Review: Unbound by Cara McKenna


Unbound by Cara McKenna
InterMix (October 15, 2013)

Rating: B+
Heat: Sizzling

Heroine: Merry Murray – Finding Herself, On Vacation
Hero: Rob – Recluse, Hiding in the Highlands






Merry Murray has recently lost a lot of weight. She’s finally feeling good about herself but is still trapped by the Old Merry and all of her shortcomings. She’s used to feeling less than and held back. So Merry decides to do something to make herself proud. Push her past her limits. She decides to go on a solo backpacking trip in the Scottish wilds. Put some miles – over three hundred of them – on her new and well-earned body.

When Merry’s only three days away from her goal of reaching Inverness, she's hit with cramps. Debilitating, stomach-turning cramps plus nausea and dizziness. Fearing she might be dying, she tries to make it to a small crofters cottage she saw not too far back. The owner of said cottage, her knight in shining armor, turns out to be a scraggly, bearded hermit with zero socials skills and a heavy dose of the grumps.

Rob is used to being alone. Secluded. Hidden. And that’s just the way he likes it. His cottage has become a refuge from the sins the city brings out in him. Rob knows he wasn't a good person while living in civilized society, so he sticks to the wilderness. Even if it means no indoor plumbing or electricity. When Merry shows up at his door, in pain and bleeding from the head, he can't very well refuse to help her. Even if she is a chatterbox and constantly makes him nervous and uncomfortable.

Poor Merry really didn’t know what she was getting herself into when she came to Rob for help. He is such a sexy grump. And… well, Rob has an interesting kink. Although for him, it is definitely more of a fetish. It controls his sexual desires and shames him into hiding who he truly is and what he really wants. It's unusual, but not so crazy. When Merry realizes his needs, she's willing to explore them. Embrace them. And they turn her on too. They didn’t turn me on, really, but… it was still hot. Since this is a Cara McKenna book, I was expecting a very dominant hero (à la Kelly Robak in After Hours). What we get is a submissive, beta hero in a very manly package.

Undone was a break from the usual same ol’, same ol’ romance. For one, there are literally only two characters—Merry and Rob. Well, and Nameless the dog. He counts too. Two, there aren’t a lot of location changes either. Majority of the book takes place in a tiny cottage in the Scottish Highlands. A cottage with no running water, which equals no indoor plumbing. No electricity, which means no music or TV. Rob catches or grows what he eats. He fishes or hunts for fun. It was all so simple and yet it intrigued me so much. There was a sense of being back in time that made the setting seem almost magical.

Towards the end, things did slow down and seem to drag a little but I was still engaged in the emotional aspect and very much invested in seeing how Merry and Rob would work out. It’s not an easy journey with the demons that are riding Rob. He has a lot to deal with and overcome. But Merry is very patient and understanding when it comes to her grumpy hermit and his many demons and kinks.

Unbound might not have been exactly what I was expecting from a Cara McKenna book but it was still very, very good. I love the way that Miz McKenna writes her characters. They’re always unique and full of charming quirks and, sometimes, weighed down by some pretty heavy emotional issues. You really get inside the characters heads and feel for them. And when you’re inside their heads—wow. It makes for some incredibly hot stuff. I’m not usually all for a man doing the begging but Rob makes it work. And he makes it sexy.

Favorite Quote:

It seemed Merry's attraction hadn't been a symptom of her head injury, Rob looked just as gruffly sexy this morning, blue eyes bright in the morning sun, assorted gray hairs lending him a wordly air, forearms flexing as he pressed loose dirt flat. She'd never kissed a man with a beard, and suddenly her life seemed to depending on discovering how it felt.
Confirmed--you are so fucking hard up, girl.


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