Thursday, November 13, 2014

Book Review: Hard Time by Cara McKenna

Hard Time
By Cara McKenna
Release Date: November 6, 2014
Source: Publisher
Summary: My pounding heart went still, eerie as birds fallen silent in the wake of a gunshot.

He was big. Tall frame, wide shoulders-but not burly. His near-black hair was due for a cut, curling under his ears. Dark brows, dark stubble, dark lashes and eyes.

And he was handsome. So handsome it broke your heart.

A deck of cards was split between his hands, paused midshuffle. Some of the men wore navy scrub tops and bottoms, some navy tee shirts, a few white undershirts. This man wore a tee, with COUSINS stenciled on the front, above the number 802267. Those digits imprinted on my brain, burned black as a brand.

He watched me. But not the way the others did. If he was trying to picture me naked, his poker face was strong, though his attention anything but subtle. His entire head moved as I passed through his domain, but his eyes were languorous. Lazy and half-lidded, yet intense. A hundred looks in one. I didn't like it. Couldn't read it. At least with the horny jerk-offs, I knew where I stood.

I wondered what the worst thing you could do and still only get sent to a medium-security prison was. I hoped not to ever learn the answer.

And I hoped to heaven inmate 802267 hadn't signed up for any of the day's programs.

Review: As soon as I read the summary of this one, I was definitely intrigued. A librarian who falls for one of the prisoners at the jail she was working at? Mmmm things were definitely going to be very interesting! 

Five years ago, Annie has finally realized the abusive relationship she was in had to stop. Ever since then, she's avoided men, moved to Michigan, and thrown herself into her work as a librarian. When she is assigned one day a week to work at Cousins Correctional Facility, she's definitely wary of being around so many men capable of hurting her like her ex-boyfriend had. What she doesn't expect, though, is to be so drawn to prisoner 802267, a man who's eyes seem to look deep into her soul and make her feel things she hasn't felt in years. Annie knows this man is the last man she should be thinking about and nothing could ever come out of their attraction, but that doesn't stop her from thinking about him every waking moment… 

Right from the start, I was drawn into Annie's world and was only hoping for the best for her. She was both physically and emotionally hurt from her last relationship and doesn't know how she could ever trust a man again. One look at Eric, though, and all thoughts go out the window. I love how entranced she was with Eric's powerful, yet laid back demeanor and how drawn they were to each other. Obviously, since it's a prison, their instant attraction was pretty much impossible to act on. My favorite part of their relationship, then, was how Eric wrote Annie letters for her to take home each week to show her that she was affecting him as much as he affected her. Oh boy, does that man have a way with words! Their "courtship" was so steamy without anything actually happening between them, but rather simply through the power and heat of their words. I got lost in their letters and loved how much Annie was affected by Eric's words to her and how special and wanted he made her feel. 

While I loved the beginning half of the book and how Annie has to push herself into learning to trust men again, especially a man like Eric who was in prison for a reason, I wasn't that big of a fan of the ending. I don't want to give too much of the plot away, but something happened that really tested Eric and Annie's relationship and instead of being super climactic and suspenseful, things just sort of passed over and I felt kind of let down. However, I loved the development of their relationship up until that point and could not get enough of how sweet and caring Eric ended up being. He truly wanted to give Annie anything she wanted and was just so gosh darn sweet to her, especially how he explained how he missed the simple things since being in jail, things like morning cuddling and candlelit dinners. *sigh* Eric ended up being such the romantic and I couldn't help but fall for the convict myself. 

Overall, I loved the romance and the development between Annie and Eric. Both of them had very damaged pasts and have definitely changed because of it, and they find solace in each other and their intense attraction for one another. Being set in a prison definitely made things interesting, but also made their relationship that much more intense. I would recommend Hard Time to romance readers who love unconventional relationships where they both have to learn to trust their hearts and help one another feel again. 

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