{Review} Hard Time by Cara McKenna

{Review} Hard Time by Cara McKennaHard Time by Cara McKenna
Also by this author: Unbound, Her Best Laid Plans, Lay It Down, Give It All, Drive It Deep, After Hours, Crosstown Crush, Burn It Up, Downtown Devil
Published by InterMix on April 15, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Erotica
Pages: 310
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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.

Betsy: I LOVED this book. It was an absolutely fantastic, sexy, heartwarming read. It had everything I want in a book.

Anne Goodhouse is a librarian living far from her home in the south in a northern post-industrial-collapse town. She is the victim of domestic abuse in a prior relationship, and this has made her understandably gun-shy. She fills her time with work and volunteer outreach activities, one of which is a weekly trip to Cousins Correctional Facility, a medium security prison. She helps inmates with literacy and various modern information technology challenges. At the prison, she meets #802267 aka Eric Collier, a handsome, charismatic inmate. While he gets her motor revving, she is very wary of her response to him. She feels like her judgment of men is seriously flawed and her attraction to Eric is further evidence of it.

Anne is nothing if not intelligent and she realizes that maybe this impossible crush is safe because she can’t have him. In her professional capacity, she soon learns that Eric suffers from dysgraphia. He’s very intelligent and expresses himself well, just can’t get the words on paper. He asks her help in writing a letter to his ‘girlfriend’ and Holy Bejeebers is it hot, and of course, Anne begins to suspect that this letter was really meant for her. Thus begins a dangerous and very sexy prison letter exchange prompted in a very interesting way.

McKenna has an amazing talent for building UST, and this letter exchange made me wish for asbestos gloves while holding my Kindle. Eric is incredible and has clearly had a lot of time to indulge in fantasies regarding his favorite librarian, and he doesn’t hold back at all. He is a straight-shooter despite his position in the beginning of the book. He doesn’t try to prettify his offense and is unapologetic in saying he would do it again given the same circumstances.

So where in the world does this story go? Seems like an impossible set-up, yes? I won’t spoil this except to say that there is an unexpected plot development that morphs this story into one of the best romances I’ve read in quite a while. Ms. McKenna excels at taking quirky characters in unexpected settings and making them work, along with being Hot as Hades.

If you love different characters in interesting settings and incredibly well-done and hot romance, this is the book for you. Go forth and read. NOW.

Report Card
Overall: 4.5

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