meet you all over again, Merry. And to let you meet me.”


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